While Joe Biden is likely to use executive orders as its primary weapon in the attack on the Second Amendment, at least in the early days of his administration, at the state level there are a number of gun control issues that could be taken up by legislators in the coming days and weeks.
We’re already starting to see some action in Virginia, where despite claims by Democrats that they didn’t plan on making gun control a priority this session, five gun control bills are up for their first vote in a House subcommittee today.
- HB1909 would allow school boards to declare their buildings gun-free zones
- HB1992 would make it a misdemeanor offense for someone convicted of the assault and batter on a family member to possess a firearm. The bill also offers no way for the restoration of rights, amounting to a lifetime ban for the conviction of a misdemeanor crime.
- HB2128 would allow the Virginia State Police to delay a firearms purchase for up to five days while waiting for NICS approval. Currently the state law says that the VSP can delay the purchase for three days.
- HB2276 would ban the “manufacture, import, sale, transfer, or possession of plastic firearms and unfinished frames or receivers and unserialized firearms,” making it a felony to possess a home-built firearm that is legal under federal law.
- HB2295 would make it a misdemeanor offense to carry a firearm on the grounds of the state Capitol, surrounding legislative buildings, parking garages used by the Commonwealth, or any building where legislators may be meeting. This would not only apply to the average citizen visiting the Capitol, but to employees and lawmakers who have a license to carry as well.
The first votes on these gun control bills come as Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe has given us details of his plan to “end the gun violence epidemic” in the Commonwealth. McAuliffe is also calling for a ban on so-called ghost guns and unfinished frames and receivers, but that’s just the beginning of his gun control agenda. Note that the bolded language is taken directly from McAuliffe’s campaign website.
- “Ban the sale of military-style assault firearms and high-capacity magazines.” McAuliffe’s plan differs from Joe Biden’s only in the fact that McAuliffe isn’t calling for any kind of turn-in for guns and magazines currently in private hands. That could easily change, however, but McAuliffe could try to duck the issue by claiming confiscation should be a federal responsibility, while the state can act to ban the future sales of some of the most commonly-owned firearms and magazines in the country.
- “Strengthen Virginia’s background check law.” McAuliffe wants to require background checks on every firearms transfer in the state of Virginia, though he doesn’t explain how that law could ever be proactively enforced when it comes to private citizens. The Democrat also wants to make it illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to have a handgun transferred to them, and says he wants to “further explore the possibility of requiring waiting periods when a person purchases a firearm, and implementing a permit-to-purchase law.”
- “Prohibit open carry of firearms in certain public spaces and allow localities to intervene when there are public safety threats.” McAuliffe is pretty vague on the details of this particular proposal, but it sure sounds like he wants to ban the open carrying of firearms wherever possible while giving local governments the ability to impose even more restrictive gun bans whenever they deem it appropriate.
Ironically, elsewhere on McAuliffe’s website the Democrat proclaims that “for too long, Virginia has embraced a ‘tough on crime’ approach to criminal justice that has focused on punishment rather than rehabilitation and has been plagued by systemic racism and lack of funding This approach has led to the over-policing, over-criminalization and over-incarceration of Black and Brown Virginians.”
If McAuliffe believes that, then why on earth is he proposing creating crimes out of thin air that would put people in prison for non-violent, possessory offenses?
This is an issue that Democrats don’t want to talk about. On the one hand, they want to “reimagine policing,” while on the other they want to slap a bunch of new and punitive laws on the books that will put more people in prison. It’s hard to argue against over-criminalization when you’re also trying to criminalize the exercise of a constitutionally-protected right.
At the moment, these seem to be the big agenda items for anti-gun activists at the state level; bans on modern sporting rifles and magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds, bans on 3D printed firearms and unfinished frames and receivers, restricting the open carrying of firearms, and imposing more restrictions and penalties for private transfers of guns.
Couple those infringements with a “soft-on-crime” approach and you’ve got a recipe for disaster, both for our Second Amendment rights and our personal safety.