Now that the off-year elections are over and Gov. Glenn Youngkin is officially a lame duck, Democrats are already starting to jockey to become the party’s nominee in 2025. Virginia congresswoman Abigail Spanberger announced her candidacy on Monday with a slickly-produced video designed to portray her as a moderate voice who “brings people together to focus on what really matters.”
So what matters to Spanberger? In the video, she talks about helping veterans, small business owners, and families, while casting Republicans as creating “fundamental threats to our rights, our freedoms, and to our democracy.” Images and soundbites from news stories on abortion and removing books from libraries fill the screen before Spanberger once again appears and with a slight smirk declares that “while some politicians in Richmond focus on banning abortion and books, what they’re not doing is helping people.”
Guns aren’t mentioned once in the nearly three-minute long video meant to introduce Spanberger to voters across the state, though that’s one area where she’s all in favor of a ban. Not only did she vote in favor of an “assault weapons” ban last summer, she and 67 other Democrats sent a letter to Joe Biden back in September with a list of Everytown-approved items steps they say the administration could take without getting Congress involved.
Spanberger and her colleagues laid out a list of policy proposals the Biden Administration could undertake as part of its push to address gun violence through executive action. The proposed policies include:
- Instructing DoD and other federal agencies that purchase firearms to implement standards for procuring taxpayer-funded firearms only from manufacturers that agree to adopt a code of conduct. The code of conduct could include declining to sell military-grade weapons to civilians and only selling to responsible dealers who refuse to proceed with a sale without a completed background check — even when they are legally authorized to do so.
- Reevaluating the list of guns eligible for import under the “sporting purposes” exception, which could significantly reduce the import of dangerous assault weapons.
- Transferring authority over assault rifle exports back to the State Department from the Commerce Department, reversing the Trump Administration’s shift of authority to Commerce — which allowed a surge in exports of these deadly weapons.
- Encouraging the Federal Trade Commission to issue a policy statement on “unfair or deceptive” gun ads that falsely assert that firearm ownership increases household residents’ physical safety from gun violence.
- Directing the Department of Justice (DOJ) to review its interpretation of the Tiahrt Amendment to expand the types of firearm trace data that can be released to the public — including to researchers, litigants, and journalists.
Not a single word of this in her video. Heck, there wasn’t even a vague reference to supporting “common sense” or “reasonable” gun laws. Not only that, but Spanberger’s website has been wiped clean of any mention of gun control now that she’s repurposed it for her gubernatorial campaign. A Google search still turns up several now-dead links, including her touting the endorsement of Everytown for Gun Safety in her last congressional campaign, but clicking on them only brings you the landing page for her most current campaign website, which is completely devoid of any mention of gun control or “gun safety”.
Spanberger won’t hide her support for sweeping bans on semi-automatic rifles throughout her campaign, but I find it very telling that in her first pitch to voters, she’s running from her support for an “assault weapons” ban rather than running on it. As it turns out, she’s in full support of at least one fundamental threat to our rights and freedoms; a ban on the most commonly sold rifles in the commonwealth. That didn’t work out well for Terry McAuliffe in 2021, but Spanberger is clearly hoping that running to protect access to abortion will give her the opportunity to restrict access to our Second Amendment rights in 2025.