Townhall Media/Beth Baumann
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has called a special session and is bound and determined to pressure legislators to adopt gun control in the wake of the Virginia Beach shooting. During that session, we should expect to see all kinds of hairbrained schemes that will infringe on the rights of ordinary Virginians, while having little to no impact on the criminals that represent the real threat.
However, it seems GOP lawmakers have plans to introduce a proposal that might make a dent.
The Virginian-Pilot reports [Republican Del. David] Yancey wants to bring a federal procedure to the state level that would crack down on illegal firearms trading. The national procedure, called Rule 35, encourages prisoners to tell police if they know who’s selling stockpiles of stolen guns. According to the federal policy, if those offenders then give police information that could bring the criminals to justice, a judge could slash the inmates’ sentences.
Yancey says his idea won’t infringe on Second Amendment rights.
Yancey is right. This legislation won’t infringe on Second Amendment rights.
The law only targets those who have stashes of stolen guns. Lawfully owned collections wouldn’t be impacted at all. In theory, anyway.
Of course, someone might give up their gun-owning buddy to try to get some time off their sentence, even though their buddy bought all his firearms, but, due to a rule existing at the federal level already, this wouldn’t necessarily be new. However, if none of the serial numbers are reported as stolen then there shouldn’t be a problem.
Yancey hopes his proposal will garner bipartisan support, and it should. While anti-gun lawmakers continue to focus on weapons like the AR-15 and universal background checks, even they should understand the threat represented by stolen firearms. We should be working to combat that more than anything else.
However, let’s not expect Yancey’s proposal to be a cure-all, either. It’s an effort to encourage criminals to turn on one another, which happens regularly, but it’s not universal. While there may be no honor among thieves, there can be loyalty, fear, or any number of other things that would pressure someone to remain silent.
That’s going to mean someone is still going to have stolen guns.
It won’t solve the issue, but something like this is far more likely to do some good than universal background checks that criminals will ignore anyway since they buy their guns on the black market. Combatting that will do a great deal more to prevent any perceived “gun violence epidemic” that the state may be dealing with than any other restriction anti-gun lawmakers could cook up.
Most “gun violence” is committed by criminals. They are responsible for the vast majority of homicides, robberies, and rapes committed with a firearm each year. They also don’t obey the laws and will continue to get guns regardless of supposed roadblocks.
But going after the stashes of stolen guns which tend to fuel the black market will have a far broader impact.
Not only that, but law-abiding citizens shouldn’t have to worry. Their guns, all lawfully owned, are immune.
Somehow, I don’t foresee Virginia Democrats embracing the idea.