Things are tense in Virginia, to say the least. With Democrats having complete control of the state government, Governor Ralph Northam sees a golden opportunity to hammer gun rights activists in his state. After all, he needed a gun control win to completely overshadow the blackface scandal that plagued him for months, and he didn’t get it.
Now, somehow, he’s got the legislature and he’s going to make it so no one even thinks of “Coonman” anymore.
Unfortunately for him, though, there are those in the state that are warning that things may well get beyond Northam’s control and the usual suspects are freaking out over it.
Thousands of Virginia residents have shown up at meetings across the state to try to block Democrats from enacting new gun laws, with some gun rights supporters openly discussing violent resistance and civil war.
The backlash to gun control in Virginia is being fueled by conspiracy theories and misinformation, and some observers worry that the escalating rhetoric may spark violence.
When Democrats won control of Virginia’s state government for the first time in 26 years in November 2019, they pledged to pass a series of standard gun control laws, including universal background checks and bans on military-style “assault weapons” and high-capacity ammunition magazines. The agenda was no surprise: state Democrats had run for office on a platform of gun violence prevention, backed by funding from national gun control groups.
Some of these activists have warned of violenceif Democrats push forward with gun control. Multiple Democratic lawmakers have reportedly received threats, including death threats. At heated public meetings across the state and in long social media comment threads, some gun rights supporters are openly discussing the possibility of civil war. Many have warned of the need to fight back against “tyranny” or have compared Democratic lawmakers to the British forces during the revolutionary war. “I really do think we may be on the brink of another war,” one speaker told a crowd of at least 800 people in Pulaski county, the Roanoke Times reported.
Here’s the thing, though. This talk of a civil war isn’t new. We’ve been talking about this for years as a warning that if anti-gun zealots come after our guns, they’re going to have a bad time of it.
This is nothing new.
However, it’s also important to note that we’ve also been pretty clear that there’s a line in the sand and, thus far, no one has crossed it. Right now, bills have only been proposed. Nothing’s passed and nothin’s signed. It’s just a lot of rhetoric. As long as Northam and company bear in mind that this is a topic that yes, a lot of people will go to war over, we shouldn’t have a problem.
We on this side have been clear about what will set us off. The problem is that Northam and company don’t seem to really care to listen. There’s been nothing from his side to tell Virginian gun rights activists that their concerns will be accounted for. Instead, we’re seeing a lot of “we won, you lost, suck on it.”
Yes, there are warnings of civil war, but that war isn’t inevitable. It’s up to Northam, though, to decide if he really wants to push people so far that they don’t feel they have any other choice. It’s all on him and his allies in the legislature.
It’s not too late to settle things down.