Virginia Governor Ralph Northam hasn’t remained quiet about his affection for gun control. Not since a gunman opened fire in a municipal building in Virginia Beach, anyway. Sure, he’s been mum on things like prancing around college in blackface, but not his love of gun control.
As noted earlier this week, Northam is eager to work with the new Democratic majority in the state legislature to start cranking out gun control.
It’s not something that really surprised anyone. The moment the election results were in, we knew it was coming. Northam merely confirmed what we already knew.
What he won’t confirm, nor will he deny, is whether he’s considering gun confiscation as part of his gun control efforts.
Virginia governor Ralph Northam (D.) announced after his party’s sweeping victory in Tuesday’s state elections that he would push new gun bans and other gun control measures, but did not answer questions about a possible confiscation effort.
Northam told reporters on Thursday that he would push gun control when the new Democrat-controlled legislature convenes. He highlighted universal background checks, banning the sales of “assault weapons” and “high-capacity” magazines, red flag laws, and bringing back a one-gun-a-month purchase limit, according to the Washington Post. However, when asked if he supports confiscating “assault weapons” from Virginians he did not give a direct answer.
“That’s something I’m working [on] with our secretary of public safety,” he told the Post. “I’ll work with the gun-violence activists, and we’ll work [on] that. I don’t have a definitive plan today.”
Northam’s remarks provide insight into how Virginia Democrats plan to move forward on a key issue after fully capturing the state government. With a 55-45 majority in the House of Delegates and a 21-19 majority in the state senate, Democrats can control the legislative process, but with little wiggle room. The governor will also have to push his agenda while navigating continued backlash to his blackface scandal.
There’s really only one reason to try and evade the question and that’s because he is considering it. However, he doesn’t want to put it out there now and face a potential firestorm before the new legislature is even seated.
Instead, he’s probably going to feel out the new legislature (metaphorically, I hope, rather than literal. That’s more of the Lt. Governor’s play, from what I understand) and see if they’re open to confiscation.
However, I think he’ll find that he’s not going to have the support there. While Democrats hold a majority in both chambers of the General Assembly in that state, they only have a two-seat hold on the Senate and just 10 seats in the House. Some of those new Democrats aren’t going to keep their newly won seats if they vote for confiscation and I think they know it.
So there’s a reason Northam is silent, but it’s not because he thinks confiscation is going too far.
Then again, find me a Democrat in office or running for office who went on the record that they believed confiscation was going too far–rather than too far at the moment–and I’ll be shocked.
Northam wants the guns, I just don’t think he has the votes to take them.