Like the 2011 Virginia earthquake, gun control proposals rumble through the Commonwealth once again. The latest is Governor Ralph Northam’s (D) budget proposal, which includes – among other things – what sure seems to be funding for a gun confiscation squad.
Democrats showed their intent to turn Virginia from a state that broadly respects the rights of its residents to bear arms to one that seizes and destroys those guns right after the November elections. Over 100 cities and counties have declared “sanctuary” pledges to uphold the Second Amendment rights of the people, but the state hasn’t backed down. This led to an opinion from the Democrat Virginia Attorney General proclaiming the sanctuary movement a big legal nothing. And now we have this very anti-gun budget proposal.
Guns or Butter
Wars are fantastically expensive, especially those fought between two factions in the same nation. We essentially take 100% of the losses and pay for 100% of the cost, as was the case in our Civil War. Putting aside the notion of extreme violent opposition to the confiscation laws proposed by Governor Northam and the Democratic Caucus, even if resistance is more measured, taking so many guns from so many people will not be easy. According to an email blast raising the alarm in opposition, the Virginia Citizens Defense League* (VCDL), the state’s leading civil rights champion for gun rights, said:
The Governor has requested $4 million and 18 law-enforcement positions to enforce his gun ban – a request that could be the preparatory steps for confiscating the guns which would be banned by SB 16.
Moreover, the Governor is requesting another $3.5 million to enforce gun control that has NOT been passed by the legislature and is NOT even current law in Virginia: universal background checks, one gun a month limitations, so-called “red flag” gun confiscation orders, and more.
The group has encouraged its members to voice their opposition in regional meetings scheduled by various county delegations to the Assembly. If the turnout is anything like we’ve seen with the sanctuary movement, it will be impressive.
Elections Have Consequences
The precursor to the seismic waves now bouncing around Virginia was the November election. Virginians elected a new legislature for 2020 and gave Democrats a majority for the first time since 1994. With that, the Dems have decided to swing for the fences on their first up at bat in over 20 years, promoting controversial legislation on gun control, zoning, and gender equality. It’s the gun control bills that have produced the biggest response – an avalanche of opposition by Virginia gun owners. Senate Bill 16, which was filed 11 days after the election, bans many common firearms, including the AR-15, and does not grandfather them in. A more aggressive mission to destroy the guns – and the right to own them – of Virginians could hardly be devised. If the legislation were to pass, gun owners in Virginia would have to sell or surrender their firearms or become felons. Hence the backlash.
The first sanctuary county in Virginia was not established after the November elections, but before. These confiscation bills were introduced in previous sessions, but they had no chance to pass. This didn’t matter to the Carroll County Board of Supervisors, who started the trend with a resolution announcing they wished:
[T]o express its intent to stand as a Sanctuary County for Second Amendment rights and to oppose, within the limits of the Constitutions of the United States and the Commonwealth of Virginia, any efforts to unconstitutionally restrict such rights, and to use such legal means at its disposal to protect the right of the citizens to keep and bear arms, including through legal action, the power of appropriation of public funds, and the right to petition for the redress of grievances.
Since that measure passed in January of 2019, over 100 independent counties and cities have voted in their own sanctuary protections. Democrats in Richmond may very well be successful in banning guns in Virginia, but the movement between election day and now gives the lie to the notion that they can do so while claiming the will of the people.
*The author has been a member of the VCDL.
Read more from Scott D. Cosenza.