Michael Swartz / Jan. 17, 2020

Yes, Virginia, There Are Second Amendment Defenders

Gun-rights proponents continue to clash with state Democrats over gun-grabbing legislation.

One of the bellwether elections of the 2018 “blue wave” was the prior year’s state-level balloting in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Not only did the Democrats retain the governor’s office, swapping out Terry McAuliffe for his lieutenant, Ralph “Blackface” Northam, but they also came within a single vote of securing the Virginia House of Delegates, a remarkable shift from its previous 66-34 Republican majority. Last November, the Democrats finished what they started, gaining six more House seats and flipping the Virginia Senate, where the GOP’s narrow majority had stood since 2015.

With their legislative majority firmly established, a governor limited to one term, and the 2018 Charlottesville strife still fresh in their minds, Virginia Democrats decided to begin this year with a virulently anti-Second Amendment gun-control agenda. Perhaps having seen this writing on the wall, a vast majority of Virginia’s counties and independent cities have declared themselves Second Amendment sanctuaries, vowing not to enforce draconian gun-confiscation laws if passed.

To be sure, this made for a tense start to the legislative session in Richmond — and it’ll be even more so next week with a major Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL) lobbying day slated for Monday. Citing the presence of “credible threats,” Gov. Northam ordered a preemptive strike: the declaration of a state of emergency, which allowed him to ban weapons from the state capitol grounds. Democrat lawmakers had already banned weapons from the Capitol building itself earlier this month. Not surprisingly, hundreds of 2A backers have expressed their displeasure with the newly proposed suite of 12 gun-control bills, three of which just passed the state senate.

This week’s lobbying day, sponsored by the National Rifle Association, actually drew praise from Northam for its amicable discussion of differences. “Earlier this week, the NRA hosted its annual lobby day … and the day passed without incident. That is what peaceful events look like,” said Northam, who called on the VCDL to show similar restraint. The NRA had a different request, though, and its advocacy got results: The most egregious anti-gun bill, a bid to confiscate AR-15 rifles, was withdrawn, and other measures were amended to weaken the anti-gun bills.

Along with Northam’s “credible threat” of violence this coming Monday comes an equally credible threat that far-left groups may stir up trouble. In a release obtained by the Washington Examiner, the VCDL asserted, “The Democrats are afraid of the voters and want to portray this peaceful assembly of law-abiding gun owners in the worst possible way. They would love for it to degenerate to ‘violence, rioting, and insurrection’ in order to smear gun owners. Has the Democrat leadership actually invited violent groups to attend for the purpose of disrupting our peaceful assembly?”

As the Virginia GOP notes, “Northam and the rest of the Virginia Democrats have made their session goal crystal clear: a disarmed, vulnerable, and subservient citizenry.” Somewhat less reserved was the neighboring state of West Virginia, which rolled out the welcome mat for more of Virginia’s counties to join the state. As Hot Air’s Jazz Shaw adds, “Virginia would immediately turn blue, but they’d lose some congressional seats while West Virginia would become an even darker shade of red and gain some seats.”

Clearly, it would’ve been better to have this discussion prior to the state’s 2019 election, when the citizenry could have denied Democrats their legislative majority. But here we are, and Virginia’s Second Amendment defenders appear ready for a fight.

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