Guns in the News: All Eyes on Virginia

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Sic semper tyrannis. “Thus always to tyrants.” So says the great seal of the state of Virginia.

Twice in history, the people of Virginia have risen in armed rebellion against governments they deemed tyrannical. The Revolutionary and Civil Wars were terrible in lives lost, resources wasted and property destroyed.

Good things eventually arose from both bloodlettings though. After years of false starts, the Revolutionary War resulted in a stable democratic republic that has lasted more than 200 years. And after the agony of civil war and a century of heartbreak and broken promises, black Americans have finally received equality of citizenship and opportunity.

America Is Watching

Could such a thing as a rebellion happen again? Could Old Dominion citizens refuse to obey laws passed in Richmond? Would sworn officers enforce laws the people believe are tyrannical and unconstitutional, or would they “do their duty” and thereby risk widespread anger? Could Virginia split into two states?

On Jan. 30, 2020, Virginia’s House of Delegates passed every anti-gun bill set before them. The Senate had previously passed four anti-gun bills. Neither chamber has yet considered a bill from the other, but — in legislative terms — that prospect is only minutes away … and America is watching.

Here is a summary of the draconian agenda proposed by the people’s elected representatives and supported with immense donations from New York billionaire Michael Bloomberg. Most bills passed 54-46:

House of Gun Control

Sponsored by Kenneth Plum (D – Reston), House Bill 2 criminalizes most private firearms transfers. It requires the state police to administer and enforce its provisions, which include a mandatory background check of any buyer prior to a gun transfer.

Sponsored by Jeffrey Bourne (D – Richmond), House Bill 9 requires individuals who have lost a firearm or had a firearm stolen to report to law enforcement within 24 hours after discovering the loss. It imposes a $250 fine for failure to do so. The bill also says that anyone who reports a loss or theft is immune from liability for subsequent actions involving the stolen firearm.

Sponsored by Marcia Price (D – Newport News), House Bill 421 allows any local government to enact its own gun-control ordinances. This bill would result in an unmanageable patchwork of ordinances because it regulates not just ownership or possession but also “carrying, storage or transporting of firearms, ammunition or components (or combination thereof) in the locality.” The bill also allows, even “encourages,” local governments to sue firearms manufacturers.

Sponsored by Cliff Hayes (D – Chesapeake), House Bill 1083 says that “any person who recklessly leaves a loaded, unsecured firearm in such a manner as to endanger the life or limb of any person under the age of 18 [formerly 14] is guilty of a Class 6 felony [formerly a Class 3 misdemeanor].”

Sponsored by Richard Sullivan (D – Arlington), House Bill 674 is Virginia’s “red flag” emergency substantial risk order (ESRO), designed to “prohibit a person who poses a substantial risk of injury to himself or others from purchasing, possessing or transporting a firearm.” Firearms can be seized with little or no evidence of risk.

Finally, Jeion Ward (D – Hampton) sponsored House Bill 812, which prohibits citizens from purchasing more than one handgun within 30 days.

The Enemy

All sponsors are members of the Democratic Party, and all represent districts in the extreme eastern sector of Virginia.

“We have met the enemy, and they are our elected representatives.”


About Rick Sapp

Rick Sapp earned his Ph.D. in social anthropology after his time in the U.S. Army working for the 66th Military Intelligence Group, USAREUR, during the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia. Following his time in Paris, France, he worked for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service before turning to journalism and freelance writing. Along with being published in several newspapers and magazines, Rick has authored more than 50 books for a variety of publishers.

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