Virginia Gov. Northam Seeks Gun Registration as Down Payment on Gun Confiscation
NRA-ILA Friday, December 13, 2019
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) must think that Old Dominion gun owners are stupid. After months of Northam and his Michael Bloomberg-backed General Assembly allies advocating for the enactment of gun confiscation legislation, the governor has told the Virginia Mercury that he will support a gun ban bill that would grandfather currently possessed firearms but require owners to register the newly-prohibited firearms with the government. As astute gun owners know, gun registration facilitates gun confiscation. Northam wants law-abiding gun owners to register their guns with the same people who have already stated that they want to confiscate them.
The evidence is clear: Virginia politicians want to confiscate your firearms
On June 4, an embattled Gov. Northam announced a special session of the General Assembly in order to enact a raft of gun control legislation. During his remarks, the governor expressly said that “I will propose many of the same ideas that we have proposed before… A ban on assault weapons…”
On July 8, Del. Mark H. Levine (D-45) delivered for Northam and pre-filed gun ban bill HB 4021. The legislation garnered 23 cosponsors. That same day Sen. Adam P Ebbin (D-30) pre-filed the identical SB 4024, which attracted 16 co-sponsors.
The legislation would have banned the importation, manufacture, sale, transfer, and possession of what it termed “assault firearms.” The term was defined to include any semi-automatic centerfire rifle with a fixed magazine capacity in excess of 10 rounds or any semi-automatic centerfire rifle that has the ability to accept a detachable magazine and has one of several enumerated features. These features included, a folding or telescoping stock, a pistol grip, a thumbhole stock, a second handgrip, a bayonet mount, a silencer, a flash suppressor, a muzzle brake, a muzzle compensator, or a threaded barrel. The legislation also would have banned commonly-owned semi-automatic shotguns and centerfire pistols with any one of several prohibiting features.
As Levine and Ebbin’s legislation prohibited possession of these firearms, the bills, which were drafted at Northam’s request, were firearms confiscation.
On November 18, Sen. Richard L. Saslaw (D-35) pre-filed SB 16 for the 2020 session. This legislation would ban the same types of commonly-owned semi-automatic firearms as HB 4021 and SB 4024. Again, as the bill would ban the possession of these firearms, it is gun confiscation.
Northam is misleading the public
Discussing the governor’s proposed ban, Northam Spokeswoman Alena Tarmosky told the Mercury, “In this case, the governor’s assault weapons ban will include a grandfather clause for individuals who already own assault weapons, with the requirement they register their weapons before the end of a designated grace period.”
The website also reported,
The Northam-backed plan mirrors the federal assault weapon ban passed in 1994, which included a grandfather clause for weapons that were legally owned when the legislation was enacted. The federal ban expired in 2004.
It’s not clear whether the Mercury has been misled by Northam’s staff or whether the paper is misinformed on the matter of gun law in general, but this paragraph is directly contradicted by Tarmosky’s statement.
Under the 1994 Clinton assault weapons ban, gun owners could continue to possess and transfer prohibited firearms that were lawfully possessed prior to the ban. In direct contrast to the purported Northam proposal, the federal ban had no firearm registration requirement.
The details of Northam’s gun ban have yet to be released. However, the Clinton ban’s prohibiting criteria were far different than what has been proposed by Northam’s General Assembly allies. Whereas the proposed Virginia legislation would ban commonly-owned semi-automatic firearms with only one offending feature, the “assault weapon” definition under the 1994 federal ban required that a firearm have two prohibiting features. Further, the enumerated prohibited features under the Virginia legislation are far broader and include such innocuous characteristics as thumbhole stocks.
The Mercury item also noted that Northam told reporters, “I’m a supporter of the Second Amendment…” and “we’re not going to propose or pass any unconstitutional laws.” In reality, the gun bans proposed by Northam and his allies are unconstitutional under the Second Amendment as interpreted by the U.S. Supreme Court in District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago.
Heller decision author Justice Antonin Scalia made this clear when he signed onto a dissent from denial of certiorari in the case of Friedman v. Highland Park, which concerned a local ban on commonly-owned semi-automatic firearms. The dissent, written by Justice Clarence Thomas explained,
Roughly five million Americans own AR-style semiautomatic rifles. The overwhelming majority of citizens who own and use such rifles do so for lawful purposes, including self-defense and target shooting. Under our precedents, that is all that is needed for citizens to have a right under the Second Amendment to keep such weapons.
Photo credit: NRA-ILA
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