Remember when Democrats used to say they supported reasonable gun restrictions, and “no one wants to take away your guns”?
That time is over. Governor Northam wants to take away your guns, and House and Senate Democrats want to help him do it.
A total of 24 Democrats in the House of Delegates and 17 in the Senate have signed on to Governor Northam’s bill to reclassify common sporting rifles and handguns as “assault weapons” and ban them completely.
The legislation would not just a ban new sales with older firearms grandfathered in — the approach used in the Federal Assault Weapons ban of the 1990s, and a previous Federal law banning fully-automatic weapons.
Northam’s bill is an outright ban, with a time limit to either destroy them, turn them in to police, or get them out of Virginia.
Failure to comply would be a class 6 felony, punishable by up to five years in prison.
Magazines that hold more than 10 rounds would also be completely banned and subject to the same confiscation rules as rifles and handguns.
The bill would ban sale and transfer of the newly-prohibited items starting on November 1, 2019, but would graciously give owners at that time until July 1, 2020 to either hand over, destroy, or remove them from Virginia.
Democrats contend the ban is consistent with the Second Amendment, which the Supreme Court has said guarantees an individual right to keep and bear arms.
“I look forward to opening a dialogue with the General Assembly on this legislative package of reasonable gun violence reforms, which appropriately balances Second Amendment Rights with public safety,” Northam said, introducing similar legislation in January.
Legislative Republicans tabled the legislation during Tuesday’s gun control Special Session, and instead referred all bills pending to the Virginia Crime Commission for study.
That body is due to report back on a comprehensive plan to reduce gun violence in Virginia before Nov. 18, when legislators will return to Richmond.