Valley hunters and other gun owners should be aware of the Virginia Democratic Party’s attempted but failed “gun safety” legislation introduced during the 2019 legislative session.

I am a Navy veteran, an educator, grandfather of 10 and a supporter of the Second Amendment. I support responsible gun safety laws, and I also believe that the Commonwealth of Virginia must achieve a reasonable and healthy balance between gun control and gun abolishment. I want my grandchildren to grow up without fear of gun violence, but I want them to be responsible firearm owners if they choose.

Many of my Democratic friends tell me that all they want are universal background checks which will not affect my Second Amendment rights. Like nearly all of my fellow gun enthusiasts, I have no philosophical problem with universal background checks for all firearms purchasers. However, the Virginia Democratic Party wants much more than universal background checks. The proof is in a sampling of “gun safety” bills introduced this year by Democrats in the state Legislature. They include, but are not limited to:

House Bill 2492, sponsored by Del. Kathy Tran, D-42, would ban many commonly owned semi-automatic (defined as “one trigger-pull, one shot”) rifles and handguns as well as “high-capacity” ammunition magazines holding more than 10 rounds. In fact, standard magazines that are included with most modern semi-automatic pistols hold between 15 and 18 rounds; modern sporting rifles come with magazines holding between 20 and 30 rounds. Firearms enthusiasts call these “standard-capacity magazines,” but the anti-gun lobby routinely call them “high-capacity.”

Senate Bill 1084, sponsored by Sen. David Marsden, D-37, would impose vague and possibly expensive requirements for firearm storage, and make innocent citizens civilly liable for the actions of criminals who acquire a firearm stored in a non-compliant manner. In other words, an innocent citizen who stores a pistol in their nightstand could end up in more legal jeopardy than the criminal who breaks into their home.

Senate Bill 1446, sponsored by Sen. Mamie Locke, D-2, would reinstate a handgun rationing law that was in place from 1993 until it was repealed in 2012. It would arbitrarily limit handgun purchases to one per 30-day period. I know many local gun owners who have traded in, then bought two guns at a time — but none are actively building an arsenal.

Senate Bill 1458, sponsored by Sen. George Barker, D-39, could allow for individuals to be stripped of their Second Amendment rights without due process, based solely upon unverified accusations.

And the list goes on and on. Clearly these restrictions reach far beyond universal background checks, and will affect you and your Second Amendment rights. So, as the next election approaches, ask the candidates of both parties about their positions on the Second Amendment and how their party plans to defend — or strip away — your Constitutional rights. Remember, actions will always speak louder than words.

James Poplar lives in Quicksburg.

(16) comments

DeftCurmudgeon

Just a friendly reminder:

Over half the violent felonies in this country are perpetrated by a 13 percent segment of the population.

Remove that number and we have the violent crime stats of... Luxembourg.

bknjholl

12 Dead in Virginia Beach. No excuses.

mattnamyj

The left is not interested in a discussion involving facts. They've demonstrated this over and over again... Katy Couric and her cheating, lying interview with Virginia Citizens Defense League jumps to mind. The facts are that the USA does not have a gun issue. Take away the gun deaths from the top 5 inner cities and we rank 112 in the world. The liberals don't care about guns or students they just want to control your lives!

bknjholl

Facts:

As of May 1, 2019

•4,529 gun deaths
•8,458 gun injuries
•188 children (age 0-11) shot
•823 teenagers (age 12-17) shot
•576 armed home invasions
•417 defensive gun use incidents
•480 unintentional shootings
•104 mass shootings

No more excuses.

bknjholl

A good starting point would be simply to fix the federal background check system. It’s “underfunded, understaffed allowing red flags to slip through.” The background check system in riddled with loopholes, most notoriously the “Dylan Roof” loophole of not getting the background information in time to keep him from purchasing a gun. Then the whole system of private sales is a gaping loophole allow folks to acquire guns that shouldn’t be allowed.

More funding and staffing for a federal government enforcement agency… How badly do we really want to fix this? Enough to overcome partisan warfare and zealotry? I say yes, without a doubt. Let’s fix what we have first, and then see what is needed.

sbsheridan

Dansby -- yours would be a great approach ... if Congress hadn't passed a law that withholds funding for research into gun issues by the Centers for Disease Control. Guess who was lobbying for that one!

hbdansby

Compile all of the instances of gun violence and determine what would have reduced the likelihood of of each category. Then, enact policy based on that.

sbsheridan

I agree with most of your points. However, I do think that we need to address the issue of gun storage. In many cases, those who invade schools and kill students admit that they took guns owned by their parents or their parents' friends. The bill that was introduced last session may have been overly vague and not well-thought-out. I hope that one of our legislators will put more thought into this issue and propose a replacement bill during the next session. Along with arms, gun owners should bear responsibility for keeping their guns out of the hands of others.

James Poplar

LVW thank you for your comment and thoughtful insight. FYI current law states you must be over 18 to purchase a firearm in the State of Virginia. You must also pass an extensive background check through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). This check is overseen by the FBI, with input from the Virginia State Police. Disqualifying factors include: indictment or conviction for a felony; an active misdemeanor or felony arrest warrant from any state; an outstanding protective or restraining order; an unlawful user of, or being addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant or narcotic drug, or any controlled substance; adjudicated legally incompetent or mentally incapacitated; and dishonorable discharge from the Armed Forces. An indication of “Yes” to any one of nineteen questions disqualifies an individual from purchasing a firearm. Lying about a criminal history on the form is a felony punishable by up to five years in prison. When actively and consistently applied and enforced, this vetting process has kept thousands of firearms out of the hands of those who should not own them. For starters lets enforce the laws on the books rather than generate new ones that impact our 2nd Amendment rights as codified in the U.S. Constitution.

James Poplar

Lets try to enforce the existing laws before we generate new ones -- unfortunately there is no panacea to gun violence. Washington D.C. which has the most stringent gun laws in the nation just had 20 shootings over the weekend -- how would more laws help? We are not treating mental health issues, enforcing the guns laws we already have, and not holding those that break the law accountable for their actions. "Gun Free" schools w/o an armed safety officer only encourages mass shootings and violence. There are no easy solutions -- many of the "gun safety" measures supported by the Democratic Party will do little to eradicate the problem.

LVW

I'm a Dem and not a gun guy, but I basically agree with you. The problem is that guns get in the hands of the wrong people, not that guns exist. I think many of these bills are being proposed because people want to do something, but I doubt that those bills will have a significant, desired impact.

hbdansby

Unless you have other solutions to school and other mass shootings, you have little basis to object to these gun control measures, since these mass shootings are unacceptable.

Duck Runner

Basis or not, everyone has the right to object to anything they don't agree with.

hbdansby

Objecting without a basis would be irrational, so it would be an act of absurdity.

Mike Muterspaugh

What is absurd, Dansby, are your remarks Talk about an either /or fallacy. According to your inane logic, an individual cannot object to a solution that is unworkable, misdirected or tramples on the law abiding citizens’ rights unless they can solve the problem which in of its self may be unsolvable. In a free and open society, you will never eliminate the acts of evil. Evil has and will always be with us. The cities that have the strictest gun laws have the highest crime and murder rates. And since you blather about Republicans, let me point out that all of these cities are run by your Democrats.

In 2017 there were 25.6 million gun related background checks nationwide. 181.000 were rejected. Of these, less than 1% was referred for further investigation. In almost all of the recent mass shootings the school officials, local law enforcement and, in many instances, local mental health workers had been alerted to the shooters past problems and did nothing. The ranting of liberals about these situations always involves more laws, more restrictions and more regulations. They wring their hands and wail that we must do something; anything, even if it doesn’t have the possibilities of lessening the problem or takes away the rights of law abiding citizens.

Enforce the laws we have now. Have armed guards at the schools. Let teachers, who wish to do so, arm themselves (after taking classes on gun handling/safety). Do away with gun free zones. Serve notice to the person intending to do harm that he/she will face being shot themselves. Remember, criminals are criminals because they do not obey laws.

Duck Runner

You are naive beyond belief.

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