Gov. Ralph Northam and his new Democratic majority in the Virginia legislature are facing intense pushback for pursuing radical gun control policies that were rarely discussed on the campaign trail. Blindsiding millions of Virginia residents who did not vote for these laws – which could include buybacks or even confiscations of so-called “assault rifles” – the Democrats in Richmond are risking full-scale population mutiny.
Already, more than 90% of Virginia counties have declared themselves Second Amendment sanctuaries, vowing to disregard any new gun laws that fly in the face of the Constitution. In two weeks, more than 10,000 gun-rights supporters are planning to hold a rally at the statehouse. And the National Rifle Association is mobilizing, promising Virginia voters that they will make their presence known before the legislature goes into action.
“We know that NRA members are active and engaged in grassroots activism,” NRA spokeswoman Catherine Mortensen told the Washington Free Beacon. “And they may be members of several different groups. This gives them additional opportunities to engage in grassroots activism and that is all positive. The more people out there and sharing the message, that’s a win.”
But the NRA has promised that they won’t stop with merely encouraging grassroots activism from the county level. They are headed to Virginia on January 13, and they plan to organize gun owners to attend the first hearing of the Virginia Senate committee in charge of determining which new gun laws to put into effect. The goal, according to Mortensen, is to make state Democrats understand that there will be a huge political price to pay for going forward with these proposed bans. And since Democrats only have a two-vote majority in the Senate and a five-vote majority in the House of Delegates, it won’t take much pressure to defeat these awful measures.
“We want to make sure that our members and supporters are in Richmond at that committee hearing on that day so that their voices are heard. It’s critical that our members are there early in the session to make the biggest impact in order to stop these gun bills from moving forward,” she said.
It’s clear already that Northam and the Democrats are inviting political disaster (or worse) by going forward with these proposed bills. Indeed, if the state ends up in confrontation with local sheriffs over these laws, we could see a complete breakdown in civil society. That’s how hot the stakes are right now in Virginia, and if Northam knows what’s good for his state, he will back off sooner rather than later.