Virginia – -(Ammoland.com)- Unfortunately the 2017 election has dealt Virginia Citizens Defense League a difficult hand to play, but play it, we shall.
EXECUTIVE BRANCH – NEW BOSS SAME AS THE OLD BOSS
Basically, as far as the Executive branch goes, the next four years are going to look like the last four years:
- Governor: Bad news – vetoes of pro-gun bills, calls for gun control with every tragedy, keeping the prohibition on carry in state agencies (trespass charge if you don't leave when asked), and requiring the State Police to tell the police in states like Maryland if a person has a Virginia CHP. Good news – the Governor has minimal power to create real gun-control.
- Lt. Governor: Bad news – in the case of 20-20 ties in the Senate, the tie will be broken against gun owners. Good news – the Lt. Governor has no power over gun rights other than rarely breaking tie votes in the Senate.
- Attorney General: Bad news – more Amicus briefs and letters to Congress supporting gun-control. Good news – the Attorney General has little power to affect gun rights.
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY REMAINS OUR KEY FOCUS
A more important issue right now than who runs the Executive branch is which party will control the House of Delegates. As I write this on Wednesday afternoon, the Republicans hold a razor-thin 51-49 lead. There are at least 4 races that will have recounts and things could go either way, or even end in a 50-50 tie! I've been told that a tie would be broken by the Lt. Governor, so the Democrats would control the House.
UPDATE: In the section above I wasn't clear on what would happen if the House is tied 50-50 between Republicans and Democrats. When the House votes to elect a Speaker, if the vote is tied, I'm told the Lt. Governor would break that particular tie and then the House would then end up with a Democrat as Speaker. That would be the only time the Lt. Governor would have any say in matters before the House.
We won't know the final outcome until early December.
The party which controls the House will have a strong hand on the fate of gun bills. For gun owners, we have to hope that Republicans control the House as a firewall to keep gun control bills off the desk of the Governor and pro-rights bills moving. Republicans have a razor-thin majority in the Senate (21 to 20), which also might provide another level of gun-control protection and forward movement on pro-rights bills.
WE'VE BEEN BLUE BEFORE
Think Virginia has turned blue for the first time? Hardly. When I first became involved in what was then the Northern Virginia Citizens Defense League, the Democrats controlled BOTH the House and the Senate, while Virginia had a Republican governor (George Allen). The Speaker of the House was Democrat Tom Moss who represented Norfolk. Pro-rights bills were killed with regularity in the House Militia & Police committee, while anti-gun bills sailed out. Even in that environment, NVCDL got “Shall Issue” passed into law. NVCDL, and later, VCDL, were able to stop most of the gun-control bills. That said, there were more pro-rights Democrats in the General Assembly in those days.
Sadly, when the Republicans had control of the House, the Senate, and the Governorship, they slow-walked pro-gun bills so as to not pass too many at a time and even quashed good bills deemed “controversial.” The Democrats will have no such artificial limitation placed on their gun-control bills, nor will they care if the bills are controversial.
GUN CONTROL WILL BE COMING AT US HARD AND HEAVY
The gun-control dangers are now more pronounced. Things which we will be seeing pushed with renewed vigor include:
- One-Handgun-a-Month reinstatement
- An “assault weapon” ban
- A “high” capacity magazine ban
- Universal Background Checks
- Prohibition on carry in state agencies given teeth (right now it is merely a trespass charge if a person refuses to leave)
- Expand the list of misdemeanors that make someone a “prohibited person” in order to disarm more and more people
- Firearm Protective Order that will allow for the confiscation of firearms based merely on the word of another, without any due process or even notification prior to confiscation
Newly elected Democrat Delegate Chris Hurst (boyfriend of a murdered TV news reporter) is already saying that the wave of new Democrats in the House increases the opportunities for more gun-control. (https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/nov/8/chris-hurst-whose-fiancee-was-shot-on-camera-says/)
THE ROAD FORWARD – MAKING LEMONADE OUT OF LEMONS
FIRST, WE NEED A STRONG Virginia Citizens Defense League. If you're not a dues-paying member, it's time to get off the fence and help swell our ranks. Work the VCDL table at gun shows and other events. There are 450,000 CHP holders in Virginia, yet we have only 7,000 members. Our membership number should be well into six digits. With that kind of membership and a corresponding increase in VA-ALERT subscribers, our power will increase dramatically. Virginia Citizens Defense League is working on an aggressive legislative-agenda for 2018!
SECOND, WE NEED A STRONG LOBBY DAY (Monday, January 15, 2018 at 8:00 am at the temporary General Assembly Building in Richmond). That will remind legislators that gun owners expect their rights to be protected and restrictions on our gun rights lifted.
THIRD, REACH OUT TO NON-GUN OWNERS THAT YOU KNOW OR MEET, which is especially important in the blue parts of Virginia. Invite them to the range. Show them the fun of shooting and the empowerment of being able to defend themselves in an emergency. Having more gun owners in the bluer parts of the Commonwealth will increase gun-control's toxicity in the long run.
FOURTH, GUN RIGHTS HAVE CHANGED DRAMATICALLY OVER THE LAST 22 YEARS – there are now 450,000 CHP holders, up from just a few thousand in 1995. Also, DC vs Heller and Chicago vs McDonald have clarified that the Second Amendment protects an INDIVIDUAL'S right to own guns and that protection restricts state laws, too. Hopefully we will have more pro-rights U.S. Supreme Court rulings in the future.
And, finally, there will be another election for the Virginia House (and Senate) in two years. We need to be prepared to be more active than ever!
About Virginia Citizens Defense League, Inc. (VCDL):
Virginia Citizens Defense League, Inc. (VCDL). VCDL is an all-volunteer, non-partisan grassroots organization dedicated to defending the human rights of all Virginians. The Right to Keep and Bear Arms is a fundamental human right.
For more information, visit: www.vcdl.org.