U.S.A. –-(Ammoland.com)- Anti-gun Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has declared a “temporary emergency” and banned all firearms from Capitol Square in advance of an anticipated “massive rally” of Second Amendment activists—a move the Virginia Citizens Defense League believes is illegal— and anti-rights politicians in Washington state are pushing an ominous bill that could be a bad omen for gun owners elsewhere.
Northam’s declaration appears to fall within the parameters of a state law passed a few years ago that places limits on emergency declarations by the governor. Under the language contained in § 44-146.15:
“Nothing in this chapter is to be construed to:
(3) Empower the Governor, any political subdivision, or any other governmental authority to in any way limit or prohibit the rights of the people to keep and bear arms as guaranteed by Article I, Section 13 of the Constitution of Virginia or the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States, including the otherwise lawful possession, carrying, transportation, sale, or transfer of firearms except to the extent necessary to ensure public safety in any place or facility designated or used by the Governor, any political subdivision of the Commonwealth, or any other governmental entity as an emergency shelter or for the purpose of sheltering persons…”(emphasis added)
In a prepared statement, VCDL advised grassroots activists, “VCDL believes that this gun ban is illegal. Our legal team is looking at our options and we will keep you advised as soon as we have a definitive plan. As it stands now, you can carry on 9th Street, or other nearby streets, as long as you don’t go into the fenced-in Capitol grounds area (or into any of the government buildings). There will be 17 magnetometers to speed up security for those wishing to be on the Capitol grounds, which puts you near the stage. You CAN have a knife with a blade LESS THAN 3 inches. Again, wait for final word on the Capitol grounds gun-ban situation over the weekend.
“Every year since 2002,” the statement adds, “VCDL has come to the General Assembly to peacefully assemble and lobby our elected officials on Martin Luther King Day. The only difference this year is that the crowd size is expected to be significantly larger due to the Democrat leadership’s promise to pass draconian gun control laws that would adversely affect law-abiding citizens while having minimal impact on criminals.
“The Governor claimed in his Executive Order that there has been credible intelligence gathered suggesting that the purpose of many of the participants in VCDL’s Lobby Day is not to peacefully assemble but instead is to foment “violence, rioting, and insurrection.” Yet, neither the Governor nor any of his law enforcement has informed VCDL of any of these alleged threats.”
Ammoland reached out to Van Cleave, but he did not immediately respond.
While the drama plays out in Virginia, anti-gun-rights Democrats have launched yet another effort to further ratchet down on Evergreen State gun owners. Legislation has been introduced to create a “Washington Office of Firearm Violence Prevention.” Its sponsors are perennial anti-gun Seattle-area Democrat Senators Manka Dhingra, Jamie Pedersen, David Frockt, Reuven Carlyle, Claire Wilson, Patty Kuderer and Mona Das.
Several Washington State gun control bills have been introduced or carried over from 2019, and all are sponsored by Democrats.
Gun rights activists planning to gather Friday at the state capitol in Olympia will loudly oppose Senate Bill 6288, which may appear designed to fill a funding gap in Seattle caused by a dramatic shortfall in anticipated revenue from a 2015-adopted “gun violence tax” in the Jet City. That tax—$25 on the sale of every firearm, plus 5 cents for every round of centerfire ammunition and 2 cents for every rimfire round sold—was supposed to have raised between $300,000 and $500,000 annually. But revenue never went beyond the first year grab of $103,766. The money has declined ever since. Seattle was going to use the money to fund “gun violence research” and prevention efforts.
Buried in the language of SB 6288—which does not include language to explain how this new bureaucracy will be funded—is this provision: “The office will also administer the Washington firearm violence intervention and prevention grant program which will provide for intentional, coordinated, and sustained investments in evidence-based violence reduction strategies to reduce the human and financial costs of firearm violence…
“Program grants shall be made on a competitive basis to cities that are disproportionately impacted by violence, and to community based organizations that serve the residents of those cities. Where appropriate, two or more cities may submit joint applications to better address regional problems.”
But a state-level “Office of Firearm Violence Prevention” (the word “gun” has disappeared) is something new, and it is widely known Washington has become a testing ground for all sorts of gun control experimentation. If this bureaucracy takes root in Washington, watch for the idea to be proposed in other states.
At the same time, the State Senate is also considering SB 6294, which would require—for the first time in state history—training as a prerequisite for obtaining a concealed pistol license. A hearing on this bill and SB 6077, which bans so-called “high capacity magazines, is scheduled Monday, Jan. 20 at 10 a.m. before the Senate Law and Justice Committee. Washington has had licensed concealed carry since 1935 and “The right of the individual citizen to bear arms in defense of himself, or the state” is enshrined in the state constitution, adopted in 1889. That right “shall not be impaired.”
In the state House, Democrats are sponsoring House Bill 2519, which would require background checks for ammunition sales. Would that be considered an “impairment?”
As previously reported by AmmoLand News, criminal violence involving firearms has actually gone up in Washington State, rather than declined as contended by the gun prohibition lobby, since the state began tightening its gun control laws, starting in 2014.
From all indications, anti-gun-rights extremism is on a collision course with grassroots activism on both coasts, and the common denominator is that Democrats hold legislative majorities in Virginia and Washington.
In Virginia, some predict tens of thousands of angry Commonwealth gun owners will descend on Richmond after more than 100 counties, cities and smaller municipalities have declared themselves “Second Amendment Sanctuaries.” This prospect evidently has Northam and his Democrat colleagues worried, although VCDL President Philip Van Cleave is counseling calm.
“The eyes of the nation and the world are on Virginia and VCDL right now,” he said in the prepared statement, “and we must show them that gun owners are not the problem. Lead by example.”
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