The bill, sponsored by Delegate Democrat Mark Levine of the far-left Alexandria district, passed the Virginia House of Delegates by the slimmest of margins (51-48) before heading to the Senate. Democrats had to amend the bill multiple times to push it through to the Senate. This included adding a grandfather clause with gun registration, then dropping the registration component, and then raising the legal round count for a magazine to 12. [most guns do not come with 12 round mags and manufacturers do not make many, if any, 12 round count magazines]
Del. Levine spoke to the Judiciary Committee about the bill to try to get them to pass it to the full Senate for a vote. He used dubious statics for his case. He claimed that the National Assault Weapons Ban cut down on mass killings. According to the Clinton Justice Department, the ban had little to no effect on crime.
Del. Levine also claimed the bill was constitutional under the US and Virginia Constitutions. Article One Section 13 of the Virginia Constitution is clear that the militia is the body of the people of the state and is separate from a standing army. It also states citizens need to have rifles to be able to become proficient with them. He also tried to push the idea that most handguns hold less than 12 rounds, including the Sig Sauer.
The Virginia Senators didn't seem to buy his arguments. They pushed back on his claim of standard round counts for handguns. During the speaking phase, the Senators gave both sides equal time to plead their case for and against the bill. The Anti-gun side used emotion, while the pro-gun side provided hard data.
The Senate introduced three options for the bill. The first option that the Senators introduced was to table the proposed law until 2021 to give time for studies to be completed on the effectiveness of the bill. The second option was to table it for the day. The third option was to vote the bill outright down.
Roanoke's Sen John Edwards called for a vote to table the bill for the year. Senator L. Louise Lucas (D), who wanted the committee to table the bill for the day, objected to the order the motions would be voted on by the committee. Edwards insisted that the committee vote on the motions in the order that the Senators presented them to the body.
The Committee members voted to table the bill for the year by a margin of ten to five. There will be a study performed to see if the proposed law would have any benefit. The bill currently will not see a vote in the full Senate this year.
Rumors circulated Sunday night that the Democrats were trying to find a way to amend the bill to garner enough votes to pass it out of committee. These efforts were not successful.
Even though the Senate Judiciary has shelved the bill for a year, it doesn't mean it is totally dead. Governor Northam could use his powers to reintroduce the bill anytime this year. The ban was the cornerstone of his gun legislation. The defeat of the bill is a victory for gun rights in the Commonwealth, but only time will tell if Virginia gun owners can sustain the pressure to keep the bill buried.
About John Crump
John is a NRA instructor and a constitutional activist. He is the former CEO of Veritas Firearms, LLC and is the co-host of The Patriot News Podcast which can be found at www.blogtalkradio.com/patriotnews. John has written extensively on the patriot movement including 3%'ers, Oath Keepers, and Militias. In addition to the Patriot movement, John has written about firearms, interviewed people of all walks of life, and on the Constitution. John lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and sons and is currently working on a book on leftist deplatforming methods and can be followed on Twitter at @crumpyss, on Facebook at realjohncrump, or at www.crumpy.com.