The Commonwealth of Virginia has been called “The Cradle of the Revolution.” Now it appears it may become the cradle of the next civil war.
By now you’ve probably heard about what’s happening in Virginia. Rabid anti-gunner Michael Bloomberg poured several million dollars into the campaigns of anti-gun Democrats who were running for seats in the Virginia legislature. The result was that the legislators who will take office in January of 2020 are all anti-gun Democrats. The Governor, the Lieutenant Governor, and the Attorney General are already anti-gun Democrats.
The quid pre quo that Bloomberg offered each Democrat candidate was simple—“I’ll support your campaign. After you’re elected, you will support my gun-control agenda.”
So the new legislators are already pre-filing a wide variety of gun-control bills to be taken up as soon as the legislature is seated. Here’s a summation.
Universal background checks. This law would apply not just when a Virginia citizen buys a gun in a gun store, but when he buys a gun from an individual—at a gun show, from a classified ad in the newspaper, wherever.
They want background checks when a gun is gifted. When you give your son his first gun when he’s twelve or thirteen, he’s gonna have to pass a background check before he’s allowed to take possession of it.
They want background checks on inheritances. When your grandfather dies and leaves you the Remington 30-06 deer rifle that you’ve admired for years, the Virginia legislators want it to stay locked in his gun cabinet until you pass a background check.
And keep in mind what the follow-on effects of background checks are. One—the state can tax you. In the beginning, it will probably just be a one-time “transfer fee.” But sooner or later some legislator will get the bright idea that they can charge you an annual fee for every gun you own—sort of like a personal property tax. Maybe they’ll call it a “self-defense tax.”
And of course, you’re going to have to go to a Federal Firearms License (FFL) holder to get the background check done, and he’s going to charge a fee—that’s how he makes his living. As I write this in December of 2019, FFL holders in the Houston area charge $35 to $50 to receive a gun and do a background check.
Two—all those background checks create a paper trail. The state will probably justify keeping those records by saying it needs proof that you got the required background check when you bought your most recent gun.
But what’s another term for that record? Right—a gun registry. Somewhere in Virginia’s archives is going to be a record of the fact that John Doe bought a Sig P365, nine mm, serial number 1234567. If (when?) they decide to confiscate all the guns in the state, a policeman is going to knock on John Doe’s door and say, “Our records show you own a Sig P365. I’m here to confiscate it.”
Mandatory waiting period. This is based on the belief by every anti-gunner that gun owners are violent homicidal maniacs. They’re just itching for an excuse to kill somebody. When another shopper bumps their ankle with a shopping cart at Kroger’s, their first inclination is to kill that person. This law would prevent them from running to the nearest gun store, buying a gun, and going back to Kroger’s to kill the person who offended them.
This law would mandate a “cooling off period” of three, five, or even ten days before they could actually take possession of the gun. Hopefully, in that amount of time they would decide they don’t need to kill that person after all.
I should probably be charitable and call this proposed law “illogical,” but I’m going to come right out and label it as “stupid.” If I’m really a violent homicidal maniac who is looking for a reason to kill someone, I don’t need to buy a gun to do it. I’ve already got a dozen guns at home. I can just go get one of them.
For that matter, I’ve probably got several guns in the console of my car, and another stuck in my hip pocket. I can just do the deed right here, right now.
Now that I think about it, I’m not sure “stupid” is a strong enough word—but I’ll let it stand for now.
Ban all assault firearms. Note that I didn’t write “assault rifles”, or even “assault weapons.” That’s because most of the bills that have been pre-filed would ban the possession of “any center-fire, magazine-fed weapon.” That would include any military-style rifle like the AR-15, the AK-47, the M1A1, and many rifles from Russia and various NATO countries that have small but dedicated followings.
It would also include several current sporting rifles and at least one shotgun.
But wait—as the song lyric says, “We’ve only just begun.” It would ban the possession of almost all semiautomatic pistols. The Samuel Colt-designed 1911 semiautomatic pistol, currently the most popular handgun design in the U.S., available in calibers from .22 to .45, would become illegal in Virginia. So would almost every other semiautomatic pistol. The only legal handguns would be revolvers and .22 caliber pea-shooters, which are rim-fire.
Ban all “high-capacity” magazines. I suppose this is just in case they can’t get all magazine-fed weapons banned right away. They want to limit magazine capacity to five or ten rounds. (Several bills have been pre-filed. Some specify a five-round maximum, some a ten-round maximum.)
At least the future legislators didn’t display their ignorance of gun-related things by calling them “clips.”
There is no “grandfather clause” in any of these bills. The assault weapons ban passed by the federal Congress in 1996 contained a “grandfather clause” that said if you already owned one of the banned guns when the law was passed, like an AR-15, you could keep it.
None of these bills contain such a clause. If you own a weapon or accessory that becomes prohibited under any of these bills, you must surrender it to the State, or have a warrant issued for your arrest.
One pre-filed bill says you can’t even sell your AR-15 to your brother-in-law in Texas. You must surrender it to the state or face arrest.
The federal law also contained a “sunset clause” that said the ban would expire after ten years. These bills contain no sunset clauses. Once they are passed by the legislature and signed by the Governor, they become permanent laws.
What’s that? You’ve got several thousand dollars invested in your guns? Too bad. Call it a penalty for being a violent homicidal maniac.
There are two more pre-filed bills that wouldn’t benefit from a grandfather clause.
Limit of one gun purchase a month. This was one of Virginia Governor Ralph Northam’s campaign issues. He promised to pass a law that limited gun purchases to one a month.
I don’t quite know what to say about this one. I know a lot of gun owners here in the Houston area, and I’ve never known one who bought more than one gun in a month’s time. In fact, for most of us the average is probably closer to one gun a year.
I’ve had a License to Carry for almost fourteen years now, and I’ve bought seven guns in that time. That’s an average of one gun every two years.
“Red flag” laws. In my opinion, these laws (which already exist in several states) are unconstitutional. The Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution guarantees every U.S. citizen “due process under the law.” That due process is defined in the first ten Amendments, the Bill of Rights. It includes such civil rights as confronting your accuser, a trial by a jury of your peers, and protection against unreasonable search and seizure.
The first challenge to red-flag laws has been filed in Florida. It should eventually reach the Supreme Court, and I hope the SCOTUS will find the law unconstitutional.
The essence of red-flag laws is that anyone who knows you—a coworker, a neighbor, a relative, your pastor, your doctor, anyone—can petition the court to confiscate your guns, on the allegation that you’re a danger to yourself or the public. If the judge agrees with the petitioner, he can order your guns to be seized.
Mind you—you have no civil rights in this process. You never know who filed the petition with the court. You’re not allowed a trial by jury. You’re not allowed to defend yourself. In fact, you never know anything about it until the policeman shows up at your door with a court order to confiscate all your guns.
There are 95 counties in Virginia. As of mid-December, 2019, 77 of those counties—81 percent—have officially declared themselves to be “Second Amendment Sanctuaries.” The sheriffs of those counties have agreed not to enforce any of the laws we’ve talked about here, and the District Attorneys have agreed not to prosecute any violations.
Nine more counties have elections scheduled before the end of the year, to decide whether to become sanctuary counties. Only three counties have declared their agreement with and support for the bills.
The remaining six counties hadn’t been heard from yet.
When faced with the rebellion of the vast majority of his state—at least 81 percent of the counties—Governor Northam has threatened to call out the National Guard to enforce the laws, if the sheriffs refuse to do so.
Can he do that? It turns out he can—sort of. The Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 (as amended) prohibited using the Army (and later the Air Force) to enforce domestic policies. But the Act specifically exempted the National Guard, since the National Guard is under the command of the state governors.
HOWEVER—the President is the Commander in Chief of all military units. As such, he can countermand any order a state governor gives. Presumably, if Gov. Northam activated the National Guard, President Trump would order them to stand down.
I doubt any of the current Democrat Presidential wanna-bees would. Disarming the population is part of the Democrat agenda—and lately, they’ve been pretty open about it.
Think about what I’ve just said here, folks. The Governor of Virginia is threatening to use military force to enforce laws that 81 percent of the state’s population—and maybe more—object to. There’s only one word for that: dictatorship.
In case you’re interested—“posse comitatus” is a legal term. It refers to the authority of a sheriff to deputize any able-bodied person to assist him in carrying out his duties. That’s where the sheriff in all the old western movies got the authority to organize a “posse” to help him catch the Bad Guys.
And that may prove to be the salvation of this situation. The Second Amendment begins with the words, “A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state…” The sheriff of Culpeper County, Virginia, says he intends to deputize every law-abiding gun owner who can pass a background check. Those deputies will constitute a “well-regulated militia” that can legally “keep and bear arms.”
The Culpeper County sheriff is encouraging other sheriffs in the state to do the same.
Then we have the question of how the National Guardsmen will react if Governor Northam orders them to confiscate the weapons held by law-abiding citizens. All National Guard personnel take an oath to “…protect and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic…” But the oath also pledges them to “…obey the orders of the President of the United States and the Governor of (in this case, Virginia…)”
In summary, they’re “damned if they do and damned if they don’t.” If they obey the orders of the Governor, they’re violating the Constitution. If they obey the Constitution, they’re disobeying the orders of the Governor. Unless the President countermands the Governor’s orders, the National Guardsmen are in violation of their oath.
Several of my friends who have been in the Army believe that, when faced with the choice of either violating the Constitution or disobeying the Governor, most soldiers will choose to remain true to the Constitution. I hope they’re right.
But my greatest fear is that Bloomberg, George Soros, and other would-be dictators may learn a lesson from Virginia. Instead of trying to eat the whole enchilada in one bite by backing people like Hillary and Joe Biden, they may see the value in taking smaller bites. They’ve already got about a third of the states on their side. If they can get two, maybe three, of the opposing states in each two-year election cycle, it would take less than two decades to turn the U.S. into a disarmed socialist dictatorship.
Unless the civil war starts in Virginia.