People Power: VA Ban Defeated; WA Gun Owners Can Take a Lesson

by Dave Workman

U.S.A. –-( News erupted Monday morning that the proposed ban on so-called “assault weapons” in Virginia—the measure supported by anti-gun Gov. Ralph Northam—was “shelved” in committee on a 10-5 bipartisan vote, handing the governor an embarrassing defeat.

According to Fox News, the vote saw four moderate Democrats cross party lines. It came a month after an estimated 22,000 heavily-armed Virginians and supporters from other states descended on the State Capitol in Richmond to “just say No” to new gun control. It follows the actions of nearly all Virginia counties to declare themselves as “Second Amendment Sanctuaries.”

What happened in Virginia Monday can now be justifiably touted as “a lesson” for embattled gun owners in other states, especially distant Washington in the Pacific Northwest. There, grassroots rights activists are waging a pitched battle against their own Democrat-controlled Legislature.

Gun owners have been flooding lawmakers with emails and phone calls, opposing Substitute House Bill 2240, the proposed ban on original capacity ammunition magazines. As noted by Curtis Bingham, moderator at the Facebook page of the Washington 2020 Legislative Action Group, stopping this measure is an “action item” requiring heavy citizen input.

Washington activists are being called to action with social media posts like this one, posted by a legislative action group. (Facebook snip)

This and other gun control measures were discussed at the Seattle Channel’s “City Inside/Out” on Friday, Feb. 14, featuring Emily Cantrell, a board member from the Seattle-based Alliance for Gun Responsibility and this correspondent. An unscientific poll shows overwhelming opposition to new gun laws in Washington.

Rights activists in Virginia, particularly the Virginia Citizens Defense League, are cheering but they also realize their battle is far from over. Northam resurrected his entire gun control agenda last November on the morning after the state legislative election was decided in favor of Democrats, the result of a dismal turnout of only about 40 percent of the state’s registered voters.

According to activists in Virginia and elsewhere this is a lesson learned: Don’t sit out an election. Evergreen State gun owners—and there are an estimated 1.5-2 million of them including more than 647,000 citizens licensed to carry concealed handguns—are taking this lesson to heart.

Anti-gun Gov. Jay Inslee, now running for a third term after dropping his vanity presidential campaign late last year, wants magazine and “assault weapons” bans. Grassroots activists are determined to prevent that from happening as they flood Olympia with messages, and their presence. It is a surprising turnaround from the normal lethargy Washington gun owners have displayed over the years. This time around, their rights are under direct attack.

There are proposals to make it more difficult to obtain and renew a concealed pistol license (CPL). Democrats want to create a new bureaucracy in the Department of Commerce called the “Office of Firearms Violence Prevention” that activists believe would be a government-funded gun control advocacy agency. They also want to destroy the state’s 35-year-old model preemption law, which has provided uniformity in gun laws from one state border to the other. It is no surprise to some that the situations in Washington and Virginia are so similar.

According to Fox News, the Virginia vote came after “Gun-rights protesters have been out in force for weeks in Richmond…over the Democrats’ gun control agenda.”

Fox also noted that “gun control groups heavily funded Democratic candidates” in last November’s elections.

That funding, primarily $2.5 million spent by billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund, flipped control of the Virginia Assembly to Democrats for the first time in more than 20 years. And a gun control crusade is what happened.

Bloomberg is now running for president, spending hundreds of millions of dollars in key state races, and that includes Washington, where the candidate has curiously downplayed his role in helping finance gun control initiatives over the past six years. Even some Democrats are concerned Bloomberg is essentially trying to buy his way into the White House, apparently outspending all of the other Democrat candidates combined.

Fox News quoted Kris Brown, president of Brady United Against Gun Violence, who issued a prepared statement: “While we are disappointed in today’s vote, we are undeterred. Assault-style weapons, large-capacity magazines, and other accessories designed to heighten the lethality of firearms have no place in our communities. In the meantime, the Judiciary Committee and Virginia Senate must swiftly pass the remaining seven, common-sense gun violence prevention laws before them. We need the action that voters demanded in November.”

Translation: The fight in Virginia is not over.

And Virginia Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran reportedly “underscored the resolve of some Democrats” to ban so-called “assault weapons.” According to Fox, Moran said this: “Assault weapons are not protected by the Second Amendment because they are weapons of war.”

Second Amendment advocates will likely call this a preposterous pronouncement, considering the Second Amendment was included in the Bill of Rights to guarantee the people had a right to keep and bear arms to protect the “security of a free state.”

For now in Virginia, it appears legislation aimed directly at what gun owners believe is their security has been at least temporarily put on hold.

About Dave WorkmanDave Workman

Dave Workman is a senior editor at and Liberty Park Press, author of multiple books #add on the Right to Keep & Bear Arms and formerly an NRA-certified firearms instructor.

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