On Wednesday, July 3, 2019, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam unveiled his final list of gun control measures that he wants legislators to put forward during the special session of the General Assembly.
The special session starts next week.
After the Virginia Beach municipal building massacre, the Democratic Governor called a special session of the General Assembly, which starts on Tuesday, July 9, 2019. The Republican governor rolled out several gun control proposals.
Northam declared, “Now is the time to act — Virginians deserve votes and laws, not thoughts and prayers,” Northam said in a statement. “I urge the members of the General Assembly to engage in a thorough, meaningful discussion about these proposed bills and to allow every member to cast their votes on the floor.”
The Virginia governor is proposing the latest trends that gun controllers have been pushing for nationwide.
Northam wants Virginia to enact universal background checks, assault weapons bans, and high-capacity magazine bans. On top of that, Northam would like to have Virginia join the accessory ban craze by banning bump stocks and silencers. Northam also desires to bring back Virginia’s one-handgun-a-month law, mandate that lost and stolen firearms be reported to police within 24 hours, and enable municipalities to enact firearm ordinances that are stricter than state law, such as regulating firearms within municipal buildings. He also wants to stiffen the penalty for people who violate so-called “safe storage” law.
Last but not certainly least, Northam wants to implement “red flag” gun confiscation orders, which allow law enforcement or prosecutors to petition judges to seize legally owned guns if someone is allegedly a threat to themselves or others.
Republicans in the Virginia General Assembly have yet to release a set of proposals, but House Speaker Kirk Cox intends to introduce legislation that places tougher penalties, which includes mandatory minimums—against offenders of gun control laws.
Republicans only have narrow majorities in both chambers of the General Assembly. So, it could take only a handful of legislators to sell out and ultimately let gun control pass. The House Speaker’s initial statements should have gun rights advocates worried. Instead of actually pushing measures that would enhance gun rights or at least roadblock gun control, Cox has indirectly shifted the goal post towards pro-gun control talking points.
On paper, it at least looks like gun control is dead in the water in the Virginia General Assembly due to its political makeup.