Article from ForLiberty News by Norm Leahy.

Virginia Democrats promised voters that if they were given control of the General Assembly, one of the party’s first acts would be passing a series of gun control laws.

The intent of these laws would be to prevent further gun violence, including a mass shooting in Virginia Beach on May 31 that claimed a dozen lives.

What they initially proposed, however, were a series of bills intended to criminalize some forms of gun ownership, and more broadly, to trample Virginians’ Second Amendment rights.

Including a so-called assault weapons ban that would have made it illegal for Virginians to “import, sell, manufacture, purchase, possess or transport an assault firearm.”

The possibility that Democrats would make criminals out of thousands of law-abiding gun owners was bizarre and dangerous.  Matters got even worse when the state’s Democratic governor, Ralph Northam, responded to a radio host’s question about confiscating assault weapons:

“Will you confiscate them?” [NPR radio host Mary Louise] Kelly asks.

“No ma’am, not at this stage,” Northam said, “We’re looking at banning the sales of assault weapons … that would be what we would start with.”

“Not at this stage.” But at some future stage, sure.

The response from Virginia gun owners has been an unprecedented mobilization of manpower and message, with thousands of gun owners assembling at local government meetings demanding their counties and towns declare themselves Second Amendment sanctuaries.

So far, 93 cities, towns, and counties have passed either sanctuary resolutions – in which local governments declare they will not enforce state laws that infringe on resident’s Second Amendment rights – or more general resolutions supporting the state and federal constitutions.

More localities are likely to follow. 

Given the proposed legislation, and the rhetoric, is it any wonder Virginia gun owners decided to fight back?

Absolutely not. And there are early signs this huge outpouring of grassroots support for gun rights is already forcing Democrats to scale back – but not abandon – their anti-gun ambitions.

Incoming Senate majority leader Dick Saslaw, who sponsored the assault weapon ban, recently said he is going to revise his bill because “I’m not going to lock up a large part of Virginia.”

Northam, too, has back-peddled from his “not at this stage” gun confiscation stance to say any sort of assault ban he supports would not apply to existing owners.

But a ban is still on the table, and that has gun-rights advocates continuing to push for more Second Amendment sanctuaries.

They are showing the rest of the country how to push back against the anti-Second Amendment tide. But Virginia gun rights advocates know their biggest fights are still ahead.

Image Credit: By KAZ Vorpal (Flickr: Declaration of Independence, with Firearm) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons