Virginia gun owners just can’t seem to get a break.
After beating back a ban on common semi-automatic rifles back in 2020, things seemed to be looking up in the Old Dominion. But with the Democrats winning a slim one-vote majority in the state House of Delegates in the last election, things are again heating up.
Bills introduced in both the House and Senate would ban many common firearms used for a number of lawful purposes, along with commonly owned standard-capacity magazines that come stock with many firearms purchased. The measures—SB2 and HB2—are nearly identical and both arguably unconstitutional under the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2022 Bruen ruling.
Ironically, these gun bills being introduced as the second measure of the year in both the House and Senate show anti-gun Democrat’s zeal for banning guns. The first measures introduced in both chambers were pro-abortion bills.
Philip Van Cleave, president of the Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL), said the early introduction of the measures indicate anti-gun lawmakers are going to be “putting gun control as the second highest priority that they’re going to be working on.”
“I warned everybody in our alerts that if we didn’t win the elections, if we didn’t get the House and the Senate under control—especially if we lost both—that they could count on an assault weapon ban and extending the red-flag law,” Van Cleave said.
Unlike the measure introduced in 2020, which eventually died after some gun-ban advocates mentioned they favored confiscation, the new bill would ban the same firearms but has a grandfather clause to make it more palatable to the uninformed. According to the language, banned guns and magazines owned before the effective date, which would be July 1, 2024, can be kept. What that means, however, is nobody in Virginia would be permitted buy a new semi-auto rifle meeting the ban criteria or magazine holding more than 10 rounds after next July.
“This was their way of saying, ‘No, we’re not taking your guns,’” Van Cleave said. “Well, yeah, you are. You’re taking away future guns. You’re taking away guns for the next generation, and if my gun breaks and I want to buy a brand new one, I can’t do it. You’re taking that away from me.”
VCDL has schedule its annual Lobby Day for January 15 at the state capital. Virginia gun owners should plan to attend and let lawmakers know about this latest proposed infringement.