With Republicans now in control of the Virginia General Assembly, members have hit the ground running with legislation to restore gun rights and reverse at least some of the restrictions rammed through by Democrats and former Gov. Ralph Northam in 2020, including one measure aimed at restoring state control over gun control laws.
HB 26, sponsored by freshman Delegate Timothy Anderson (R-83rd District), will no doubt face resistance from anti-gun municipal governments that want to set their own gun control laws, which can sometimes conflict with one another. In 2020, more than 22,000 gun owners descended on the Capitol in Richmond to oppose gun control measures, including the loss of state preemption. Democrats under Northam ignored them and passed a package of bills, and the election in November brought those angry gun owners to the polls, joining furious parents and other taxpayers to take back the state government.
According to WRIC News, there are other measures on the table that, if passed and signed by newly-sworn Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin, will reverse the 2020 losses.
One measure, HB 133 sponsored by Del. Mike Cherry (R-66th District), would “remove preschools and licensed child day centers from a list where firearms are currently prohibited. Another bill, HB 23, sponsored by Del. Wendell Walker (R-23rd District), would repeal a ban on carrying firearms in churches or synagogues.
Republicans appear determined to show their supporters their votes last November were not in vain. The complete flip of state government took Democrats by surprise, and sent a message across the Potomac River to the Biden administration and Democrats in Congress they are in trouble as the 2022 midterm elections loom over the political horizon. The new governor is a political newcomer, and he defeated veteran politician Terry McAuliffe, who was trying to return to the governor’s mansion after waiting out Northam’s term, because Virginia does not allow consecutive terms for governors.
But McAuliffe made some strategic blunders during the campaign, particularly declaring parents should not be telling teachers what to teach their youngsters in school. It was the nuclear meltdown moment of the campaign. Enraged parents flocked to the polls, and Old Dominion gun owners were waiting in the tall grass to provide the final momentum for displacing Democrats and denying McAuliffe a second time at bat.
Under Anderson’s preemption legislation, “No locality shall adopt or enforce any ordinance, resolution, or motion, as permitted by § 15.2-1425, and no agent of such locality shall take any administrative action, governing the purchase, possession, transfer, ownership, carrying, storage, or transporting of firearms, ammunition, or components or combination thereof other than those expressly authorized by statute. For purposes of this section, a statute that does not refer to firearms, ammunition, or components or combination thereof shall not be construed to provide express authorization.”
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