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Virginia Legislators Barely Back Off Extreme Gun Control Stances

Virginia Legislators Barely Back Off Extreme Gun Control Stances

Photo of Gov. Ralph Northam: Public domain image courtesy of Livestream.

Anti-gun legislators in Virginia recently adjusted their stance on completely outlawing semi-automatic firearms, allowing that you may keep the ones you already legally own, but only if you register them with the state.

Gov. Ralph Northam’s proposed ban on commonly-owned semi-automatic firearms will reportedly include a grandfather clause for current owners provided the firearms are reported to a registry, according to local news sources. 

“The governor’s assault weapons ban will include a grandfather clause for individuals who already own assault weapons, with the requirement they register their weapons before the end of a designated grace period,” said Northam spokeswoman Alena Yarmosky in a statement Dec. 9.

Northam’s “assault weapons ban” is more extreme than the 1994 Federal Assault Weapons Ban, which also included a grandfather clause for firearms owned when the law was enacted but did not include any registration requirement. The federal ban expired in 2004.

The decision to include a grandfather clause is a weak attempt to appear more reasonable even as the new majority pursues a radical anti-gun agenda and is likely a result of vocal opposition to a flurry of pre-filed anti-Second Amendment bills in the state. Senate Bill 16, sponsored by incoming Senate Majority Leader Richard “Dick” Saslaw, would reportedly “create a total ban on commonly-owned semi-automatic firearms,” and “is clearly designed to be firearms confiscation,” according to the NRA Institute for Legislative Action. Saslaw’s pre-filed bill does not grandfather current owners.

SB 16 is one of a dozen anti-Second Amendment pre-filed bills for Virginia’s 2020 legislative session. The full list of pre-filed bills can be viewed here.

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