It’s no longer hyperbole: Virginia Democrats want to take your gun rights. At least, that’s what a new bill passed by the Democrat-controlled Virginia House of Delegates on Tuesday would do.
The law bans so-called assault weapons, outlawing future sales. This bans popular models such as the AR-15, one of the most popular guns in America. Yet, the wide-ranging ban also makes it a crime to possess or transfer certain magazines. Virginians would have a year to comply and turn them in. If they don’t, they could face jail time.
It’s a radical bill and one that’s arguably unconstitutional and undoubtedly ineffective.
Critics have largely focused on the draconian punishments Virginia Democrats would impose on residents who don’t kneel to magazine confiscation. The National Rifle Association, for instance, said in a statement that “[the bill] will turn law-abiding Virginians into criminals overnight. Under this bill, anyone who owns a standard capacity magazine must submit to mandatory confiscation or face one year in jail for each magazine they own.”
And the libertarian-leaning, Republican state Rep. Nick Freitas pointed out to the Washington Examiner that “this bill creates an environment where you could receive up to 12 months in jail for every magazine you have over 12 rounds.” He’s right to sound the alarm. Do Democrats seriously want to imprison people over breaking ammunition regulations?
But even more to the point, the Democratic proposal would undoubtedly limit the rights of otherwise law-abiding gun owners and even subject them to criminal penalties, yet it wouldn’t actually stop mass shootings or do much to make Virginia safer.
Remember: We’ve already tried the whole “ban assault weapons” fearmongering and policy fiasco, under President Bill Clinton. The Democrat president signed such a ban into law in 1994, and it expired in 2004. Experts almost universally agree that it was not effective and did not reduce gun violence.