Virginia Democrats in the House Pass Expansive Bill Banning ‘Assault Weapons’. Update: State Senate Delays Bill for 1 Year

A new Virginia law bans so-called assault weapons, including the AR-15, one of the most popular guns in America. It also makes it a crime to possess or transfer magazines holding over 12 rounds. Virginians would have a year to turn in any such magazines or face serious prison time. The National Rifle Association responded by saying the bill “will turn law-abiding Virginians into criminals overnight. Anyone who owns a standard-capacity magazine and does not turn it in within a year of the bill,  will face one year in prison for each magazine they have.” Banning “assault weapons” did not reduce gun violence when it was tried under Bill Clinton. -GEG

Update: Four moderate Democrats joined Republicans in Monday’s committee vote, rejecting the legislation. Senators voted to shelve the bill for the year and ask the state crime commission to study the issue.

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.

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Law Enforcement Report Blames Charlottesville for Violence. Virginia may Crackdown on Protests

An independent report from Virginia law-enforcement agencies blames the City of Charlottesville for the violence that erupted during a protest in August.  The report says that the City rejected many of the state’s recommendations, ignored police standards for handling violent events, used multiple-action plans instead of one, established multiple command posts instead of being unified, and placed only minimal restrictions on protesters. The investigators were denied interviews with Charlottesville officials and documents. The Governor’s Civil Unrest Task Force is preparing recommendations for the permit process that includes rules for crowd capacity threshold, reasonable fees, and requiring permit holders to hire off-duty first responders. -GEG

A preliminary action report is blaming Charlottesville for the civil unrest that occurred in the city on August 12.

The preliminary report [pdf] was presented to the Governor’s Civil Unrest Task Force in Richmond Thursday, October 26. The task force is comprised of first responders from around Virginia, elected officials, but no one from Charlottesville.

According to the report, city leaders did not take recommendations ahead of white activist Jason Kessler’s Unite the Right rally. Additionally, the report said Charlottesville had an inadequate permit process. The city was taken to court after it tried to make changes to Kessler’s permit just a few days before the rally.

International Chiefs of Police Director Jim W. Baker says we are seeing a new era of protests that involve weapons, shields and a desire to cause harm. He said Charlottesville leaders knew this before protesters and counterprotesters clashed in and around Emancipation Park. Baker said the park was too small, noting that authorities tried to have it moved to McIntire Park, and the city was warned about extreme violence, including a potential car attack. Police have charged James Alex Fields with second-degree murder, hit-and-run, and multiple counts of malicious wounding after he apparently drove into a crowd in the area of 4th Street.

Charlottesville is withholding important planning documents and information to the state. However, the commonwealth is not sharing some of its information with the city. Officials are trying to resolve this, which could change some of the conclusions within the report.

“We would like to cooperate and work with the city of Charlottesville. Let’s be united,” said Virginia Secretary Brian Moran.

“I really do think that it’s important for them and for us to have that exchange, and we stand by hoping that we can work that out,” said Tim Heaphy, who is leading an independent review for Charlottesville.

The Governor’s Civil Unrest Task Force, which has met several times, is working on recommendations for the permit process that balances First Amendment rights and public safety: That includes crowd capacity threshold, reasonable fees and requiring the permit holder to hire off duty first responders.

The task force says small localities like Charlottesville are targeted due to a lack of first responder resources. Members also say social media needs to be better monitored leading up to controversial events.

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Virginia Removed 5,556 Illegal Alien Voters Who Were Only Exposed by Accident

The Public Interest Legal Foundation released a study, Alien Invasion, which found that 5,556 voters were quietly removed from vote rolls due to non-citizenship.  The illegal voters had cast more than 7,000 votes by the time they their voting rights were terminated.  The illegal voters were caught by accident, indicating that many more illegal aliens are voting in elections across the state.  Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe vetoed several bills that would have stopped tis type of vote fraud.  California’s system is profoundly corrupt, and perhaps beyond repair, as illegal aliens may obtain drivers licenses without specifying citizenship (a new law will go into effect this year in which the DMV will automatically register people to vote). -GEG