Ban on assault rifles fails in Virginia Legislature

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We've apparently gone too far in the wrong direction to fix this:

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam's push to ban the sale of assault weapons has failed after members of his own party balked at the proposal. Senators voted to shelve the bill for the year and ask the state crime commission to study the issue, an outcome that drew cheers from a committee room packed with gun advocates.

Four moderate Democrats joined Republicans in Monday's committee vote, rejecting legislation that would have prohibited the sale of certain semiautomatic firearms, including popular AR-15 style rifles, and banned the possession of magazines that hold more than 12 rounds.

Look, I believe in open government, and not doing the public's business behind closed doors. But these 2nd Amendment folks push their intimidation tactics right up to the edge (and beyond) when dealing with elected officials, and when committee members are outnumbered 4-1 in a relatively small chamber that intimidation becomes more than just an academic exercise. If you doubt that just ask Lee Carter:

Facing a series of death threats, Manassas Delegate Lee Carter says he will spend Monday at a safe house instead of the state house, as first reported by Gen. The threats against Carter—a Democratic Socialist first elected in 2017—also show how an echo chamber of conspiracy theories that begin as social media posts get laundered into mainstream outlets like the Wall Street Journal, and can ultimately lead to real-world peril.

“People were threatening to murder me and murder my family over something I’m not even doing,” Carter tells DCist from Richmond on Wednesday evening. “These threats are more hateful and more numerous than anything I’ve seen before. I mean, I’m the only socialist elected to a legislature in the south, so I do occasionally get waves of death threats—about every two three months it’ll happen—but this one is far larger and far more serious than anything I’ve seen before by orders of magnitude.” Carter has reported the threats to the Virginia Capitol Police.

Social media posts began erroneously characterizing Carter’s legislation as trying to make sure police enforce gun control legislation on threat of being terminated from their jobs, in concert with Northam (“who I’m not particularly a fan of,” Carter notes). An article in Law Enforcement Today alleges that Carter’s bill is trying to “punish police,” and pro-confederate group the Virginia Flaggers tweeted that the bill would allow the commonwealth to “fire law enforcement officers if they won’t enforce unconstitutional gun laws.” Ultimately, those claims made their way into a Wall Street Journal editorial, which said that a Virginia lawmaker “introduced a bill that requires firing police officers who don’t enforce a gun statute.”

At least one of Carter’s colleagues is among those fanning the flames of the conspiracy. Culpeper Delegate Nick Freitas, a Republican who is currently running for Congress, went on a conservative media blitz about Virginia Democrats’ gun control plans, specifically name-checking Carter as proposing a bill that would fire cops who refused to confiscate firearms. Freitas’ office did not respond to a request for comment.

Freitas should have been booted out of the Legislature for putting his colleague (and family) in jeopardy, or at least censured. But that just serves to highlight the exceptionally vicious nature of many of these gun-nuts. They go after anybody (or any business) that doesn't appreciate their bullshit Wild West approach to society, and the longer they steep in it the more dangerous they become.

But it's not all bad news. Virginia is passing a bevy of gun control laws despite this setback, or maybe because of it? A throwaway bill to give the wolves something to attack while the other bills progress? From the OP:

Lawmakers in both the House and Senate have already advanced several other gun-control measures and should finalize passage in the coming days. Those bills include limiting handgun purchases to once a month, universal background checks on gun purchases, allowing localities to ban guns in public buildings, parks and other areas, and a red flag bill that would allow authorities to temporarily take guns away from anyone deemed to be dangerous to themselves or others.

FWIW, the right's opposition to common-sense regulation like Red Flag laws exposes the core of their ideology: They don't really care about the safety of innocents. If somebody is exhibiting behavior that threatens the safety of others, and that behavior can be demonstrated in a formal proceeding, that individual should not have access to firearms. It ain't rocket surgery. But the gun-nuts fight stuff like this tooth and nail, because threatening others with their behavior is a major element of their fetish.

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Comments

I have a shotgun.

A 16 gauge automatic that is over 70 years old, but it was made very well and still functions better than many new models. You break into my house, I'll cut you some slack with a bird-shot round first. But after that one are plugs, and that's a one-way ticket.