Virginia Dems on gun confiscation: Never mind

Liberals across the country were celebrating last month when Democrats scored the trifecta in Virginia, controlling both the Governor’s mansion and both chambers of the legislature. One of the key promises that Governor Raph Northam and the new legislative majority had run on was banning the ownership of “assault rifles” in the state. But after weeks of unrest and the formation of Second Amendment sanctuary counties, it seems that the pressure has gotten to them. The coming ban on scary looking rifles will now include a grandfather clause for those who already own them. (Free Beacon)

Virginia Democratic leaders abandoned their gun confiscation proposal Monday following a grassroots outpouring of opposition to gun control across the state.

Governor Ralph Northam (D.) and incoming Senate majority leader Dick Saslaw (D.) said they will no longer pursue their marquee plan to ban the possession of “assault weapons.” Instead, they will include a provision to allow Virginians to keep the firearms they already own. The reversal comes before the newly elected Democratic majority has even been sworn in, after a majority of the state’s counties declared themselves “Second Amendment sanctuaries.”

A spokesperson for the Governor said that owners of these types of firearms would have a grace period to register them with the state after the law goes into effect. Of course, this creates a de facto gun registry for those specific types of rifles, so we’re left to wonder whether or not that registry will be made public.

Northam and his allies probably saw all the potential trouble that was waiting in the wings for them if they had gone with a full ban and confiscation plan. Their first indication came when we learned that a majority of the counties in Virginia had either declared themselves Second Amendment sanctuaries or were preparing to do so. On top of that, Chesapeake, Virginia (population 225K) declared itself a “Second Amendment constitutional city” this week.

If they had moved forward with the full ban anyway, both the logistics and the political optics appeared daunting. If local law enforcement wasn’t going to go around collecting firearms they would have needed to dispatch the state police to do the job. And then there’s always the possibility that they might run into somebody holding to the “cold dead hands” philosophy. A dead firearms owner with no previous criminal record would make for a terrible headline for the Governor.

And is that really how the Democrats want to spend their first year in the majority? They’d wind up in a constant series of battles with county executives, sheriff’s departments and mayors. It would dominate the news and make the rest of their agenda harder to push through.

Still, it appears that Virginia remains on track to have a ban on new sales of so-called “assault rifles.” But with the grandfather clause in mind, gun shop owners should start placing their orders. There’s probably going to be one of the biggest runs of rifle sales in state history coming their way.