Democrats in the Virginia state legislature have been busy this legislative session, passing a large number of progressive laws in a relatively short period of time, but the one thing they really seemed to want—a sweeping, prohibitive, confiscatory gun control measure—has failed to materialize: A gun control bill passed by the Virginia house last week failed to move past a state Senate committee on Monday, with four Democrats crossing the aisle to produce a 10-to-5 vote pushing it back a year.
Several gun control measures have already passed either the House or the Senate, but this law was rightly viewed as the most significant of them. It would have banned large classes of popular firearms from being either sold or possessed; it also would have outlawed firearm magazines that held more than 12 rounds, which is to say the vast majority of them. Virginians who failed to comply with these new rules would have become felons. It was also championed by Gov. Ralph Northam.
The politicians who deferred this bill until the next legislative session might claim that they simply want more time to consider the logistics of the bill. They are, doubtlessly, lying; the pressing issue for them was not that they wanted to remand the bill for further study but that they didn't want to lose their jobs in November, which they almost certainly would have had they voted for it.
What those few Virginia Democrats realized is what countless gun control advocates have figured out all over the country: Americans really like their gun rights. Guns are an integral and indispensable part of the American experiment, from our beginnings as a frontier country to our present-day commitment to self-government and citizen self-sovereignty. Any disarmed citizenry cannot reasonably be said to be free, and the gun control bill that failed in Virginia this week was most assuredly about disarming the citizenry.
This bill may arise again next year; it will almost certainly fail then as well. Again, politicians hate to be voted out of office.
There will always be plenty of people who want to strip us of our Second Amendment rights, but politicians increasingly seem to recognize that gun control is a losing political issue. Thank goodness those four Virginia Democrats got the message.