Democratic candidate for Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe is proving that once government officials learn they can use a crisis to deny basic freedoms, they’ll find a crisis every time.
McAuliffe has decided that Virginia has a public health crisis when it comes to criminal violence. For him and the rest of Virginia’s gun control politicians, there’s never a problem with rising crime, lack of police resources or willingness to actually prosecute criminals. McAuliffe is proving that gun control politicians know only one cure. Take the blue pill of more gun control.
With less than a month to go before Old Dominion voters head into the voting booth, McAuliffe conflates crime with public health, co-opting the use of emergency health measures to enact radical gun control. That includes McAuliffe’s demand that Modern Sporting Rifle (MSRs) and standard capacity magazines must be banned.
“It’s time to Ban the Sale of Assault Weapons, Close Loopholes, and Treat Gun Violence as a Public Health Epidemic,” reads McAuliffe’s campaign website.
Overseeing this, of course, would be McAuliffe’s “Virginia Office of Gun Violence Prevention,” a comfortable taxpayer-funded cushion for McAuliffe’s gun control backers to gin up new ways to deny Virginians their God-given rights protected not only by the U.S. Constitution, but the Commonwealth’s Constitution.
Order it Twice
McAuliffe’s “plan” reads like an a la carte gun control menu. In addition to banning MSRs and magazines, he wants to “strengthen” Virginia’s background checks, without explaining what’s left to strengthen since the state already has a universal background check law. He makes a similar demand of wanting a new law where one already exists by demanding local municipalities should be able to create their own gun control measures. Virginia already did that when it repealed the state pre-emption law.
He would also ban so-called “ghost guns,” or home-built firearms. Never mind that it has been legal in Virginia since it was a colony to make your own firearm. What he’s really aiming to do is regulate the sale of precursor parts. That would mean nearly any part of a firearm could be labeled a “firearm,” itself requiring background checks and onerous restrictions and regulations on small business owners and gun owners just to repair or improve a firearm. It doesn’t matter that an individual prohibited from legally purchasing a firearm is also prohibited from possessing one – even one that is self-assembled.
Crisis Over Governing
McAuliffe’s gun control plan doesn’t sound like much of a plan. It is an excuse to infringe on Virginians’ constitutionally protected gun rights of those who obey the law and ignores failing policies that defunded police and let criminals run rampant with no accountability.
McAuliffe continues to demonize the MSR, or AR-15 rifle, using the gun control invented trope “assault weapon” to describe these popular, commonly owned rifles. It doesn’t matter to him that the just released FBI Uniform Crime Report show murder skyrocketing 29 percent in the United States. It also showed that knives were used 3.5 times as often in murders than rifles of all types. Virginia State Police reported that murder in the state reached the highest levels seen since the 1990s. Police reported 537 homicides in 2020, up from 455 in 2019, an 18 percent increase in just one year.
McAuliffe’s gun control crisis plan also masks the failing policies that are contributing to Virgina’s crime problem. Richmond’s progressive, Democratic-controlled city council slashed $3 million from the police budget, eliminated 12 positions at the same time murders in the capital city jumped 40 percent over a year ago.
McAuliffe’s answer isn’t to end the insanity of yanking police off the streets. He wants to double down. McAuliffe accepted the endorsement of a group that support police defunding. He dressed down a room full of law enforcement for questing his position and willingness to accept endorsements from groups that demand police be defunded and prisons be abolished. “I don’t care what you believe,” McAuliffe said.
When candidates for office put on blinders and declare God-given rights are secondary to self-declared “crises,” voters have to scratch their heads and wonder why the proposed cure doesn’t even address the symptoms. McAuliffe’s blue pill of gun control only serves his radical gun control agenda.
Larry Keane is the senior vice-president for government and public affairs, assistant secretary and general counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation.