Virginia abandoned a proposed ban on assault weapons on Dec. 9 that could have breached a constitutional right for residents to bear arms.
Democratic state Gov. Ralph Northam and new Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw (D) have confirmed they will drop their controversial proposal to ban and confiscate assault weapons.
The policy reversal came after voter voiced strong opposition to a gun control measure that could contradict the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution that guarantees the “right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” Many of the Old Dominion’s counties responded by declaring themselves “second amendment sanctuaries.”
Northam now plans to ban new assault weapon sales and allow existing assault weapon owners to keep their firearms. The governor would not be immediately releasing further details.
“In this case, the governor’s assault weapons ban will include a grandfather clause for individuals who already own assault weapons, with the requirement they register their weapons before the end of a designated grace period,” Northam spokeswoman Alena Yarmosky said in a statement obtained by the Daily Wire. “Additional details on this and all other bills will be announced prior to the start of the upcoming session.”
The Washington Free Beacon speculated this backflip could suggest there is a trend where advocates invested millions of dollars into overruling the state Legislature to achieve gun control measures. However, overwhelming opposition to this agenda appears so widespread that newer members of the Legislature are thinking twice about backing gun control.
“The concession is unlikely to end the fight brewing across the state. However, Democrats still plan to pursue a ban on many new sales,” the publication reported.
The Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL) does not doubt the policy was reversed due to the Second Amendment sanctuary movement.
“They were hoping to play that card later but they are playing it now because they have to find some way to slow down this whole process,” VCDL President Philip Van Cleave told the Free Beacon.
The National Rifle Association is concerned the backflip could actually be a political move to buy more time to enact new weapon bans and registration rules.
“Gov. Northam and the rest of Virginia’s anti-gun politicians’ idea of a compromise is to threaten hundreds of thousands of Virginians with felonies unless they submit to government control,” NRA spokeswoman Catherine Mortensen told the Free Beacon. “The NRA will stand with the Commonwealth’s law-abiding gun owners in solidarity to oppose gun bans, confiscations, and registrations.”