Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Governor Northam Substitutes Registration for Confiscation of Modern Sporting Rifles

Virginia Mercury is reporting that Governor Northam is pulling back from his proposal to ban the possession of modern sporting rifles.
“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 Monday evening. “Additional details on this and all other bills will be announced prior to the start of the upcoming session.”

Though legislation for the 2020 General Assembly session is still being written, gun-rights supporters have directed a wave of outrage at an early draft of a bill filed by incoming Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw, D-Fairfax. Saslaw’s legislation would have made it a felony to possess an pistol, rifle or shotgun that falls under its “assault weapon” definition after the bill takes effect and didn’t appear to make any exceptions for gun owners who already have them.

In a brief phone interview Monday night, Saslaw said the bill he filed won’t be the main assault weapon proposal and will be amended at a later date. Asked about the governor’s support for grandfathering in existing weapons, Saslaw said “that would make sense.”

“I’m not going to lock up a large part of Virginia,” Saslaw said.
Saslaw sure seemed ready to lock up thousands of Virginians a month ago when he introduced the bill.  Northam and Saslaw probably think this will appease the thousands of people who have packed local governing boards meetings over the past month.  Don't bet on it!

Graphic by Gun Rights Watch

VSSA's position of opposing any bill that bans the most popular rifle in America is not changing.  Simply adding a grandfathering clause and requiring registration of currently owned firearms doesn't change that.  VSSA will oppose any bill at the state legislature that bans the sale or purchase of any firearm.

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