What Made Virginia Change Its Mind on Guns?

Attitudes about guns are shifting in the state amid demographic changes. In one State Senate district that flipped to Democratic control in November, guns were a key topic.

Comments: 116

  1. I can only imagine what it feels like to have voted Republican and feel the need to vote Democrat to get the things you are looking for. Whether it's gun control measures, healthcare, and change. When you ask a senator for a bill to be passed and they say no, then you have no choice. If here in CA, a Democrat senator decided that they wanted to lower our emissions standards then I'd be forced to vote for someone that would give us that. Here, we wouldn't be able to see or breathe if it were lowered. VA wants to put in measures to protect themselves but unfortunately too many people see this as nothing more than a game, control and not looking at the issues. They're not taking time to see that we vote for people so they can work for us. Not special interests. Almost 400 bills just sits on the senate floor. Why? To stick it to the libs? The libs aren't the only ones hurt from those bills not passed. GOP did this before. Seems as if they work for only one person right now. I detest people treating VA like kids. They made a decision. Live with it.

  2. Not one of the laws passed restricts law-abiding gun owners from having a gun. You'd think that law-abiding gun owners would want the mentally insane and criminals to be stopped from purchasing a gun. Currently, over 20% of gun purchases don't go through a background check. Would we want 20% of drivers on the road without a license?

  3. @Wilson - Meanwhile, the gun-packin' "mentally insane and criminals" are the same peeps from whom the "law-abiding" gun owners claim they need to defend themselves. Classic foo-bird logic.

  4. I live in suburban Richmond. I've been told that by people who live here that when they take away our guns "those people" from the inner city will hijack a bus and come here to rape our women. They really believe that the only thing that protects them is being armed.

  5. @James Ward Well, not everyone can has the luxury of having a quick police response time and the average response time for the police is 10 minutes. If someone does break into your house, hope you have some good upper body strength or a good place to hide.

  6. How about some of these "suburban women" come here to a city like Detroit and give us some pointers on how to defend ourselves and those we love against all of the heavily armed "bad guys" for which gun laws have no consequence? I'm assuming that Michael--"stop-and-frisk-all-of-the-black-people"--Bloomberg is pleased to see some return on all of that money he spent in VA. My only genuine enemies on this planet are white, American, and wealthy--the two worst are Trump and Bloomberg, old neighbors and peers. Love, An English professor in the city of Detroit, with a CPL, who legally owns a number of "high-capacity" rifles and handguns that are always secured in a gun-safe when at home, who is completely fine with lengthy and rigorous background checks on all gun-purchases, and who will never be a member of the NRA

  7. The irony here is that conservative Republicans just outside the cities laid the foundation for these changes over 20 years ago when they started rezoning rural areas to accommodate wealthy land developers who wanted to turn farms into expensive suburbs. I suspect it never really entered their heads back then that the poor education level of most rural, white Virginians would prevent them from being able to afford all that new suburban housing, so that the developments would be instead fill up with highly educated, ethnically diverse, and more liberal folks from out-of-state. The handwriting has been on the wall for years, especially after several mass shootings, but the Republicans and the gun crowd were so locked into their "This is just the beginning because the ultimate goal is to take guns from people" paranoia that when the opportunity to compromise came along in 2019 the Republicans deliberately taunted the suburban and urban districts by cutting short a special legislative session after 90 minutes. And that is how the North finally subdued Virginia's Confederates - not by fighting, but by voting.

  8. @Pablo It's lazy and false on your part to conflate "suburban and urban districts," because they are two completely different conversations when it comes to guns. So, it's the "highly educated, ethnically diverse, and more liberal folks from out-of-state" out in these affluent suburbs, whose political--and economic--will is driving all of this change, which is ironic, as it were, because affluent suburbs are where the VAST majority of "mass shootings" take place, with legally purchased guns, in "gun-free zones," etc. Which of course has absolutely nothing to do with the daily circumstances of poor, working, and minority populations in cities like Detroit--a city where the chief of police recommends citizens arm and defend themselves, and where we often here of people successfully doing so in the news? "Banning or restricting firearms is the most white-privileged idea ever. Rich liberals scoffing at the notion that a person might need to defend their own life is a tower so ivory you can't look at it in direct sunlight. It's the personal safety equivalent of saying 'just have the maid do it'."

  9. @SD so get permit, have a pistol or shot gun or rifle, get trained, get insurance like with your car...- ... but someone with a history of domestic violence walking into a gun show and getting a gun- maybe a semi-- 3000 children will die this year because of selfish people...

  10. @SD My comment was specific to Virginia, where the only people talking about banning guns (as quoted in the Times) are Republicans. Liberals here as as happy as anyone else to defend their lives with firearms or with whatever comes to hand. They just think, among other things, that it's a bad idea to allow guns in bars and other places where Republicans thought guns belonged but common sense indicated otherwise. That's why they're gone.

  11. I'm proud to have voted D in election after election so that someday this could happen in Virginia. This state is not turning back and not letting the NRA gain a stranglehold on our government again.

  12. @BillRich Perhaps we could tell the NRA that if they did not like the gun laws, they could move to West Virginia.

  13. @BillRich Ah I see, so no NRA gaining a stranglehold, but gun control groups funded by billionares having a stranglehold on your government is ok. Makes sense

  14. @Ryan - people voting is a stranglehold? Do you know that some people don't consult the relatively few billionaires who are liberal when they vote? Some are actually turned off naturally by houses of worship having to become armed camps, kids having to be educated on what to do if someone comes to class to murder them, tired of losing track of mass murders, tired of headlines "despite restraining order, she was" or "man returns to bar with gun" and other stupid behavior by armed men who can't control themselves. Tired of reading about kids killing themselves or their friends when they find the weapon the careless "adult" in the room left out. Tired of reading about how many guns are taken from cars, or taken in burglaries, or "lost". All going into the black market. And without asking a billionaire's opinion, tired of the foolish concept that the gun violence plague is fixed by the right guys buying more guns and carrying them everywhere.

  15. Let us hope that Virginia portends similar changes across the country. There are large swaths of Virginia that will be discontent with the changes, but those swaths are not where the population is, and they are not where the money is made. Similarly, the states that are now expanding, not limiting, gun rights will be discontent when the nation charts a different course--which it inevitably will--led by the states where the majority of the population is, and where money is being made (and transferred to the states where it is not).

  16. I would appreciate if there were very definitive “Second Amendment sanctuaries” it would help me and many others know which states to avoid visiting when travelling the US.

  17. "“It’s not really about guns,” said Don Via Jr., who describes himself as a political independent who lives in Chesterfield County. “It’s about a person’s intrinsic right to defend themselves from burglars — or God forbid, the government, although no one wants to see that happen.”" Wrong, Mr. Via. The Constitution and Bill of Rights were not written, debated and approved in order to allow random members of the public to attack the government. The full Second Amendment was to allow the US to have trained state militias, with each state naming the officers for their militia, and for all militias to be available at the command of the President to fight off invasion - and also to put down rebellion. This revisionist history that guns are to fight our government is false. Read the Militia Acts of 1792 - passed in the second session of Congress. "The law also authorized the President to call the militias into Federal service "whenever the laws of the United States shall be opposed or the execution thereof obstructed, in any state, by combinations too powerful to be suppressed by the ordinary course of judicial proceedings, or by the powers vested in the marshals by this act". This provision likely referred to uprisings such as Shays' Rebellion." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Militia_Acts_of_1792

  18. @b fagan You left out the part where it said the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. That's because the people are the militia. And if a government is acting oppressive, shouldn't we be able to fight back? In regards to Shay's rebellion, they rebelled because of aggressive tax collecting and because many of them were losing their land and belongings because they couldn't pay their debts. When the courts, and the government didn't listen or help, they rebelled. That's the point of the Second Amendment, to be able to fight back if the government won't listen to the people or becomes corrupt

  19. @Ryan "A well-ordered militia" is the start of the amendment. The point of the Second Amendment was that the new United States, without a standing army at that time, wanted each state to have a ready military force (since people couldn't just be flown in) to fight off invasion from the native nations and the colonial rivals, and also to put down insurrection. Militias were to stop individual groups from rebelling. The militias were commanded by officers of the respective state, and were at the call of the President. You are making up your argument. The Constitution does not enshrine anarchy or armed mob action.

  20. I was raised in Arlington and was always essentially ashamed of Virginia’s inability to shed it’s racist past. Today I feel somewhat vindicated in seeing the tide finally change and for the better. I hope that the Old Dominion will serve as a bell weather for the Florida where ‘ol white men with AR15s is the last refuge of white supremacy being ended by Democracy.

  21. @Old FL Cracker You are aware people of color can buy guns right? Because at the rally there were plenty of people of color expressing their rights. Also, you should probably look up how gun control has always been used to oppress people of color, leaving them at the mercy of the racists.

  22. The VA GOP went out of their way to antagonize NOVA people like me living in 'communist country'. But had they not stuck to their hard line and actually worked to compromise with people who want reasonable, not NRA extreme, gun laws, they likely would not have been swept out of power. Now they will sit back and watch as Democrats do what they should have done, plus a lot more almost certainly not to their liking.

  23. @Alex Yeah, you definitely aren't a communist, because Marx actually wanted the working class to be armed. Also, the reason why they don't want to compromise is because Democrats don't stop after one law, they just keep taking and taking. Just take a look at California, which in spite of all their strict gun laws, have had no impact on gun deaths at all, yet that doesn't stop them at all.

  24. Just a matter of time before Virginia becomes smaller and West Virginia becomes bigger. If not geographically thru counties seceding then through population flight. See it in California and New York already. We will soon see it in Virginia.

  25. @GregP Why would someone move to West Virginia from Virginia when the economy of West Virginia is horrible, and so are the schools. Jobs are limited! What would all these moving people do for a living...farm? Manufacture illegal substances?

  26. @GregP Yep, you're right. People will walk away from good paying jobs to areas where there aren't as many. Good thinking. How many new jobs do you think are generated every day in NY, Virginia, and Calif.? How many jobs are generated in West Virginia? I'll bet it's at least ten to one. in favor of NY et al. Please look up population growth in Virginia vs West Virginia. "Just a matter of time before Virginia becomes smaller and West Virginia becomes bigger" - when pigs fly.

  27. West Virginia is, by and large, a third-world-country with a disintegrating economy, horrible geography, and a backward culture. The only folks moving there over a package of reasonable gun control laws are so far gone that Virginia is better off without them.

  28. "the Senate, split largely along party lines, approved four gun limits, including limiting handgun purchases, allowing municipalities to ban guns in certain public areas, and background checks." All ZERO of these new laws would have prevented any of the mass shootings. Gun violence in the country has been going down decade after decade (without these laws). Concealed carry permit holders are among the safest, most responsible, least violent citizens in the country. Stopping them from owning guns is just another foolish feel-good measure by the Democrats that will solve nothing. The red-flag laws and the background checks do make sense however.

  29. Nobody is talking about stopping concealed carry owners from owning a gun. The NRA always promotes red herrings, like the claim that the other side wants to take your guns, or wants to deny you the right to protect yourself. Kudos for supporting red flag laws, which preliminary studies indicate have been effective in reducing gun violence. Studies also show that universal background checks reduce gun violence. I hope you support them too.

  30. @ Jerome: I couldn’t agree more with your lede: the new VA legislation isn’t going far enough. But, it’s a very important step.

  31. @SandraH. There isn't evidence that Red Flag Laws are effective, the problem people have with red flag laws is not only do they violate the Due Process Clause of the Constitution, anyone can call them in, which means innocent people will have their guns confiscated. You could say that they just have to go to court, however, if there's a judge that doesn't believe in gun owner ship, then they won't get their guns back, not to mention court costs would hurt people financially. That's the reason why people don't support them

  32. Folks who are worried about the government taking their guns, should: 1. get a job in law enforcement or the military 2. realize that against a tank and well trained army, they're dead. 3. if the government could take a gun, it would be because a law was passed that was approved by the Supreme Court as constitutional and therefore now is the law of the land, just like the existing second amendment, is.

  33. @newyorkerva How is that Afghanistan thing going? Against the well trained, best equipped US Army?

  34. I get that some folks are feeling anxious over what they perceive as a rapid sweeping change to VA politics. but this has been a long time coming. VA went for Obama in 2008, 2012, and Hillary in 2016. we have 2 democratic senators since 2013, both of whom are former governors. the Republicans won the last legislative election in a tiebreaker that was literally decided by a coin flip. it's about time the state house represents what the majority of Virginians want.

  35. @Erin Funny, if it's what a majority of what Virginians want, then why have many counties declared themselves as Second Amendment Sanctuaries? Seems to me those Democrats are only serving the constituents in the city and Bloomberg rather than any place outside the city.

  36. @Ryan - funny, a majority is the number of people who vote, not the number of counties that lean one way or another.

  37. @Ryan The people in those counties are *also* welcome to vote their local officials in or out of office if they don't like what they're doing. This does happen. Those elections are often hard fought and usually come down to just a few votes. But the voters decide. The idea that a county is uniformly Red or Blue is nonsense. EVERY county has Red AND Blue folks in it. And BOTH Read and Blue are vastly outweighed by "doesn't bother to vote," and "doesn't care."

  38. No one has a right to an assault rifle. Assault rifles are used to kill lots of people in a very short amount of time and are only useful during mass shootings. Thank you to Virginia Democrats for bringing sanity to the South.

  39. @CP Assault rifles kill on average 374 people every year. Knives kill on average 1793 people every year, and blunt objects such as clubs, hammers, etc kill on average 584 people every year, in fact, hands, fists, and feet kill on average 812 people every year. Those weapons kill far more than assault rifles. And also, the assault rifle is not the preferred weapon of mass shooters, it's pistols, which kill 6607 people on average every year. So banning assault rifles won't stop mass shootings, which account for less than 1% of all gun deaths. Sounds to me like you need some sanity brought to New York

  40. @CP If you don't like "assault rifles", don't buy one!

  41. I am someone who unqualified to own a gun. I never been convicted of a crime or been treated for mental illness and would certainly pass a background check. I am unqualified because I am human being. I sometimes loose my temper. Having a gun is way too much power for me or anyone else who might loose their temper.

  42. @Nick If you are unqualified, get training to be a better owner. If you don't want a gun, fine, that's your choice. But don't think that just because you think you are unqualified, that means you think no one else should have one.

  43. Our sheriff here in Grayson County, Virginia ... Richard Vaughan ... said in a FOX News interview that these gun control laws are unconstitutional, so he will not enforce them. There is tremendous support for Grayson having been declared a sanctuary county, so not much opposition to Vaughan and his stance. I am horrified that this sheriff can take it upon himself to decide which laws ... LAWS ... he will or will not enforce. What will it take to remove this law enforcement officer for his blatant dereliction of duty? I am so tired of these good old boys and girls who can’t see that their gun rights aren’t being taken away. These are simply long overdue steps to ensure reasonable gun regulation. How would Vaughan and his cronies feel if they were Sandy Hook parents? Thank you to all Virginians who have pushed to get this far.

  44. Does Virginia have the power to withhold state funds from these “sanctuary” counties?

  45. @Moore he's doing the same thing as the cities and counties in left leaning areas declaring themselves "sanctuary cities" for illegal immigrants. Both disobeying laws.

  46. @Moore he's doing the same thing as the cities and counties in left leaning areas declaring themselves "sanctuary cities" for illegal immigrants. Both disobeying laws.

  47. States can make whatever kind of laws they want, it won't matter because it's not national or rational and I will personally resist and fight any and all gun control legislation. I didn't shoot anybody and I won't tolerate any infringement of my God given gun rights.

  48. God has absolutely nothing to do with it...it's strictly a man-made delusion conjured up by fear and an over grown ego.

  49. @Al God didn't give you the right to owns guns.

  50. @Al Wasn't it Jesus who said "pry my guns from my cold dead fingers?" No - wait. My bad. That was the NRA.

  51. Common sense is becoming more common when it comes to gun control. This is a start for Virginia and long overdue.

  52. So, will all guns have to say within the confines of the 2nd Amendment sanctuary? Will they give them up when they leave said Sanctuary like some sort of gunmetal coat check? Ironic that these guys feel so scared and threatened that they want their own "safe spaces". Weren't they just criticizing sensitive college kids for the same thing? Yes, I'm admittedly being snarky, but the irony is too rich to ignore!

  53. @IanC Ah yes, because when the state is advocating violence against people to force them to give up their means of protecting themselves, it's the exact same thing

  54. Perhaps Virginia has not changed its mind on guns, but what appears to have happened, is that people from other states have come bearing anti-gun attitudes. This phenomenon is not confined to Virginia, but states such as Idaho, Texas and Arizona are witnessing an influx of Democrats, who as the critique goes, have supported policies that have made their home states uninhabitable. The receiving states would love the newcomers to leave behind, their Democratic policy preferences. I live in Virginia, and every time I see a vehicle with a northeast tag, I pray the vehicle is just passing through.

  55. Americans are Americans everywhere they go...

  56. @wichita I agree but consider this: Suppose it has been the tradition in your state/county/city/town that there is a Rock concert each Saturday in a park from 6pm to 8pm. A family from Tennessee moves in, and begins to lobby for an end to the practice. One family perhaps will not get very far, but over time, more newcomers move in and get on the ban-Rock bandwagon. Your neighbors and you would push back. Well, that is what some long-time residents of Virginia, Idaho, Texas and Arizona are doing. Perhaps being a good American is to do as the Romans do when in Rome. Also, one could choose to be a non-involved observer or choose not to go to Rome.

  57. So, I’m other words, you’re angry about democracy?

  58. “What I see is that people want to control something they’re afraid of, or they don’t understand,” said Jean Gannon, Powhatan County’s Republican Party chairwoman. Yep, just look at how the GOP legislates against women.

  59. The NRA claims to be an organization of red-blooded American hunters. In fact, as described in a recent report from the Senate Finance Committee, it has become a foreign asset of Russia. See the article on this in the New York Times in September 2019, which links to the Report: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/27/us/nra-senate-reports.html Given the Russian political strategy to create dissension in American society, we should completely discount anything coming from the NRA.

  60. Not much new. As a family of gun owners, we see nothing in the proposed legislation that will prevent a law abiding citizen from owning a gun or defending themselves. We would also suggest mandatory gun safety training for all firearms owners and purchasers.

  61. @tom - yeah, I know plenty of people who are gun owners, not "gun activists" like the guys who played dress-up at the Richmond rally, and all the normal people agree that background checks make sense, and red-flag laws save lives, and anyone who needs a rifle with an extended clip to shoot a buck isn't really a hunter.

  62. Of course the gun owners of Virginia understand that there are laws. However, the idea for 'sanctuary' areas from unpopular laws restricting gun ownership came from the liberal areas of state, where some towns announced they were 'sanctuary areas' from immigration laws. Some DAs even stated that undocumented residents who committed crimes would not be turned over to the Federal government. So some gun owners got the idea to follow that model, even though Federal and state laws aren't the same.

  63. Yes! Take the guns away! People can find another hobby! Maybe one that doesn’t kill 30,000 Americans and maim another 70,000 every year?!? How about some Karate or piano lessons??

  64. “I get that people are uncomfortable with guns, but the Constitution says I have a right to have them,” And, there is the problem: misinformation.

  65. @Anthony How again is this "misinformation"?

  66. You forget the part in the constitution about “well regulated.” The states have the right to regulate the right to bear arms.

  67. The 2nd Amendment is an individual right, not a group right. The other 9 Amendments of the Bill of Rights are individual rights. So it is with the 2nd. The Founders opposed standing armies at the outset; they favored having the individual be armed to support a well regulated militia when necessary.

  68. I just looked at the details of the new VA gun restrictions. As a gun owner myself, there is not a single one of the new restrictions which bother me one bit. They are entirely reasonable and would do nothing to prevent a sane and law abiding person from defending his or herself with a gun, or enjoying shooting as a sport. Good for Virginia.

  69. “What I see is that people want to control something they’re afraid of, or they don’t understand.” Exactly what is it about guns that we don’t understand? I understand more than 30,000 gun deaths every year. I understand that a kid like Travon Martin would still be here if not for a “neighborhood watch” vigilante with a gun. I understand that 20 first graders at Newtown were ripped apart by something called a “Bushmaster.” I understand an ever growing list of mass shootings, often carried out with assault weapons that no civilian should own. And I understand that at 22, my beautiful sister was killed by her husband of six weeks with a shotgun that he didn’t know was loaded. I understand guns perfectly well and, yes, I am afraid of them. Any sane person should be afraid of guns and what they’ve done to our society.

  70. You don't have to look TOO terribly carefully at the Powhatan district to see Gerrymandering in action. The Democrats here in Virginia (I live in Williamsburg, a bit down the line), simply turned the tables on the Republicans. Republicans carved up Richmond to dilute its power and lump large numbers of Red votes from rural areas in with the Blue votes from the cities. Then Democrats turned moderates and got out the Blue votes and took the districts away from the Republicans. Make NO mistake, to do that in a state THIS gerrymandered, to achieve even a narrow victory that Democrats have requires an absolute LANDSLIDE. Democrats did it all over the state in 2018. --- One thing urban people DO NOT understand about guns. In rural areas, EVERYONE owns them: liberals, conservatives, Democrats, Republicans, EVERYONE. Guns are properly needed to run rural life. Varmints eat chickens. Not everyone falls to the same propaganda, and not everyone fails to support good gun laws. If you are not listening to Fox Noise and the panicked doomsaying of the NRA (which is a PR machine for gun manufacturers), you DON'T think anyone is coming for your guns. No one is. That's nonsense. Virginia has--HAD--some of the weakest gun laws in the nation and that fosters gun trafficking across state lines. MANY of the illegals guns which end up in NYC come from Virginia. NYC residents should be dancing in the streets that the loopholes are closing. Weak gun laws here --> people dying in New York.

  71. The question is will Democrats hold on to it.

  72. Reasonable gun regulation - Check! Now to get rid of all these traitor monuments and remove the names of these criminals from public buildings and streets. Contrary to what the bellicose tiki brigade was chanting we can and will erase them. It’s time to make the lost cause truly lost so that Virginia can finally start to overcome its problem with passing its historically racist ideology to the next generation.

  73. To answer the question about what made folks change their mind about guns one needs to understand that it’s less about an opinion change and more about migration. Consider that there is a cost cutting policy in place to move government jobs out of very blue DC and into cheaper (for the government) rural areas. They even preserve the DC cost of living adjustment to incentivize highly educated career civil servants to make the move without taking a pay cut. This policy is a major factor in turning some areas blue that were historically bright red. Another factor is the growth of higher education institutions in small towns. That growth comes with a more educated liberal workforce that in turn grows itself through its efforts to educate. Lastly, the growth of health care and its associated workforce is having the same effect as the growth of education because it creates a need for education of locals as well as attracting highly educated newcomers. As such, you see towns and independent cities with hospitals, universities, and government jobs (like Winchester and Harrisonburg, for example) - as well as those within commuting distance of NOVA - as increasingly darker blue islands surrounded by geographically vast, but sparsely populated rural seas of historical red. As more of that farm land goes to suburbs it will get bluer yet. The folks looking for red state values will move to West Virginia.

  74. @Jason NO, the demand for more effective gun regulations is NOT tied to migration, higher education, and NOT tied to health care. The demand for quality gun regulations is tied to the relentless carnage of gun violence that dominates the news broadcasts all too frequently. People are sick and tired of gun crimes and school shootings-------------that is the overwhelming factor for this movement.

  75. If the thinking among automobile buyers in the 60s who were told they needed to have seat belts, car safety inspections, registration and insurance was the same as NRA members and some firearm owners who absurdly think than any restrictions constitute "taking their guns away," fifty some years ago they would have been protesting that the government wanted to take their cars away...

  76. @Eric T - owning a vehicle has nothing to do with a Constitutional right.

  77. ‘It’s not really about guns,’ said Don Via Jr., who describes himself as a political independent who lives in Chesterfield County. ‘It’s about a person’s intrinsic right to defend themselves from burglars — or God forbid, the government, although no one wants to see that happen.’” Burglars. “Criminals.” The eternal bogeymen invoked by the Gun Lobby to justify their insistence that no guns should be regulated in any way, ever, but it flies in the face of the glaring fact that the vast majority of Americans are not, and will never be, victims of violent crimes. No, Mr Via, this is really about something else — two somethings, in fact. For voters, it’s that guns make nameless, faceless nobodies like Mr Via feel like somebodies. Make them feel that they are in control, and that, in extreme cases, they can impose their will on others and prevent others’ will — real or imagined — being imposed on them. What it’s also about, in the political and corporate realm, is MONEY. Mr Via either does not understand, or will not admit, that the Gun Lobby, and the mainly Republican politicians it buys with campaign cash, represent the interests of gun manufacturers, not gun owners, the former buying influence to insure their absolute freedom to sell as many of their products as they can. It’s also about the personal finances of the Gun Lobby’s top officers, who’re paid millions to look after the gun-makers’ interests — money of which gun owners like Mr Via will never see a penny.

  78. I was raised in the Norfolk area and lived in Richmond for many years. Now I am in TX and see the same push back on both gun control and gun ownership. Increased gun violence is a known fact. Owning a handgun or rifle are one thing. A semiautomatic combat style gun is another. We need to be realistic about what the constitution was allowing and designed for. As a bumper sticker I saw said” what well regulated militia do you belong to?” In final, gun rights advocates from other states should stay out of VA politics. Along with gun rights, the states have rights and they should be souly dealt within the state, not the national NRA groups.

  79. The 10th Amendment assigns all other rights not constitutionally enumerated to the States & People. The 2nd Amendment is not a state’s right. It protects every citizen’s right to own firearms across all states.

  80. @Once From Rome - Thank you for providing facts rather emotion.

  81. If those in the rural parts of this state cared about education and the environment as much as they cared about their guns rural Virginia would be a much better place to live. Sadly they do not. I own a gun. But none of us need assault weapons other than our military.

  82. @Anita - yep all of rural Virginia must be illiterate. This is sad that you must denigrate people who live in rural areas. Answer this Anita - how safe is your neighborhood? Also what is the average response time for police? Now place yourself our in a rural area - how long is the response time for police? 20-30 minutes based on where a LEO may happen to be located. Residents how live in rural areas must provide their own first line of defense.

  83. @Anita Not often that this happens but I must congratulate you for saying, as a gun owner, something that makes sense. Guns OK for people, but assault weapons only for the military.

  84. The ability to buy a gun a month doesn’t sound like gun confiscation to me. Anyone who needs a gun a month is clearly dangerous. Virginia is no bellwether, trend-setting Utopia. Let’s just be honest. Gun hoarders are waiting for an excuse to open fire on people of color. Virginia’s laws will still enable the gun lovers to prepare for their “race wars.”

  85. Thank goodness for the demographic changes happening in Virginia that seem to be leading to more rational laws. Let's hope these demographic changes grow throughout the South. I won't live to see it, but I hope my kids - or if I have them, grandkids - do: Repeal and replace the second amendment with common sense laws for the 21st Century.

  86. @Greg It's not replacing the 2nd Amendment that is needed. It's having a SCOTUS that will honestly interpret what the 2nd says abut guns for the a militia (needed at the time to defend the country). The fact that today gun rights advocates always point to the use of guns to defend themselves against a would-be attacker or against a tyrannical government -- neither mentionned in that amendment -- and never to repel an invader shows the right to bear arms as it is understood today has nothing to do with the Constitution.

  87. How many people, or members of their families, who have actually been tragically victimized by gun violence are anti-gun control? We don't acturally have to walk a mile in their shoes to understand that unrestricted possession of guns - especially assault weapons - is wrong.

  88. @logic But are any of these proposed laws going to be effective or do they just make us feel better?

  89. @Andrew Terhune gotta start somewhere. Doing nothing doesn't seem to be working.

  90. These are very modest restrictions, and to oppose them is unreasonable. We make it a bit difficult to get a driver's license; safe gun use requires at least as much training and restraint as driving a car.

  91. @James and Sarah you are confusing a State privilege with a Constitutional right.

  92. I am very moderate on the issue of gun control, fully support background checks etc.… But I absolutely love the idea of sanctuary cities being extended to all kinds of causes which their originators would not approve of. Lawlessness begets lawlessness, regardless of what side of the aisle you are on. Want to protect people who are in the country illegally? Others want to protect what they want to protect too. If it’s against the law to do so, you can’t do it.

  93. @LA Realist @LA Realist Just like Rand Paul and Republicans ; Don't like a law; ignore it

  94. @Ray Sipe just like the Democrats with illegal aliens. Don't like the law; ignore it (no deportations...) sanctuary cities etc.

  95. “But the folks in the neighborhoods are worried about what happens when they walk out the door. People can walk out of their house and get an illegal gun because there are so many out there.” I'm a California gun owner. So many regulations here seem to just obstruct my abilities to buy firearms, or just make it so inconvenient. But what do these regulations do here, or proposed in Virginia, that would actually take guns out of the hands of bad actors, such as illegal guns in circulation that are untracked? Why must I, and law abiding Virginians, be punished for crimes we don't commit? Honest question.

  96. @Dale You're a gun owner. Congrats. The regulations may have been a burden, but you got the gun, yes? That criminals can get a gun illegally speaks to the availability of guns. There is technology available to track new guns, just like cars. Such technology wouldn't infringe on your ability to own a gun, just your ability to give it to someone without a background check, or to have it stolen and then used in another crime (which happens, but not as often as gun control people present). The thing is, if you need a gun for self defense, you can get one. There should be no fees from the government, processing should be paid out of tax dollars.

  97. @Dale Punishing people for murder after the fact is necessary, but it doesn’t bring victims back from the dead. Preventing gun crimes is as important as punishing people for committing them. Honest question: Why do you need to buy more than one handgun per month? Seems like a pretty modest sacrifice in exchange for making gun trafficking a little harder.

  98. @Dale If you actually have your gun, how exactly is it that you are being punished?

  99. The new laws are unlikely to have a major impact on gun ownership and use in Virginia, but it will put a stop to the illegal dealers who stock up on handguns in VA and then redistribute them in more restrictive markets along the East Coast. It’s a step in the right direction.

  100. I have to laugh at the graphic of the state Senate district. That is gerrymandering at it’s finest. Make sure the guys that are impacted by gun violence don’t have any say by including as much of rural Virginia as you can in each of those districts. It is about time some reason came to bare. I am a rich white upper middle class American, and I personally know three people that have been directly impacted by gun violence. Two are dead and one is crippled for life. How can we continue to do nothing about gun violence? Sure, I have have heard all of the pro-gun sound bites, but the undeniable number of guns and the free availability of guns is the root of the problem. Good job Virginia.

  101. Virginia gun laws are nothing new and the state has a long history that isn't this or that. In 1990 Doug Wilder, a democrat and the first African American to be elected governor, ran his campaign on two issues, the right to choose and gun control. A law was passed that limited pistol sales to one a month. At gun shows and shops, background checks were made. So some of this we have seen before. They have already plugged one hole. The Virginia tech killer had been ordered to have psychological testing. He didn't but was still able to buy a gun. That's fixed. So this is not some radical never before seen or dramatic political change. Virginia is flexible. But if they over reaches just because one party is in power, it can just as easily swing back.

  102. I grew up in rural East Texas when men had cliched guns in the windows of their cliched pickups. I’m female. My father had guns but not needing to prove his macho credentials kept them locked up somewhere unless he went hunting. Though I was given lessons In gun safety and how to shoot, I never knew where he kept the guns. He was in WW2 and knew that guns are not for funning around. He gave the guns away at some point before he was old, to his nephews. The whole gun thing sickens me. Is gun-clutching what happens when a nation carries such collective, unadmitted guilt? How many millions were in the tribes of native people we killed? How many people have ever sat and thought about the implications of having slaves brought from other countries to do your work and build your economy? Is it better for President after President to forego a viable border policy with Mexico but instead arm the border and enslave and kill children? Guns don’t hurt ghosts. We have a Huckster for a President and some of my best friends will vote for him. Shame on the Democrats for not having the courage to find a candidate to make me excited and scare the Huckster. What good are you? If I could take a slow boat to...oh, wait that’s not a good idea. That’s the kind of national mood I’m in today.

  103. I understand that many cling to gun ownership for protection, hunting, or 2nd amendment reasons. OK, but still- why can't we prevent violent criminals and others who could be dangerous? Speaking of protection, we all need protection from dangerous people, and many of them have guns. Seeing a gun in public is disturbing, but it would be nice to know the person doesn't have a history of violent crime.

  104. Every one of these laws is beyond reasonable. One gun a month? Pro-gun people think that's too much? Background checks, confiscation of guns owned by people with mental illness? Do not understand how even the NRA could oppose these limits. But "reasonable" doesn't seem to have much part in the national narrative anymore.

  105. @kathleen cairns Of of these are unreasonable. One gun a month is ok with you, how about one gun a quarter or a year. Or a how about one gun a lifetime, does that sound better to you? Background checks are already the law, so how many more background does one need. Instead of just doing a 4473 NICS check now a Universal background check too? What does that entail? What constitutes a Mental illness? If you received mental health counseling at some point in you life and own a firearm are the police going to come knocking on your door and take your property? The devil is in the details and giving up civil liberties for political talking point is a terrible idea.

  106. @F. Anthony If you haven't committed any crimes, you won't have a problem passing a background check. Four guns a year isn't an unreasonable number. One gun is a year isn't an unreasonable number; the average adult American could buy, what, 40 or 50 guns in a lifetime? Seems like plenty. The police are NOT going to take your weapon merely because you sought mental health counseling, and if you had read the legislation, you would know that. The devil is, indeed in the details. A straight-text reading of the Constitution allows only for the arming of a militia, i.e. the National Guard. Feel free to enlist. Alternatively, if you take a step back and consider the context in which the 2A was written, you would remember that in 1789 a well-trained man wielding a musket could get off, at best, 3 rounds a minute. The modern semi automatic 9-mm Glock can fire up to 150 rounds per minute. And before you whine, I've spent 18 years in the Army and done two combat tours. I've trained on the M16, M4, M9, even the MK-19. No civilian has any reason to need an assault rifle, and plenty of civilians have no business owning a weapon period because they cannot be trusted with it, as our LONG and extensive history of gun violence clearly demonstrates. We live in a country with a (mostly) professional police force, transparent court system, and a functioning government. Regulating weaponry will save lives.

  107. Things changed in VA because right minded people in Northern VA, Richmond, Hampton Roads and Newport News finally had the votes and desire to destroy the voting bloc of far right wing racists that controlled our state government for generations. We became ashamed that not only were guns sold in VA killing us but killing people all over the country.

  108. Good for Virginia! For the longest time, many of the firearms that found their way into the Northeastern cities were purchased there. Hopefully no more!

  109. @Peter True ... an unusually high number of firearms used in crimes have been traced back to the Labor Day Hillsville, Virginia VFW Gun Show and Flea Market.

  110. It's 1862 all over again. In that year, amidst the Civil War, Virginia split into two states as northerners in the Piedmont and Shenandoah Valley voted their dislike of the slave trade. Politically at least, it has happened once more as voters jettison the extreme and out-dated position of unfettered gun ownership. Slave owners, like NRA extremists, were strongly motivated by fear, that their (black) human property would rise up and smite them in the night. Curiously, to this day white supremacists and hard-core "2nd amendment" advocates share an uncommon affinity. Those voting for change are part of a new and diverse Virginia and include women who have been empowered. It's a movement of abolition, not of firearms, but of the extreme positions that, like slavery, were once found acceptable. Carry me back to old Virginny? Not.

  111. I can only hope these common sense safety measures spread across the country. To those that say..."I have the right this isn't fair!" This type of legislation does not stop you from owning a gun so don't worry you will be okay you would just have to settle for 12 new handguns a year. Also don't pose a threat to someone and your shiny new guns can stay in your hands. Be able to pass a background check, this shouldn't be a problem for a law abiding gun owner, see you still get the gun. And just to be a thoughtful and considerate person, don't bring those shiny new guns to some public spaces, they don't make a lot of people feel safe and your desire to feel safe does not superseded the rest of us. There now, for a law abiding citizen these shouldn't be so horrible, you will pass your background check, you can feel safer if someone you love is in danger and an abusive partner has their guns removed temporarily, you also won't mind waiting for that handgun, I mean what IS the hurry?

  112. People pro gun are always citing the vision of the Founding Fathers. Well my proposal would be to give gun advocates what the Founding Fathers envisioned. Each prospective gun owner would receive a musket, wadding, flint and musket balls. That is something an anti-gun advocate can get behind.

  113. To protect yourself from the Gov't seems to be a common reason in the states for owning a gun. My question is which Gov't department or agency and under what circumstances could you see yourself having to use a gun to defend yourself ?

  114. “What I see is that people want to control something they’re afraid of, or they don’t understand,” said Jean Gannon, Powhatan County’s Republican Party chairwoman. “This is just the beginning because the ultimate goal is to take guns from people.” This is such baloney. I'm not afraid of guns. There's more than one in my home. The fear belongs to those who don't understand that their rights - even their gun rights - are not unlimited. Jean Gannon is the one who's afraid, not people who are demanding reasonable limits and background checks on gun purchases.

  115. I was a victim of an assault and armed robbery last year in Atlanta, as I was walking to my car in a mid town parking garage. Had I been armed, I would not have been able to respond fast enough, since the perpetrator was waiting for me, hidden behind a support column. Still, I would not prefer to be disarmed to protect my home and family. It can happen to you....do you want to wait on law enforcement to save you?