Northam’s July 9 Gun Control ‘Wish List’ Smoke and Mirrors?

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has a gun control wish list he is pushing in response to the Virginia Beach tragedy. (Screen Snip, YouTube)

U.S.A.-(Ammoland.com)- When Virginia lawmakers convene a special legislative session Tuesday to consider Democrat Gov. Ralph Northam’s gun control wish list in response to the May 31 mass shooting at Virginia Beach that claimed a dozen lives, they will have to consider what Northam admitted to a bunch of high school students June 21.

According to the Roanoke Times, “Northam conceded that his proposals wouldn’t have necessarily prevented the Virginia Beach shooting.” But, he claimed at the time they might have helped.

So might have a difference in the law and a city policy that would have allowed Virginia Beach public employees, including the late Kate Nixon, to have been armed. They might have had a chance to fight back against their killer, DeWayne Craddock.

Instead, Northam is proposing a veritable buffet of gun control restrictions that have little relation to the mass shooting, but everything to do with advancing the governor’s anti-gun-rights agenda.

According to the Washington Post and other news agencies, Northam wants:

  • A ban on so-called assault weapons, although the killer used two handguns;
  • Universal background checks, even though the gunman passed background checks when he legally purchased both pistols, and an even lengthier check when he bought a suppressor (a.k.a. “silencer”);
  • Reinstatement of the one-handgun-a-month law, even though Craddock bought his handguns about two years apart, the most recent of which was purchased last year;
  • Mandatory reporting of lost or stolen firearms to police, although neither of Craddock’s pistols was stolen;
  • Extreme risk protection orders allowing police or a judge to issue an order if a gun owner is deemed to present a threat to himself/herself or others, although it’s not clear that any such complaint was ever lodged against Craddock;
  • Felony punishment for leaving unsecured firearms where they are accessible to children, and raising the age to which this applies from 14 to 18, even though the mass shooting did not involve children of any age.

It’s smoke and mirrors, or perhaps more appropriately, “bait and switch,” some critics have suggested.

Shortly after Northam revealed his gun control agenda, Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, called the governor out, demanding, “So tell us, Ralph, just what part of your extremist gun control wish list do you think would have prevented what happened in Virginia Beach?

“Northam has dusted off the same ragged old gun prohibition agenda that has been proposed by other anti-rights politicians in the past and rejected time after time,” Gottlieb added. “None of the things he wants would have made even the slightest difference, and he knows it.”

According to the Washington Post, Republican lawmakers say Northam is “playing politics with the tragedy, with an eye on elections this fall for all 140 seats in the legislature. The GOP has thin majorities in both houses, and Democrats hope to change the balance of power.”

During a July 2 public meeting in Virginia Beach, Philip Van Cleave, president of the Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL) told the audience that Northam’s schemes would not have made a difference May 31, according to WCVE News.

“It would have done nothing if you think about the crime in Virginia Beach,” Van Cleave observed. “The guy bought two guns through a dealer so he went through background checks.”

National Rifle Association spokesperson Catherine Mortensen called Northam’s special session “a political stunt,” the report added.

Northam’s gun control proposals will face tough sledding in the Republican-controlled General Assembly. Republicans have suggested alternative proposals that focus on mental health, rather than eroding rights of law-abiding citizens who had nothing to do with the crime.

The Roanoke Times reported that a survey taken last year showed 54 percent of Virginia voters “say it’s more important to control who owns guns than to protect gun ownership rights.”
“Democrats are more favorable to gun control, while Republicans favor gun rights,” the newspaper observed.

Last year’s survey also showed 84 percent voter support for background checks for all gun sales, and the Virginia Beach killer cleared background checks, so the point may seem moot.

Sixty-five percent of the survey respondents wanted to ban so-called “assault-style weapons,” although there may be only one state where such a weapon is defined, and it includes all self-loading rifles, even .22-caliber rimfires, which are used by hordes of sportsmen and women of all ages for small game hunting and recreational shooting.

Whatever emerges from the Virginia special session, one thing will remain abundantly clear. Gun control proponents, including Northam, are willing to exploit every tragedy to advance their agenda, according to Second Amendment activists.

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About Dave Workman

Dave Workman

Dave Workman is a senior editor at TheGunMag.com and Liberty Park Press, author of multiple books on the Right to Keep & Bear Arms and formerly an NRA-certified firearms instructor.