Assault firearms and certain firearm magazines; prohibiting sale, transport, etc., penalties. (SB16)

Introduced By

Sen. Dick Saslaw (D-Springfield)

Progress

Introduced
Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law

Description

Prohibiting sale, transport, etc., of assault firearms and certain firearm magazines; penalties. Expands the definition of "assault firearm" and prohibits any person from importing, selling, transferring, manufacturing, purchasing, possessing, or transporting an assault firearm. A violation is a Class 6 felony. The bill prohibits a dealer from selling, renting, trading, or transferring from his inventory an assault firearm to any person. The bill also prohibits a person from carrying a shotgun with a magazine that will hold more than seven rounds of the longest ammunition for which it is chambered in a public place; under existing law, this prohibition applies only in certain localities. The bill makes it a Class 1 misdemeanor to import, sell, barter, or transfer any firearm magazine designed to hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition. Read the Bill »

Status

11/18/2019: Awaiting a Vote in the Judiciary Committee

History

DateAction
11/18/2019Referred to Committee for Courts of Justice
11/18/2019Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/08/20 20100507D
11/18/2019Referred to Committee on the Judiciary
11/19/2019Impact statement from VCSC (SB16)
01/08/2020Moved from Courts of Justice to Judiciary due to a change of the committee name
01/13/2020Stricken at the request of Patron in Judiciary (9-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)

Comments

Eladio writes:

This bill needs to be modified or voted down. I urge Sen. Saslaw and everyone else in the General Assembly to re-think before voting on this topic. Passing this bill as is would make felons out of thousands of Virginians. Most handguns and handgun magazines currently being sold and the thousands already in possession of law-abiding Virginians, hold more than 10 rounds, in most cases holding an average of 12-17 rounds. Moreover, it would also make the thousands of AR-type of rifles already owned by responsible and law-abiding Virginians, illegal. Thousands of Virginians use this type of rifle to hunt, to shoot at the range, and in some cases, to compete. I don't even see a grandfathering provision anywhere. I respectfully request of the Virginia General Assembly to either not pass this bill or to modify the same so as not to punish all the responsible and good-intentioned gun-owners in the state. Thank you.

Alfred Dodson jr writes:

This bill is beyond unconstitutional, it is Tyranny. Turgood Marshall, Associate Justice of the
United States Supreme Court, Oct.1969-Oct.1991 once said and I quote "The Constitution does prohibit the legislatures from enacting stupid laws.

Alfred Dodson jr writes:

SB16 is also poorly written. I can not find any legal definition of "a fixed magazine" in this bill. Is it the same definition that California uses or is it something different? In my opinion if you can't define it, then it is "vague". If it is vague it is unenforceable.

Alfred Dodson jr writes:

According to this bill if you own a firearm that is not an "assault firearm" but it has a "feature" on it that is listed under the features of an "assault firearm" then that feature is an "assault firearm". Example: If you own a bolt action rifle with a pistol grip and that pistol grip will fit on an "assault firearm" then that pistol grip becomes an "assault firearm". This is utterly ridiculous!

JoAnne Norton writes:

I commend Senator Saslaw in submitting this bill. We have a gun epidemic in this country. I suggest if people are still using AR whatever to shoot for fun and competition to do something else. The whole gun culture is not good for our present civilization.

Randy Gutenberg writes:

JoAnne Norton is on to something. First, the tens of millions of responsible, law-abiding citizens who own an AR whatever are clearly responsible for the seven instances of that weapon being used to commit mass murder. The overwhelming majority of murders involving a gun are committed with handguns, but there’s no push to outlaw the possession of handguns. Why isn’t Senator Saslaw proposing a bill to outlaw handguns? Furthermore, why are law enforcement officers exempt from the prohibition on assault weapons? If assault firearms exist for the sole purpose of killing as many people as quickly as possible, what possible use are such weapons to law enforcement officers?

Second, since the “whole gun culture is not good for our present civilization,” I would like to take this idea further. People who make public statements condemning a particular culture without any specific knowledge of that culture are even worse for our present civilization. These dangerous individuals should be removed from our communities.

Ralph Spangler writes:

This bill as already stated will immediately make felons of law abiding citizens. Since it directly targeted at a specific class of people it is illegal. Also, it is intended to do harm to this class of people as committing a felony has to be reported in certain type of work, especially with the federal government. This self-reporting would result in the loss of the ability to provide for themselves and their families, putting them in financial jeopardy, prevent them from obtaining comparable work and pay resulting in continued loss. Those who have the means would be forced to leave VA if they want to keep their firearms. Those that can afford to store their firearms in a friendly state would have continuing incurred cost. Confiscation, or turn in, would be the state seizing personal property with out compensation, which is illegal. Lastly, the possible criminal charges and subsequent imprisonments for those who are turned in resulting in continued loss.

This bill is fiscally irresponsible. Using a conservative number of 10000 assault rifles in VA and the minimum of $50000 per year for incarcerating would put a burden of $500000000 on the state. This does not include legal and processing fees. Also, facilities do not exist to house even a fraction, so more beds would need to added, that is, more prisons and more $. Even if only a fraction of the 10000 are inprisoned, that burden on the tax payers of VA would result in higher taxes.

Regarding the militia of VA, ALL PEOPLE (male and female) 16 TO 55 years of age who legally reside in VA are members of the unorganized militia. The militia may be called up at the description of the governor at any time (read the VA Constitution and subsequent laws). In the event the militia is called to defend the state, how will it do so with out the weapons that are comparable or superior to the enemy? This is the purpose of the right to keep and bear arms, to provide for the common defense. If the people cannot have the firearms themselves, then the state must have sufficient weapons to arm its citizens when called to defend.

To combat these types of ill-conceived, targeted, draconian, communistic actions, multiple actions can be taken and should. Class action lawsuit against the state of VA and Sen. Saslow, civil lawsuit, criminal charges against Sen. Saslow due to the specific targeting of a class of people, conspiracy to do harm to said class, Remove from office those that support this type of bill through the ballot. Inform the ignorant that think guns are the problem. Go on the offensive.

JoAnne Norton writes:

Mr. Gutenberg, I know the gun culture. I know of a policeman who is a relative that wanted to "carry" after the Connecticut massacre. With a three year old bouncing in and out of his arms all the time. His brother is committed to allowing firearms. His father has an old corroded pistol. We never had guns in our house except "his father" while a youngster got a beebee gun and shot a kid in the eye. The eye was saved. So the whole group in this family gets together and think and do guns all the time. THe new brother-in-law has one of those AK something and all he did was it was to pose his wife on Facebook apparently shooting it. They now have a 2 year old and I hope the mother has taken the pistol out of her pocketbook.

I know them. A neighbor of mine and her husband were gunned down last year by a young man in their house with one of the AK's. He had mental problems and his mother encouraged him. Two kids are without parents. The woman killed was not the mother of the killer.

I know guns along with 100 to 400 people who go to gun protests. The thing that drives them is the pain of that lost friend, lost relative, lost person or who has witnessed the guns going off.

Randy Gutenberg writes:

Ms. Norton, I would argue that you clearly do not know the “gun culture.” What you describe are irresponsible people who have guns, and the bill proposed by Senator Saslaw does not address the situations you described. It only criminalizes me, and others like me, because we own something that looks scary to some. This bill says nothing about irresponsible behavior or criminal activity involving guns. The proposed bill makes illegal certain features of a gun, not the guns themselves. The individuals you described in your gun culture knowledge demonstration would continue to have access to the very same firearms, except in the case of the AK, they would have to remove features that make that particular gun more accurate and controllable. It sounds to me like you wouldn’t want these gun culture people you know so well to be using guns that are difficult to fire accurately. I would like to invite you, Ms. Norton, and any of your friends and family, to spend time with the real, responsible, and overwhelming majority of gun owners I know in Virginia so that you might see that we are not a bunch of bloodthirsty psychopaths who let babies play with pistols.

P. Rose writes:

I see all these comments about guns killing people and it makes me sick, you bunch of hypocrites, let's talk about the comparison of gun deaths to the deaths of innocent babies ripped out of the womb. I put my last dollar on it that while 12 people was being killed in City Hall, that on the next block their was 50 innocent children killed in a doctor's office everyday. So don't act like you are concerned for anybody's safety. You need to get your priorities straight before you come to take my weapons. Your laws will do nothing but take a law abiding citizens right to protect their self away. Do you really think that someone torn on commiting a crime cares about your laws? Really come on people wake up.

Adam writes:

This bill is out right ridiculous and is going to tear Virginia and this Country apart. Jamming the good guys up is NOT okay.

Jessie Cartlidge writes:

There is nothing in this bill that will provide any safety above what we currently have. It will in fact and has to some extent create a hostile atmosphere between law abiding citizens and their government. This is a dangerous and reckless action that can be avoided. Please reconsider moving ahead with this bill fir the good of all. Please adopt some bill that deals with the real issue of existing criminals... not trying to create more out if current law abiding citizens by legislating their rightful owned property to be illegal. Not to mention of violating the Bill of Rights Amendments 1,2,4 and 5. This is unreasonable and unconstitutional.
Thank you
Jwc

Seth Hower writes:

Our founding fathers we clear when they wrote this.... “The right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall NOT be in fringed”. There are MANY law abiding citizens that own firearms that have never even as much as thought about committing a crime or let alone actually committed one. If this right is lost, it will not be long till we lose the rest of our rights. All of the anti firearm bills being introduced need to be voted down before we turn into communist Germany.

Corey writes:

Let’s be honest about what this really is. This is not being done in the name of public safety as there are less than a dozen violent deaths a year in VA by folks using the guns largely being targeted by this legislation. Most violent gun deaths are suicide with a handgun and banning the tool will only have them reaching for the next tool. This legislation makes all offenses charged as a felony, not misdemeanor. Felons can’t purchase a gun, and most importantly, they can’t vote. If you want to save lives, fix the interstates, halt legal abortions, address mental health and the opioid epidemic. Your success will have better results than banning guns that pale in comparison to the deaths of the others listed in VA. Of course those things aren’t hinged on taking over the voter base and aren’t getting out of state funding from Bloomberg. They also aren’t in violation of our constitutional rights like the proposed SB16 as well as many others being proposed.

Ssamuel Davcis writes:

The 2nd Amendment shall not be infringed! This bill has nothing to do with the democrats having any concern for public safety. If they were truly worried about the public's safety they would be doing something to address the opioid epidemic the has gripped our entire state by doing something more than issuing narcan to the state troopers to give out for overdoses. Distracted driving is another area they could concern themselves with as well.

Targeting law-biding gun owners who already have to pass a background check before purchasing a firearm is a farce! This bill is just thew start of the socialist democrat agenda to strip us of our constitutional rights and turn our once proud country into another socialist cesspool. These bill must be defeated.

Michael Messenger’ writes:

This bill does one thing, it transfers responsibility for heinous acts upon the lawful citizen. It burdens the people of VA with paying for the actions of criminals. It is designed to suppress a citizens rightful and lawful expression of their constitutional right.

Rifles of any kind are not the culprit in violence. Knives and blunt instruments cause far more murder in VA and nationwide; however, laws can’t be made to limit them (yet). AWBs specifically call out modern rifles to enact a gray area of the Heller decision which allows “reasonable,” restrictions.

However, these restrictions are unreasonable because facts show they are not the problem. Since Heller protects “common arms,” each new gun control bill pushes the limit farther on what localities are defining as common arms.

This bill will do nothing to stop crime. It’s not meant to. It’s meant to infringe on your right so, when more murder is committed with other firearms, more gun control laws and infringement can be pushed on citizens.

Do not pass this bill. VA citizens have already shown that we are tired of the infringement. Government arbitrarily shoving a bad law down the throats of citizens with no factual backup is proving that he GA doesn’t care about consent of the people to govern,

Matthew writes:

You will make anyone that owns a gun in VA a felon over night with your ridiculous laws. Handguns come with standard capacity. You are trying to limit that capacity to appease yourself. There is no difference between a handgun having 10 rds or having 14 rds. You want to be like California? Move to California then. This is Virginia and we will not stand for unconstitutional laws. If you pass this, it will be tied up in courts until deemed unconstitutional.

Kyle writes:

Y'all dumb motherf***ers are really trying to do this civil war thing, aren't you? Just keep in mind who has all the guns and man power. I'll give you a clue, it's we the people. Do as you will, the time for talking is over.

justin nash writes:

This is one of the most ridiculous bills I have ever read. The Supreme Court has already ruled that firearms in common use are protected by the U.S Constitution. Semi-Auto rifles are the most popular rifles in the U.S. Please note that there was only 14 firearm death last year in VA done by all rifles, single shot, bolt action, and semi-autos. I am also curious how a flash suppressor makes a firearm more dangerous? Also out of all mass shootings in VA, only one was done with a semi-auto rifle, done by a man who came from out of state and attacked players on a baseball field. How would this law stop a crazed individual from out of state from coming here? Since there was only 14 deaths due to all rifles last year, this bill is nothing but an tempt to target law abiding citizens. I urge all members to please VOTE NO on this all legislation that violates a citizen's constitutional rights!

Steve writes:

This bill infringes on the rights provided to us under the US and Virginia Constitutions, and needs to totally be scrapped. Nothing in to is bill would prevent any mass killing in the US, and makes felons out of law abiding citizens. The Democrats backing this bill are just following the bidding of the party. They really don’t understand the violence that will ensue if this gets passed nor are Democrats the type of people willing to withstand the violence it will cause in the commonwealth. Mark Herring, Ralph Northam and the Democrats in Richmond are just providing a bunch of lip service because unless they think they are going to be the ones collecting these firearms i don’t see it happening. I have spoken with dozens of members in law enforcement and clearly the AG doesn’t speak for them because it’s clear this law won’t be enforced. Stoping taking Bloomberg’s money and go to work for Virginia.

Mike writes:

Flawed legislation that attacks the rights of law abiding citizens, but does absolutely nothing to improve public safety. This ridiculous and nonsensical proposal only exists for two reasons:
1.) To pay back Michael Bloomberg for the $2 million he used to buy the recent elections.
2.) To punish the people that Democrats think don't vote right.

It's unconstitutional, but Democrats will ram it through knowing their puppet judges will rubber stamp anything they vote on.

Anyone that cares about preserving liberty should oppose this legislation.

Rob writes:

There is a lot that could be said about this bill but the most straight forward succinct comment I can make is https://law.lis.virginia.gov/constitution/article1/section13/?fbclid=IwAR02dmrLh_Yg4tQ_RQoYf0CRMNTiJJzjaOBcOODSSNte77FWw3czn62nwqc

Just leave us alone. We are law abiding moral people who keep being targeted for the immoral actions of others. Focus on the immoral and let the moral live freely.

Matt davis writes:

This bill does nothing but make law abiding citizens felons overnight. Democrats know a majority of conservatives own guns, and the quickest way to eliminate their voting base is to make them felons. This bill is based on fear mongering and the ridiculous belief that this will stop criminals. This will do nothing to curb gun violence.

James mcconnell writes:

Good afternoon senator. I'm writing this email to you to ask you to consider what you do with Senate Bill 16. This bill prevents law-abiding citizens from legally obtaining and owning a firearm. None of the people that this bill will affect have committed crimes with the firearms that they own. restricting the magazines or the type of weapon does nothing to prevent gun violence. strengthening the laws against criminals and doing more to take illegal guns off the streets would help with gun violence far more than banning people who legally own firearms. I urge you to reconsider when filing this motion in the Senate. while I am a legal gun owner I am also a proponent for stricter background checks and do support taking illegal guns off the streets thank you. Sincerely, James McConnell

Christopher Hewitt writes:

Completely against any further gun control measures in Virginia or any State for that matter. This is about control and power, not safety. If it was about safety they would ban hand guns, as noted above are used in far more homicide and suicide. The Government is trying to make unavailable the best weapons (ARs,AKs,etc) that we the people need to keep the tyrannical Government in check. They will start with high capacity rifles and when that does not improve numbers they will come after handguns. The Gov. must be stopped now.

"Disarm us they will try, fail they will."--Yoda

Keith Greene writes:

This proposal should not even be considered in committee. It does NOTHING to ensure safety. It does NOTHING to ensure the reduction or eliminate the access of firearms to criminals. It does NOTHING to reduce crime in Virginia. It ONLY renders law abiding citizens with less means to protect themselves. The proposal in itself is absurd at best and offers NOTHING for the betterment of Virginia and its citizens. I sincerely hope these (among many other) reasons are considered by the committee.

Brian writes:

This bill simply stated is unconstitutional
To further push this bill any politician would be breaking their oath of office
It is impossible for a law which violates the constitution to be valid

"All laws which are repugnant to the constitution are null and void"
Marbury vs Madison

Amy writes:

Leave the law abiding citizens alone. Why don’t you take guns away from the criminals instead? You can’t because the criminals are going to be the only ones left that have them. Also, how about you create some opioid bills..... or heroine bills.... those are the real killers. Law abiding citizens and their guns are not the issue. This is unconstitutional and is an act of tyranny.

Jonathan Lareau writes:

In the course of my work I have deployed to Afghanistan, Haiti, and many other other locales, working along side the men and women of our armed forces and the intelligence services. Men and Women that swore an oath to defend and uphold our constitution against all adversaries, both foreign and domestic.  As an unarmed civilian on these deployments I was required to be trained to use the weapons common to both US servicemen, and our adversaries so that I could pick up a weapon and use it as a last resort to defend myself or my countrymen if necessary.  Years ago, my team and I were also “outed” to the drug cartels, and so I have been a quiet second amendment advocate and Virginia concealed carry permit holder for some time now.  

I can no longer stay quiet.

I’m not a politician. I’m not a lobbyist.  I’m not an extremist.   I do a fireworks show every Fourth of July for my neighbors in the cul de sac. I give out full size candy bars and have a display of dancing ghosts in my garage every Halloween. I buy and eat waaaay too many Girl Scout cookies and Boy Scout popcorn packs than I should.  I’m your neighbor ... and I am extremely worried. 

The second amendment to the US constitution, and article 1, section 13 of the VA constitution affirm the natural and inalienable right of all to protect themselves with arms.  They ALSO affirm and codify the interest of the nation state in in having the common citizens be familiar and proficient with the armaments that a general soldier would be required to use in the case that militias need to be called up from the general populace (i.e. a draft).  (The VA constitution considers all able bodies citizens between 18 and 55 to be members of the unorganized militia.)  These articles are NOT an enumeration of the rights given to the people by government, but they enumerate RESTRICTIONS on the actions that government is allowed to take with respect to its citizens.  And they both very clearly state that the right to bare arms “SHALL. NOT. BE. INFRINGED.”

"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." - US Constitution

"That a well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the proper, natural, and safe defense of a free state, therefore, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; …" - VA Constitution

The (over 20 by my last count) firearms bills proposed by the incoming legislators are flagrantly unconstitutional in that regard.  They flip the concept of due process and the presumption of innocence on its head.  They will cause countless numbers of Virginians to become felons almost overnight. They will have little impact in reducing crime rates, or deterring criminals.  They will incur dramatic consequences to our economy, businesses and employment in our communities. Federal contractors like myself will be forced into a no-win scenario with regard to keeping their clearances, and consequently their livelihoods if these bills come to pass. 

Proposed firearms bills that are problematic on constitutional grounds (as of the date of this writing) are listed below.  I have read through each of these bills in their entirety, and each one has obvious issues with constitutionality.
HB 1, 2, 9, 78,142
SB 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 18, 22, 35, 51, 64, 67, 69, 70, 71, 75

These bills need to be scrapped completely as they unconstitutionally deprive law abiding citizens of their constitutional rights.  Such deprivation of rights under the color of law is also punishable under Title 18 U.S.C. Section 242.

There have been somewhere in the ballpark of 75,000-100,000 of your constituents that have flooded local and county board meetings in the last month (based on my count of local reporting and crowd estimates), with over 75% of VA counties passing some form of "2A Sanctuary" or "Constitutional County" measures in opposition to these proposed bills.  A large number of those in attendance were either openly or discretely carrying what will soon be qualified as "assault firearms" (by SB16, etc) at these meetings.  No one was shot, injured or was threatened or brandished at any of these events.  Guns are not the problem.

"Military Style Rifles" are being used as a boogeyman to scare up support for these unconstitutional bills when the reality is that homicides by ANY type of rifle make up only 2.12% of all homicides in the US as per the CDC 2018 statistics (attached link)

From the same dataset it can be seen that localities that have passed the most draconian gun control measures to date (which are still under legal challenge) do not show any correlated reductions in gun related homicides. 

To put it simply.  Gun control just doesn't work.  Consider how neighboring MD, which has some of the strictest gun control measures in place today, has a per capita homicide rate of 7.79 per 100K, far greater than Virginia's 4.87 per 100K.

In summary: The law abiding citizens of the state of VA have an inalienable constitutional right to keep and bear arms.  The proposed laws infringe on that right, and the right of due process, the presumption of innocence, and the freedom to assemble. They will also likely be ineffective, difficult to enforce, and have derivative economic and hardship impacts.

To close I leave you with a few quotes from our founding Fathers:

"The laws that forbid the carrying of arms are laws of such a nature. They disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes.... Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man."
- Thomas Jefferson, Commonplace Book (quoting 18th century criminologist Cesare Beccaria), 1774-1776

“They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
- Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759

"To disarm the people...[i]s the most effectual way to enslave them."
- George Mason, referencing advice given to the British Parliament by Pennsylvania governor Sir William Keith, The Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution, June 14, 1788

"I ask who are the militia? They consist now of the whole people, except a few public officers."
- George Mason, Address to the Virginia Ratifying Convention, June 4, 1788

"Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed, as they are in almost every country in Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops."
- Noah Webster, An Examination of the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution, October 10, 1787

Thank you for your time and consideration.

George writes:

We have an underage drinking problem, prohibition of alcohol under age 21 has done nothing to curb the problem. We have a drug problem, prohibition of drugs has done nothing to curb it. So why does anyone believe gun restructions will do anything to curb the criminals from using firearms

Hunt McMahon writes:

The truth is that we don't have a gun problem in VA. In fact juts last October APNews reported that Virginia was the 4th safest state in the country.

Just leave us alone. The crime is in your cities.

You've kicked a hornets nest with this one.

Christopher Rohland writes:

This bill needs to be voted down. Virginia doesnt have a high capacity magazine or an accessory problem. We have a murder problem. As we saw in Charlottesville it doesnt require a gun to kill people. Many people kill our citizens daily and the government hasn't outlawed alcohol. It is time to stop passing laws as solution in search of a problem that does not exist. I do not support this bill and neither should the VA congress.

Stephen maro writes:

How can you make possession, sale, transfer, AND transport ALL illegal!?! If I can't own it, can't sell it, can't transfer it, and can't transport it, how do I get rid ofthe now illegal item?! I guess you're going to go door to door collecting them?!

Brandon Parker writes:

Unconstitutional bills! We will not comply!

Nicholas Frederickson writes:

I am strongly opposed to any new gun control laws.

If you truly want to improve gun safety, require metal detectors, gun checks, and armed security at every entrance to every gun free zone. Then hold the owners of the gun free zone fully liable for any damages caused by guns in that zone. There's a bipartisan bill that'll actually save lives.

I am watching carefully and Virginia will lose my tax dollars if they pass anything remotely objectionable.

patrick shipley writes:

This is a horrible bill and it's not needed or wanted.

Man Choi writes:

Shall not be infringed. This law as others have stated does absolutely nothing to curb gun violence. Guns are tools and can be used to save lives and take lives. The person using the tool is the decision maker and holds all responsibility to their actions.

My mother owned a grocery store in DC and was robbed at gunpoint 4 separate times. This resulted in her chef being stabbed twice, her losing over $30k in lottery funds that were uninsured because the area was too dangerous to insure, my mother being dragged out at gun point before she sold the store.

This was her livelihood being a single mother trying to support her 3 children. The day she was dragged out with a shotgun in her face, the chef was armed and confront the 3 robbers. I believe that had it not been for him having 2 pistols pointed at them, they would have shot my mother before jumping in the getaway car.

Guess what? Police showed up the next day. They wanted to make sure the coast was clear and their averaged response time in the late 80s and early 90s during the meth epidemic in DC were next day or never. Police were afraid or refused to respond.

I will not stand stand idle to allow this to happen to any others without a fighting chance to even the playing field. This bill and all others only make more victims but I guess that is your intention if you want all the power. Your party fools no one and we as Americans will stand together in support of our constitutional rights.

Bill_2011 writes:

Dear Legislators,

As stated above, this SB16 is pointless as it only penalizes law abiding Virginians. I feel bills like these are due to the recent election, and demonstrate our new representatives are power hungry and want to further maintain control through disarmament of the citizenry. For the sake of all Virginians, Please do not support any gun control bills.

Adam Burner writes:

The term assault rifle is flung around loosely. Have you ever actually tried to buy a real “assault” rifle? Class 3 license for a fully automatic rifle along with very extensive background check and around a 12 month waiting period. People who actually do not know anything about guns should just stay quiet. If you don’t like them or don’t know enough about them don’t buy them. I would rather not have someone that is clearly ignorant about firearms not have one. I am against this bill, I have been around them ever since I was 8 I am a responsible gun owner that is trained and able to posses a firearm properly. If you keep infringing on our rights, what’s next? Loss of freedom of speech due to not being able to stand up and say no? No due process? Where does it stop? It needs to stop here. Don’t punish the good citizens for what evil has corrupted and destroyed. Good people exist and we don’t deserve to be punished for crimes we do not commit.

Bernie Schoch writes:

This bill is deceitful in that Military Assault weapons are already banned. They are attaching the word 'Military Assault Rifle' to firearms that aren't used by any military in the world so they are simply not Military Assault Rifles period. Either the proposer is extremely ignorant are they are deliberately trying to fool the public. Either it is very wrong.

Sean Kennedy writes:

Laws do not stop crime, this law will not stop crime either. The only thing laws do is establish punishments after your caught, likewise this law will punish citizens for what? Being in possession of something the people writing the laws know nothing about. None of you writing these laws are gun owners, you’re not shooters, you’ve never gotten a conceal handgun permit, you’ve never taken a safety class or a carry class. You all are completely ignorant on the topic and the language of this bill shows that ignorance. All you are looking to do is punish citizens, which is suspect.

Cy writes:

This is a violation of human rights and the constitution of the states. It also victimizes minorities as it takes away their right and the right of their fellow citizens from protecting themselves from Democide.

Jennifer L writes:

For some reason, Democrats have decided to declare a war on guns, and this bill also lays the groundwork for a war against law abiding gun owners. This bill has no real measures to increase public safety. In fact, Virginia is a state with one of the lowest rates of gun violence. Continually changing the definition of “assault rifle” to eventually pare down the meaning to “assault weapons” to “any and all guns” is what this bill appears to be the start of. A true assault rifle is not a gun any member of the general public can purchase. The background checks for those are extensive, the waiting time long and the licensure for them is restrictive. Anyone purchasing a true assault rifle to harm others is not a run of the mill criminal and definitely not the average law abiding gun owner. I see provisions have been made for political officials, their guards and the police here. If you’re going to begin to disarm those who are not committing any crimes, you better start disarming yourselves. This is exactly why our founding fathers wrote our Right to Bear Arms into the Constitution. Maybe you should read it sometime.

Joseph Schmidt writes:

Here is the most important number to consider when thinking of legislation that would affect the availability of guns: an estimated 500,000 to 3,000,000 defensive gun uses per year, nationwide. This bill would seek to make possession of the most common (and easy to carry/use) guns a felony. Aside from being prima facie unconstitutional (Virginia Constitution, article 1 section 13, US Constitution 2nd Amendment), this law is also in violation of DC V. Heller, which held that weapons that are in common use can not be banned.

Bill Howard writes:

This bill is based on the premise of what a person might do rather than what they actually have done. Further, there is no problem to solve. Crimes with rifles are rare and VA has one of the lowest crime rates of all the states. Finally, it's a clear violation of our own Constitution which is even more clear than the U.S. Constitution. The label "assault" is a technical fiction and a fabrication of those who wish to subjugate law abiding citizens as we witnessed in Venezuela. Clearly the number of sanctuary resolutions sends a message about the acceptance of this kind of legislation. This bill should be voted down.

John writes:

Any new gun restriction law will do nothing but limit law abiding citizens to defend themselves. Criminals do not follow laws therefore any new law will not stop any criminal. But maybe that is the plan; to disarm the law abiding citizenry so that criminals can do as they please. Or maybe Democrats are so stupid they don’t see this.

Hugh Mann writes:

The right to keep and bear arms is a natural, inalienable human right that transcends any human government or collective. It is an individual right that can only be forfeited by an individual for themself through their own actions. The US Govt does not grant, rather it enshrines this human right into our Constitution in order to put on notice every wicked politician or organization that seeks to infringe this right.

"Shall not be infringed"

We already must abolish un-Constitutional "laws" and policies and organizations (e.g. BATFE); we must NOT pass more un-Constitutional tripe.

Jared writes:

Joanne is clearly a brainwashed sheeple.

1. “ this society” wouldn’t exist if everyday citizens were not gun owners.

2. LESS THAN ONE PERCENT of firearm deaths are by rifles OF ANY KIND. Letting politicians convince you into thinking ar-15s are the devil and somehow responsible for all of the gun deaths in this country, is moronic, at best. This legislation is aimed nowhere near stopping gun crime, and instead, directly at disarming America. Every tyrannical form of government started shortly after forcing citizens to disarm or register their weapons, who then use that list to disarm society. 65 million people in the last hundred years have been killed by their own government after being convinced to disarm in the name of peace. How far do you think it would be to replace the word “Jew” with “ republican”?? ( not hard at all).

3. With the absolute circus and clown show happening in DC, and the newly elected liberal government in Virginia… Now, if any, is a time to have more guns. These bought and paid for politicians want to turn America into a socialist nation. There is a blatant consistency between immigrants that come to America… They all say one thing “ never give up your guns”.

This legislation proposed by our racist, moron of a governor, and friends, is not aimed at stopping gun crime… They know that by taking A.R. 15‘s and AK-47s off of the street… Weapons that are responsible for almost none of the firearm deaths every year, will do literally nothing to stop gun crime. Giving them an easy way to convince brainwashed liberal‘s that we need to remove other guns (since liberals are brainwashed sheeple, don’t do their homework, don’t believe in “facts”, and hate America).

We all kindly invite you to WAKE TF UP

Jared writes:

Saslaws “partisanship meter” ( click his name) is close to middle of the road... someone needs to move the B all the way to the left. What an absolute garbage politician. Sad to say that this POS is a citizen of this state and country… It is brainwashed, morons like him that are exactly the problem with America today.

Rick writes:

These bills are about one thing: control.

If they were about suicide prevention then why do physical characteristics of a firearm matter. Why do they even target firearms. Japan has one of the highest if not the highest per capita suicide rates and firearms are virtually non-existent among the populace.

One gun a month: what does that solve? Nothing. Criminals do not and will not care about OGAM.

Universal Background Checks: we’ve had background checks on every FFL gun purchase (even in gun shows) since 1968. UBC means that I cannot Liam my friend a gun without going thru a background check both ways. It’s purely to create a registration database which will lead to confiscation. Show me a country in any time period that has had registration where it did not lead to confiscations.

These laws will only affect law abiding citizens and will do zero to prevent mass shootings, suicides, or anything else the leftists claim this is for.

Gun control is about CONTROL! Control of you and me.

Rick writes:

Red Flag Laws: these will be used as weapons by those that oppose free thought and liberty. They put citizens and law enforcement at risk. The State is supposed to punish those that HAVE broken the law, not those that MIGHT break the law. All of us are capable of breaking the law but we are all innocent until proven that we have broken the law. Red flag laws mean we have to prove our innocence after being accused. It doesn’t work that way in our jurisprudence. Proof lies with he who asserts, not with he who denies.

Roger Barnett writes:

The new democrats are sold out to the highest out-of-state bidders. Nothing but graft, lies, and theft! The dem party is little more than a collective of wanna-be dictators who love true criminals and hate citizens! Do not make criminals out of citizens just because Northcorrupt and you all took money from Bloomberg and Soros! Control the darn criminals who use guns to commit crimes - use death penalty for mass murder, use it for any use of firearm in a murder! Control the criminals or execute the one who murder!

Greg writes:

Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just power from the consent of the governed.

These proposed laws are not just
They do not have the consent of the governed 114 counties and cities passed second amendment sanctuary resolutions
I will not Comply
I will not Compromise

The Richmond government is now illegitimate

Keith Dorset writes:

SB16, among all the others is an abridgment of state and federal constitutional rights. I loudly oppose it. All it does is unjustly criminalize ordinary, law abiding citizens - the very people who do not participate in violent crime. Meanwhile, national violent crime has dropped by 50% since 1992. True criminals and those of ill intent or mental disability will laugh and lick their lips at all the new unarmed/inadequately armed victims. They don't obtain their weapons from legal sources. More likely the back alleys of DC, Baltimore and Richmond. What has changed is an increase in gang activity, rapes, and home invasions. Participants in home invasions have increased from one or two miscreants to as many as six. Limiting our magazine sized severely limits our ability to deal with that many attackers.

We gun owners, assured of the legality of our honestly acquired property, drown in fear of our government. Is that right? The life threatening, life ending, bankrupting nature of a 3am no knock SWAT raid is very real. This is not about safety, only tyrannical control of the populace.

Please, GA, withdraw these draconian bills. We do not need them. Even the few "mass" shootings do not warrant them. The state crime commission has already stated that none of these bills would have stopped any incident that has happened.

Brian writes:

Less than 2% of homicides involve a rifle.

8 people were killed with rifles of all types in Virginia last year.

And we are told by our newly elected, Bloomberg bought, radical representatives that there is a “gun violence epidemic” caused by so called “assault rifles “.

They are lying to the public and exploiting every tragedy, especially Virginia Beach, to enact their California style gun control laws in Virginia.

90 percent of our counties have already rejected their draconian proposals and have no stomach to become another New York, Maryland or California.

Wake up Democrats and retract your polarizing gun control bills and focus on stopping and punishing criminals.

VIOYHDTYKIT writes:

Good luck enforcing this!

Nick writes:

My comment is one of the many in VA that do not support this bill. It is fiscally irresponsible. The cost alone would put the Commonwealth out of its budget, regardless of the amount of increase taxation.

Bill writes:

This bill lacks common sense legislation as well as violations against Second Amendment rights. It explicitly violates long standing federal and state laws. It is poorly written and vague at best. Attacking the rights of law abiding citizens should not be tolerated from either side of the isle. A more acceptable approach would be to ban transport of assembled modular/ assault style firearms and magazines.

THIS BILL NEEDS VOTED DOWN

Jo S writes:

P. Rose is absolutely spot on.... Its Ok to kill babies but lets take the guns away to protect lives. What a bunch of hypocrites..

TG writes:

You cannot ban that which does not exist.

There is no such thing as an "Assault Firearm" and creating an arbitrary definition does not make it so.

TG writes:

The mere fact alone that they have to go through the mechanizations of specificity by FEATURES in 18.2-308.8, on it's face shows that this is an unconstitutional infringement of the rights of persons to bear arms.

Witness the previous laws banning of a "Stryker 12" shotgun which while not a weapon in "common use" is banned by it's features alone conversely by it being a firearm.

Banning weapons by feature is clearly an attempt at an end run around the Second Amendment and must not happen.

4700721 writes:

The Constitution of Virginia protects the right of the people to keep and bear arms from government infringement.

If I understand this right, the law would require a 2/3 vote from both houses (unlikely). Even then, it appears the government still can not infringe on gun owners as it explicitly states "government infringement."

Leroy Jenkins writes:

The humor of all of these uninformed cries about the misconception of "The Constitution" is that multiple conservative Supreme Court benches have upheld the fact that the Second Amendment does allow for law governing the possession of firearms and prohibition of types of firearms. The National Firearms Act of 1934 was challenged on "shall not infringe" and was ruled as constitutional. I don't think that word means what you think it does at all. Also, consider the fact that the General Assembly represents a majority of Virginians, yet you some how have decided it's your right to threaten the lives of publicly elected legislators and "warn them" of doing their constitutionally elected duties that their constituents elected them to execute. The Second Amendment came from people who resented a standing army and included in the Constitution of the United States that there should be no standing army with the intention that the appropriations to fund one would not be approved every year; that the republic would be defended with the blood of citizen militias.

If you guys want to argue the Second Amendment as intended 240 years ago should still exist as intended then, demand legislation dismantling the US military. Then demand every citizen be properly trained in the use of a firearm (as that most colonists were experienced with a black powder rifle since it not only defended them from invaders, but it also provided their meat), and the establishment of local armories to store said rifles (which was also a thing that 2A was written to protect).

Jack R writes:

The 2nd Amendment is here to protect the citizens from a tyrannical government. Our so called "public servants" continually persist in taking away the liberties of law abiding, tax paying citizens. Don't kid yourself. This is not about public safety. The proposals in this tyrannical bill chip away at our constitutional right with the end goal being to disarm the public.

Carl Hedrick writes:

Automobiles and their drivers have killed more people in Virginia in the last 10 years than responsible, law-abiding gun owners have (regardless of the firearm or automobile in question).

If you are truly concerned about public safety, address that issue first.

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