2020 News

Why are Virginia Gun Owners Upset?

The Governor of Virginia Ralph Northam has announced sweeping gun control measures. In turn, the Virginia State legislature has proposed seven new gun control bills.

The first law is a “Red Flag” law. Under this law, if someone believes that a person is having a mental or emotional struggle or feels as though the person in question poses a threat they can have their weapon taken from them. These people would also be prevented from purchasing a new weapon. This person’s weapon would be taken away quickly if they already own one. The person in question would have to go to the courts to prove they are mentally stable or not a threat to the community.

Some pro-gun advocates can see the possibility of abuse in this system. Not every state that has adopted “red flag” laws require due process before the person’s property is taken away, even temporarily.

The next bill, which seems to be the least controversial, is Universal Background Checks. Only sellers in a gun shop require a background check in Virginia, this is the infamous “gun show loophole.” If this bill is passed any time a firearm is sold in the state of Virginia, meaning at a store, gun show or individually, a background check must take place.

Those who argue against Univeral Background Checks say that this bill prevents those gun owners who are having a mental crisis from handing their weapons off to a friend. This argument seems flimsy to me because I am sure the police would love to do an expedited background check to get a weapon out of the hands of someone who states they are having a mental breakdown.

Prior to 2012 the state of Virginia only allowed a person to buy one firearm per month. The Virginia Legislature repealed the law in 2012, and Governor Northam wants to bring that law back.

While this law may or may not have affected crime, not allowing a person to stockpile weapons is best for the community as a whole.

The next proposed law would make it a crime to not report a lost or stolen firearm and gives to the owner twenty-four hours to report a missing weapon to the authorities.

The next bill is to increase the penalties from leaving a loaded unlocked weapon around a child. It also changes the definition of a child from being a person fourteen and younger to being a person eighteen and younger.

I don’t have any issues with increasing penalties, but in certain parts of Virginia, it is very common for parents to teach responsible gun ownership to their teenagers and take them hunting and things of that nature. While I will never take my son hunting, I don’t want to see responsible parents harmed by this age increase.

This next bill would prevent anyone under a protective order from owning or purchasing a firearm, and if they already own a firearm they have to turn them over to the court within twenty-four hours.

The last, and probably most controversial with gun rights advocates is the ban on any weapon that holds more than ten rounds.

I don’t understand why gun owners want to own weapons that hold so many rounds. Hunting weapons do not hold that many rounds. The only reason to own military-style weapons is that they look cool. I cannot logically think of any other reason.

Now looking at the actual laws, I personally am in favour of all of them. ALTHOUGH I do question the constitutionality of “red flag laws” in states that do not have any due process before the weapons are removed from the gun owner’s home.

The United States was founded during a time when there was no police, there was a militia and at some points a standing army. Police forces did not become professionalised until the early 1900s. People needed weapons for personal protection. Now we live in a world with a professionalized police force and if you are in the United States, a large standing Army. Individuals need to evaluate weapons for what they are, and we need to stop glorifying them. Firearms cause death when used for its intended purpose. Death to whatever the shooter is aiming at. I feel like pro-gun advocates seem to forget that fact.

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