We’re from Maryland, born and raised. But Virginia is our neighbor to the south, and since we’ve been in business, they’ve always been the friendlier state when it comes to firearms.
In 2013 Gov. Martin O’Malley and the Democrat-controlled Maryland legislature enacted SB281, also known as the Firearm Safety Act of 2013. This act combined a laundry list of anti-gun ideas in one package. It established a licensing, training, tax, and registry scheme for handguns and lower receivers, banned “assault rifles” (yet exempted certain ones), regulated where handguns could be transported and worn, magazine capacity limits, and more.
After all of this anti-gun legislation in Maryland, you’d think it would be a utopian paradise. Well, if you look to Baltimore city, the restrictions seem to have had little to no effect on crime whatsoever.
In 2019, the Virginia governor and legislature tried their hand at a similar amount of gun control. While their Assault Weapons Ban failed, they managed to pass restrictions on the sale of handguns and a few other gun control bills.
The reaction to this legislation in the firearms industry was enormous. Many large companies supported efforts in Virginia to get Virginians involved in the fight for their rights. Many sheriffs in Virginia threatened not to enforce the law if passed. The gun lobby was out in full force with representatives from national groups like Gun Owners of America, Firearms Policy Coalition, and the NRA, accompanying local organizations like VCDL and others. There was a rally in Richmond outside the governor’s mansion where it was later revealed a few of the “March for our Lives” organizers had staged a bizarre “Sleep-In.” I’ll let you draw your own conclusions on that one.
Well, since the end of 2019, the political landscape of the country has changed drastically. It’s now time again for the VA Governor election. Political think tanks like to look at the VA Governor election as a sign of the electorate’s approval of the new presidency. It typically happens during the same year as a new president’s first term. And while Biden carried VA by ten percentage points in the 2020 election, the Governor race between Democratic nominee and previous VA Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Republican Greg Youngkin has been neck-and-neck with polls narrowing since August.
Let me speak from experience as a native Marylander. If Virginia elects McAuliffe this November and Virginia Democrats pass an assault weapon ban, it’s unlikely that ban will be reversed at the state level. Maryland has not gotten its right to bear arms back since SB281 in 2013. It’ll be an uphill battle for Virginians if they don’t get involved and get out to vote for their 2nd amendment right this November.
McAuliffe has promised to ban the sale of assault weapons, high-capacity magazines, “ghost-guns”, and more. He’s also pledged to treat gun violence as a public health crisis so that he can fund his anti-gun programs from non-traditional sources. Starting to sound familiar?
There are many reasons besides the 2nd amendment to vote against McAuliffe, especially if you’ve been following the horrific scandal that has been the Loudon County school board. (Loudon County is a leisurely and beautiful 20-minute drive from where TMGN is located.)
But the reason I’m writing this article is that gun owners need to ditch the apathy that obscures their political activism and get out to vote. I understand the “they can take the guns if they pry them from my cold dead hands” mentality. I’m 100% with it. The problem is if my children’s rights get legislated away, there will be nothing left to defend, and “they” won’t need to fire a shot to take my firearms. The fantastic thing about this country is that we can get out to vote and change policy. 96% of Virginia counties opposed the gun laws passed by a government representing NoVA, the DC suburbs, and little else. Speaking as someone who never understood the importance of getting up and voting– and now living in MD and experiencing the consequences–I beg you, please vote if you’re in VA!
We saw the effect of making our collective voices heard last month when what the Biden administration thought was a shoo-in for ATF director backfired because of grassroots activism! Do you think David Chipman or the Biden admin thought that would happen? No way! But gun owners made their voices heard and collectively pressured senators to keep a gun control activist out of the ATF. If that isn’t a detailed case study of why gun owners need to express themselves and make their voices heard, I don’t know what is!
Lastly, it is essential to note that Virginia is the 3rd most armed state per capita in the country, and the 3rd most armed by the number of registered weapons, coming in behind Florida and Texas. If Virginia can come that close to a complete reversal of its values because of one election and some demographic changes, we should expect that Texas and Florida won’t be far behind.