Richmond, VA – Ten days after over 20,000 peaceful Second Amendment supporters marched in front of the state house in opposition to newly-elected Democrats’ proposed gun-control legislation, Virginia lawmakers approved seven new gun control bills.
Virginia state representatives voted to approve numerous gun-control measures that had been enthusiastically supported by Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, ABC News reported.
Similar bills had already passed the state senate and all the gun-control measures pending are expected to quickly receive the Democratic governor’s signature.
One new law will require background checks for all gun sales, including private gun transfers and those bought at gun shows, WTVR reported.
Another bill would prohibit anyone who is the subject of a permanent protective order from owning a firearm.
A majority of cities and counties across the historically-conservative state declared themselves to be “Second Amendment sanctuaries” ahead of the new laws being passed, and a number of law enforcement officials vowed not to enforce the unconstitutional laws.
More than 20,000 supporters of gun rights gathered on Martin Luther King Day in front of the Capitol building in Richmond to protest lawmakers’ planned gun crackdown.
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam declared a temporary emergency ahead of the event, banning all weapons from the Capitol Square in front of the State House.
“Law enforcement intelligence analysts have identified credible threats of violence surrounding the event, along with white nationalist rhetoric and plans by out-of-state militia groups to attend,” Northam told reporters on Jan. 15.
Two state officials who had been briefed on the plan told the Associated Press that Northam was trying to head off a repeat of the violence that occurred at the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville in 2018, when James Fields deliberately ran down Heather Heyer, killing her.
However, that event was explicitly a white nationalist event, whereas the gun rights rally was explicitly about gun rights.
And thousands of legally armed citizens attended the event despite the ban but remained outside the gun-free zone designated by the emergency order.
After the demonstration was over, videos of marchers picking up their trash on the way out were posted to social media and showed a sharp contrast to the messes that were left behind in the nation’s capital after Presidential Inauguration protests and the Women’s March.
Democrats tried to blame the gun ban at the State House on the Capitol police.
“I just have to say that this is something that’s been recommended by our Capitol Police,” House Majority Leader Charniele Herring said before the vote. “And I think there are times when we sort of have to trust what our law enforcement officers are telling us.”
But the Capitol police chief wasn’t about to take the blame for the least popular policy change so far this year, the Loudoun Times reported.
Capitol Police Colonel Anthony Pike said that he never advised legislators to ban guns in the State House.
Col. Pike said he just answered the politicians’ questions about how to implement their ban after they voted on it, according to the Loudoun Times.
Republicans were furious when they learned the truth about the role of the Capitol police in making the new policy.
“That was a deliberate misrepresentation,” said Republican Virginia State Delegate Kirk Cox said. “There’s just no way around that.”
Many viewed the move as more anti-gun shenanigans by the state’s newly-installed Democratic majority who have vowed to institute gun control in the famously pro-gun state that is home to the National Rifle Association (NRA).
Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring has vowed to aggressively enforce any new gun-control laws passed by the legislature.