The Corner

McAuliffe: Virginia Should Have Colorado’s Gun-Control Laws — and More

Apparently deterred neither by the recent and successful liberalization of state gun laws in Virginia nor by the clear message that Colorado voters sent to lawmakers earlier in the month, Virginian gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe has added a gun-control plank to his campaign website. 

Support common sense gun control measures

As Governor, Terry will support mainstream and majority supported gun control measures like universal background checks, limiting the size of magazines, and a return to the 1-gun-per-month rule. These measures respect Virginians’ right to bear arms while reducing gun violence.

With the exception of the one-gun-per-month rule, a 1993 measure that was repealed last year, McAuliffe is effectively suggesting that the state of Virginia pass exactly the same package that led to two state senators in Colorado being recalled: the extention of background checks to private sales and limits on the size of magazines. If McAuliffe is elected, it will be interesting to see how successful he will be in convincing skittish state legislators to put their careers on the line for such a fringe issue. My suspicion is not very.

As for the proposed reintroduction of the one-gun-per-month rule, McAuliffe is looking backwards in time. The repealed rule was very much of another era. For a start, the measure came into effect before the beloved NICS background check system was rolled out. As such, it should be obvious that if a) background checks are effective in ensuring that only responsible gun owners get hold of weapons, as the Left insist they are, and b) progressives truly do not want to limit ownership of firearms but only to make sure that criminals are denied the opportunity to purchase them, as they claim in public, then it really shouldn’t matter how many times a month a citizen passes a background check. This is especially true given that, as a condition of the new rule, licensed Virginian dealers must report to both the state police and to the ATF the name of anyone who buys more than one handgun in five days.

McAuliffe might make clear too whether he wishes to go back to the 1993 law or to the law as it stood on the day before repeal. By 2012, Virginia had already exempted swathes of people from the requirement, including anyone with a concealed-carry permit, all law enforcement, all private security companies, and anybody who “lost” a weapon within 30 days and needed to replace it. To go back to the latter would simply be silly; to go back to the former, on the other hand, would be radical.

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