A sign welcoming drivers to Virginia
A sign welcoming drivers to Virginia / Stephen Gutowski

Youngkin Vetoes Slew of Virginia Gun-Control Bills

Dozens of new gun restrictions won’t become law in Virginia.

That’s because Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin vetoed them this week. He rejected measures that did everything from banning the sale of AR-15s and other guns to restricting gun-carry to expanding the state’s “Red Flag” law. All told, he vetoed 30 different gun-control measures.

“I swore an oath to defend the Constitution of the United States of America and the Constitution of Virginia, and that absolutely includes protecting the right of law-abiding Virginians to keep and bear arms,” Youngkin told The Reload.

The vetos come after Democrats delivered the package of gun bills to Youngkin’s desk along almost entirely party lines. The avalanche of gun bills was the result of Democrats taking control of both houses of the Virginia legislature last year, though only by a single seat. Youngkin’s actions mostly keep the status quo intact for Virginia’s gun laws.

“Virginia has some of the strictest gun laws in the country,” Youngkin wrote in his veto message for the AR-15 ban. “Unfortunately, the Commonwealth has reduced penalties for criminals, contributing to violent crime. Enhancing penalties for crimes committed with firearms will reverse this trend. Our most significant gap, however, has been in our behavioral health system, which is why substantial investments in behavioral health are necessary. That twofold approach can provide a real solution without creating outcomes that would affect law-abiding citizens and violating our constitutional rights.”

Democrats and gun-control advocates decried Youngkin’s vetos.

“For the first time in history, Virginia sent an assault weapons ban to the governor to keep weapons of war off our streets,” Delegate Dan Helmer, who introduced the AR-15 ban, tweeted. “Today the governor vetoed it – putting politics above public safety. We won’t stop fighting to keep our communities safe.”

Meanwhile, gun-rights activists celebrated. Philip Van Cleave, president of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, said “gun-control took it on the chin” in a message to supporters.

“The Democrats and the gun-control organizations pushed this year to go easier on violent criminals, while at the same time attacking people like you and me,” he said. “These vetoes are their just desserts for disrespecting the Constitution and minimizing the importance of self-defense for good, decent people.”

Youngkin did sign two gun bills that had garnered some bipartisan support. One bans devices that can convert semi-automatic firearms into fully-automatic ones, the other makes it illegal to give minors access to firearms if there’s reason to believe they’re a threat to themselves or others. In addition, Youngkin sent six more bills back to the Democratically-controlled legislature seeking amendments.

However, gun-rights activists backed those bills and the suggestions offered up by Youngkin.

“Bottom line: the gun-grabbers struck out. There are no significant changes to Virginia’s gun laws this year!” Van Cleave said.

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Created by potrace 1.16, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2019


Created by potrace 1.16, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2019

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