Dear Friend,

To the victor go the spoils. I understand that this principle applies in politics as well as war, but what Virginia Democrats are about to do is ridiculous.


Many Northern Virginia and other urban and suburban liberals point to the grassroots reaction by Second Amendment advocates across Virginia to proposed gun control legislation and say it is a serious over reaction.  I say it is a totally predictable response to the overreaching, punitive and confiscatory bills being introduced by liberal legislators who largely have no idea what they’re talking about.


Take a look at this article from the Northern Virginia Daily discussing the far-reaching implications of Senate Bill 16, introduced by the senior Senator from Fairfax County, Dick Saslaw.  That bill is breathtaking in its scope.  It will not only outlaw the sale or transfer of a broad category of firearms, but it will also make their possession a felony.  The bill provides that “it is unlawful for any person to import, sell, manufacture, purchase, possess or transport an assault firearm” and make such actions a class 6 felony punishable by one to five years in prison.  What makes it worse is the expansive definition of an “assault firearm” in the bill.  It includes a wide range of rifles, pistols and shotguns. 


Incredibly, this ill-conceived legislation also defines as an “assault firearm” to include “a semiautomatic centerfire pistol with a fixed magazine capacity in excess of 10 rounds.”  This definition would include virtually every full size semiautomatic handgun sold in the last 50 years.  This definition does much more than just cover AR-15 style rifles – which would be bad enough – but it would make virtually every law-abiding owner of a semiautomatic handgun in Virginia a felon effective July 1, 2020.


This legislation isn’t going to make Virginians safer.  Do you really think that someone bound and determined to perpetrate a mass shooting is really going to be deterred by the prospect of 1-5 years in prison for possessing an illegal weapon?  Make no mistake about it.  This bill is political payback to Michael Bloomberg and other gun-control advocates who pumped millions of dollars into the campaign coffers of Saslaw and other Democratic legislative candidates last year and it should shock law-abiding Virginians irrespective of their political affiliation.  The 2nd Amendment doesn’t just protect the rights of Republicans.  It protects the rights of all Americans and we should zealously defend it and the other components of the Bill of Rights against infringement.


By now, most Virginians have read, seen or heard about the grassroots movement sweeping across Virginia in support of our 2nd Amendment rights.  There is a robust debate taking place in the chambers of local governments across Virginia.  People are turning out in numbers seldom seen at such meetings.  There were over 1,000 who attended the Shenandoah County Board of Supervisors meeting several weeks ago.  An estimated 1,800 showed up in Verona for the Augusta County Board of Supervisors meeting.  This Wednesday evening at approximately 7:30, there will be a meeting of the Rockingham County Board of Supervisors at Spotswood High School to receive public comment and to address the issue.


I salute the hundreds of thousands of Virginians who are signing petitions, writing letters and showing up at local government meetings across Virginia to register their support for a fundamental American right.



Mark Obenshain


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