Virginia bill seeks to roll back gun control – Bearing Arms

The state of Virginia is weird when it comes to guns. For years, they made some really positive headway on restoring gun rights. Then it all went to crap and most of those improvements were repealed.

It’s a nightmare for folks there in the state.

Virginia lawmakers could soon consider legislation seeking to repeal prohibitions on where firearms can be carried in the Commonwealth under proposals pre-filed by Republican legislators earlier this month.

House Bill 1428, pre-filed by Republican Del. Dave LaRock and state Sens. Amanda Chase and Frank M. Ruff, seeks to repeal an existing Virginia law that makes it unlawful for individuals to carry certain loaded semi-automatic center-fire rifles, pistols or shotguns on public streets, roads, alleys, sidewalks, public right-of-ways, public parks or “any other place of whatever nature that is open to the public” in certain parts of the state.

The existing law applies to the cities of Alexandria, Chesapeake, Fairfax, Falls Church, Newport News, Norfolk, Richmond and Virginia Beach and the counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Henrico, Loudoun and Prince William. The provisions in the law do not apply to law enforcement officers and licensed security guards, people with a valid concealed handgun permit or those engaged in lawful hunting or recreational shooting at established ranges.

LaRock also pre-filed House Bill 1427 earlier this month, which would remove a locality’s authority to prohibit the possession or carrying firearms in public parks and community centers owned by the locality, as well as public streets, alleys and sidewalks.

Both of these bills seek to undo things that never should have been done.

My first instinct was to say these might not be the best place to start, but considering the nature of what these two bills seek to do, I can’t really take issue with any of that.

I might have started with repealing universal background checks or pushing constitutional carry, myself, but those might also be harder sells.

However, I should caution folks in Virginia not to get their hopes up.

As it stands, the legislature there is kind of divided. While it’s possible some Democrats would cross the aisle to vote on gun rights measures, it’s not something I’d hold my breath over.

Instead, it looks like there’s a strong possibility that these bills will not actually pass. In fact, I won’t rule out them never making it out of committee, in part because so many Republicans are squishy on the Second Amendment.

Virginians deserve to see these measures pass, but that doesn’t mean they’ll see it. We’ve seen just how difficult pro-gun legislation can be even in pretty red states. Florida, for example, still doesn’t have constitutional carry despite Gov. Ron DeSantis supporting it.

As such, even though these measures are probably easier sells than constitutional carry, they’re still an uphill fight, and it’s a fight I’m not sure there’s enough stomach for there in Virginia.

That’s a shame, too, because both of these are solid efforts from what I can see. The people there deserve these bills to pass.

Unfortunately, there’s just enough anti-gun bigotry still in the legislature that I’m doubtful.

That said, I would love to be wrong. I’d love to see it and I’d love to celebrate it. As such, I hope everyone steps up and puts enough pressure on even the Democrats that we see these measures pass and the tide on guns in Virginia to turn so significantly that there’s never another threat to the Second Amendment coming out of the Old Dominion State.

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