(The Center Square) – After three football players were killed in a shooting at the University of Virginia and six people were killed in a shooting at a Chesapeake Walmart, gun groups are warning of efforts to impose stricter gun control measures.
On November 13, three UVA football players were killed after a man allegedly opened fire on a bus after returning from a school trip to the university. A little over a week later, six people were killed at a Chesapeake Walmart after a man allegedly opened fire over complaints against some Walmart employees.
Shortly after the shooting, Democratic lawmakers in Virginia announced a plan to authorize stricter gun control measures in the General Assembly in the next legislative session.
House Democrats announced they would introduce legislation to restrict high-capacity magazines, ban ghost guns, raise the age for purchasing certain firearms and hold the gun industry accountable. Senate Democrats released a statement in which the caucus said it was past the point of thoughts and prayers and said the state must come together collectively to end gun violence. Senate Democrats did not reveal any policy proposals and did not respond to a request from The Center Square about what specific actions they intend to take.
Some gun groups have warned of tighter gun controls, arguing that Democrats have already passed a wide range of gun control policies in recent years that have not deterred gun violence.
“Virginia already has many of the same failed gun control measures that the anti-gun left is demanding — red-flag laws, universal background checks, and more,” Jordan Stein, director of Gun Owners of America’s Southeast region, told The Center Square. “Moreover, Walmart’s ‘no carry’ policy for employees made them sitting ducks. More gun control will only empower these killers. We need the freedom to protect ourselves from evildoers!”
Philip Van Cleave, the president of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, told The Center Square he believes some of the proposed gun control measures would be unconstitutional based on the US Supreme Court’s ruling in the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association , Inc. v. Brno. He said they will be challenged and will not stand trial.
“Gun control just doesn’t work to stop someone determined to commit violence,” Van Cleave added.
When Democrats controlled both chambers of the General Assembly in 2020, lawmakers passed a series of gun control bills. The most controversial bill issued warning signals that would allow police to confiscate a person’s firearms if a judge deems them a threat to themselves or others, even if that person has not been convicted of a crime, charged with a crime, or even charged with a crime accused. Since the law’s enactment, hundreds of Virginians have had their firearms confiscated through the allowances contained in this law.
Although Democrats had a majority in both chambers, some of their proposals did not win support from moderate Democrats in the Senate. These included proposed restrictions on high-capacity magazines and a proposed ban on assault weapons.
Though Democrats still retain tight control of the Senate, Republicans regained control of the House of Representatives in the 2021 election.