Virginia's Total 2A Assault: General Assembly Seeks to Ban "Assault Weapons" and Militias

State legislators in Virginia are seeking to implement a total ban on semi-automatic firearms designated as “assault rifles,” without consideration of the grandfather clause that allows current owners to keep existing firearms.

Without the application of the grandfather clause, current owners of arms covered by the ban will have to surrender them or face felony charges. The bill imposes a total ban on purchase, owning, transferring, or selling any of the items included in the ban. In essence, the bill seeks a total confiscation order.

State Sen. Richard Saslaw introduced SB16, which also limits the capacity of magazines, expands the term “assault rifles" to include any semi-automatic firearm with a fixed magazine capacity of more than 10 rounds. The bill also bans rifles and pistols with folding stocks and telescoping features, second hand grips, barrel shrouds, and thumb-hole grips.

The proposed bill also bans other items such as pistol grips, flash suppressors, bayonet mounts, muzzle breaks, silencers, and flare launchers. Additionally, pistols should not exceed a loaded weight of 50 ounces, nor accept magazine at any point other than the pistol grip, thereby banning AR pistols. Shotguns with a capacity exceed seven rounds will also be banned.

Other items banned by the proposed bill include “any characteristic of like kind” leaving the gun owners guessing how the courts might classify certain firearm features. The vague language would lead to many firearm owners unknowingly violating the law, a crime punishable by up to six years in jail.

In addition to SB16, SB64 seeks to effectively ban private militias in the State. The bill expands current laws prohibiting so-called "paramilitary activity," to include "Assembles with one or more persons with the intent of intimidating any person or group of persons by drilling, parading, or marching with any firearm, any explosive or incendiary device, or any components or combination thereof. This makes open carry rallies a felony. Current definitions under the existing law are also concerning, as it includes firearms training that will "will be employed for use in, or in furtherance of, a civil disorder." Essentially, Virginia is looking to ban private militias entirely.

Various groups have condemned both proposed bills as unacceptable, and a clear violation of our natural rights to free speech, assembly, and keeping and bearing arms. With the current democratic grip on the house for the first time in 25 years, and the Democratic governor calls for more gun control within the state, however, the bills are likely to pass. It is for this reason that some states had foreseen the situation and declared their second amendment sanctuary status before the wave of gun control sweeps through the state.

While Texas is viewed as a solid red state, and though we believe the sort of tyranny happening in Virginia could not happen here, we cannot let our guard down. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is pushing universal background check in our state, and if left unchecked, it will not be long until we see bills like this getting traction in Austin. Please join our fight today, and help us restore Texas' place as the standard for gun rights in the U.S.

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