Democrats in Virginia have a clear path to passing a slate of anti-gun legislation, thanks in large part to Everytown for Gun Safety’s $2.5 million investment in 22 competitive races.
The results of yesterday’s election gave Democrats majorities in both the House and the Senate, and Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam has indicated a willingness to sign whatever gun control bills the legislature cooks up.
“Tonight, the ground has shifted in Virginia government. The voters have spoken, and they have elected landmark Democratic majorities in both the Senate and the House of Delegates,” Northam said in a statement. “[Voters] want us to finally pass commonsense gun safety legislation, so no one has to fear being hurt or killed while at school, at work, or at their place of worship. I look forward to working with our new Democratic majority to make these priorities a reality. Together, we will build a stronger, more inclusive, and more just Commonwealth.”
In a fundraising email obtained by GunsAmerica, Everytown for Gun Safety claims to have been the largest outside investor in the state’s elections. According to CNN, the gun-control group outspent the National Rifle Association 8 to 1 in the state.
The Bloomberg-funded group spent $1.3 million in digital and direct mail ads highlighting Virginia Republican candidate’s opposition to gun control, $538,000 in direct contributions to Democratic candidates, and $270,000 in district by district polling and battleground message testing.
Everytown leaders see their strategy as proof that the U.S. Congress and the White House can be flipped blue in 2020.
“The winning strategy pressure-tested what’s to come in 2020: Voters will cast their ballots for gun safety champions, with Everytown and Moms Demand Action ready to replicate the success in Virginia by electing gun sense majorities up and down the ballot,” the organization said in the email.
“Gun safety will be one of the defining issues of 2020,” John Feinblatt, president of Everytown, reiterated to CNN.
In Virginia, Democrats have grand plans for implementing a wide-ranging gun control scheme that will turn the state’s relatively pro-gun policies upside down.
In June Gov. Northam called for a special legislative session to consider a universal background check bill, an “assault weapons” ban, a suppressor ban, a “red flag” law, and a one-gun-a-month law. Republicans promptly ended the session less than two hours after it began without discussing any of Northam’s proposals.
“It is shameful and disappointing that Republicans in the General Assembly refuse to do their jobs, and take immediate action to save lives. I expected better of them. Virginians expect better of them,” Gov. Northam said in a statement at the time.
Now, with complete control of Virginia’s government, Northam and his anti-gun colleagues are free to pass virtually all of their gun control proposals.
“Getting rid of bump stocks, high volume magazines, red flag laws. These are common-sense pieces of legislation,” Northam told CNN today.” “I will introduce those again in January. And I’m convinced, with the majority now in the House and the Senate, they’ll become law and because of that, Virginia will be safer.”
A similar situation played out in New York earlier this year. Just months after securing a majority in the New York state Senate, Democrats passed six sweeping anti-gun measures that were promptly signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo.
With 75 percent of registered Virginia voters naming gun control as a top concern prior to the election, Democrats will no doubt be motivated to follow New York’s lead.