By Mark Oliva
Former Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe is showing Old Dominion voters that he’s ignorant of the most basic facts surrounding gun ownership. That’s not good news for Virginia gun owners, since McAuliffe is taking a second run at the Governor’s Mansion. This time, his antigun baggage is overflowing.
McAuliffe tweeted on July 6, “Call me crazy, but I think it should be easier to vote than it should be to buy a gun.”
Call me crazy, but I think it should be easier to vote than it should be to buy a gun.— Terry McAuliffe (@TerryMcAuliffe) July 6, 2021
Okay, Crazy… I’ll bite.
The former governor and former White House Chief of Staff just told Virginia voters he’s got no idea what the laws are surrounding voting or gun ownership in Virginia. That’s not a good way to start a general election campaign. So much for running on a platform of “informed experience.”
The torrent of Twitter backlash was as quick as it was severe. That’s deservedly so. He should know better on both subjects, but to help those who don’t live in the Commonwealth of Virginia, here’s a very basic rundown of the requirements.
Voting and Guns
Virginia voters are required to be 18, residents of the Commonwealth and not be declared mentally incompetent by a court. Voters must register in their districts and present a valid identification that is verified by poll workers on voting day. Convicted felons are even now allowed to vote if they petition to have their voting rights restored following completion of their sentence. Voters in the most recent election during COVID were allowed to vote by mail as long as they provided proof of their identity and had a witness signature on the ballot envelope. In-person voting will allow for provisional ballots if an acceptable identification isn’t provided. And of course, there are absentee ballots.
Buying a gun in Virginia is stricter. Individuals buying a long gun must be 18. Those buying handguns must be Virginia residents and over 21. That’s federal law. Anyone buying any gun must present valid identification with proof of residence, complete the required federal background check forms, and pass an FBI background check for all firearm transfers (Virginia now has a universal background check law). Of course, that means that an individual must not be a convicted felon, declared mentally defective by a court, convicted of a domestic violence incident or any one of 23 different categories.
If an individual wants to purchase a suppressor, that requires extra background checks, a $200 tax, fingerprints, photos, and chief law enforcement officer notification. Of course, there’s the wait for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to process that, which can take nine months to a year.
McAuliffe isn’t just woefully ignorant of gun and voting laws, he’s in the tank with gun control. He said in January he would push for an “assault weapons ban” that includes a standard magazine capacity ban and stand up an Office of Gun Violence Prevention. If that sounds familiar, it’s because it’s a carbon copy of what New York’s Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo just announced. Instead of using the tools at hand, he’s going to spend tax dollars to create more bureaucracy to chip away at gun rights.
That’s not all. He’d bar adults under 21 from possessing handguns. They already can’t purchase them under federal law, but McAuliffe wants to take it further. He also wants to implement firearm purchase waiting periods.
The Federalist pointed out a response by Donald Trump Jr., a gun owner himself.
“It already is, and even you know that, but you also know that your lap dogs in the media will run your BS for clicks regardless of the facts because your ideologies are the same. Rinse and repeat… it’s the dem platform in a nutshell,” he tweeted.
It already is, and even you know that, but you also know that your lap dogs in the media will run your BS for clicks regardless of the facts because your ideologies are the same. Rinse and repeat… it’s the dem platform in a nutshell. https://t.co/uM9Ws4QPrh— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) July 6, 2021
Trump Jr. showed that Democrats seeking office are running on the same stale lies they’ve peddled for years about guns and voting, while refusing to face the facts about crime. For those like McAuliffe, it’s about blaming law-abiding gun owners at every opportunity.
Virginia voters, beware of charlatans peddling worn-out talking points to get more gun control.
Mark Oliva is Director of Public Affairs for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade association for the firearms and ammunition industries. He is a retired Marine Master Gunnery Sergeant with 25 years of service, including tours in Iraq, Afghanistan, Haiti, Albania, and Zaire.