In Virginia this week, Democratic lawmakers are busy throwing the proverbial spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks. Thus far, over 100 anti-gun bills have been introduced, covering everything from black rifle bans and bump stock prohibitions to universal background checks and red-flag orders.
Of the more eye-popping measures filed is one that would effectively shut down all indoor shooting ranges of a certain size not owned by the government. Say what?!
HB 567, introduced by Delegate Daniel Helmer (D-40th), reads as follows:
It is unlawful to operate an indoor shooting range in any building not owned or leased by the Commonwealth or the federal government unless (i) fewer than 50 employees work in the building or (ii) (a) at least 90 percent of the users of the indoor shooting range are law-enforcement officers, as defined in § 9.1-101, or federal law-enforcement officers, (b) the indoor shooting range maintains a log of each user’s name, phone number, address, and the law-enforcement agency where such user is employed, and (c) the indoor shooting range verifies each user’s identity and address by requiring all users to present a government-issued photo-identification card.
Ranges of that size must cater overwhelmingly to law enforcement and they must track users in a database! Sounds terribly Orwellian!
Violators would face stiff fines; up to $100,000 for the initial violation and $5,000 per day for each subsequent violation. Which is certainly enough to put almost any range out of business within a week’s time.
Across the entire state, though, there are only two indoor ranges that would be affected by HB 567. One, not surprisingly, is the facility at the NRA’s headquarters in Fairfax.
In other words, this draconian bill was designed to force the NRA to close the doors to its range.
Delegate Helmer seemed to admit as much when he spoke to the Prince William Times. “Yes, this plan would affect the NRA, we also think it will save lives,” he said, though he did not elaborate on how it would “save lives.”
One would think that this would have unconditional support from the anti-gun community because when given the opportunity to pot shot the “evil” gun lobby, what many of them have dubbed a “terrorist organization,” who wouldn’t be on board, right?
But at least one “gun-violence prevention” advocate said it was “ill-advised” to “poke the NRA in the eye.”
“I think it was a very ill-advised move,” Andrew Goddard, the legislative director of the Virginia Center for Public Safety told The Trace Wednesday. “It’s actually counterproductive.”
“If gun owners don’t get the chance to train,” he continued, “then we are going to have more untrained gun owners walking around with weapons, and that’s not going to make us any safer.”
Goddard said that he was going to personally talk with Helmer about HB 567, supposedly in an effort to get him to back off.
That said, it along with all the other crazy bills introduced this week are in play at the moment. We won’t know what actually sticks, that is what will garner serious consideration and an eventual vote for at least a few weeks. (A good place to start, however, is here, as these seem to be the more popular bills being discussed amongst Dems).
And, as always, stay tuned for updates.