Virginia Gun Owners Prepare for Heated Legislative Session

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam has vowed to sign any gun control measure the legislature passes. (Photo: Ralph Northam Facebook)

Gun owners in Virginia are preparing for what promises to be a contentious legislative session set to begin on Wednesday, January 8, at the General Assembly in Richmond.

One-hundred and sixteen counties, cities, and towns representing over 90 percent of Virginia’s landmass have declared themselves Second Amendment sanctuaries in response to proposed gun control legislation from the state’s Democratic-controlled legislature. Tomorrow’s session will begin to test whether the state’s gun-rights groups can turn that enthusiasm into legislative wins.

At the top of the gun control agenda is SB 16, Virginia’s version of the “assault weapons” ban passed in states like New York and California. As currently written, the bill would require those who currently possess “assault weapons” to turn in or destroy them.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has voiced support for a grandfather clause, but Virginia Citizens Defense League President Philip Van Cleave has vowed not to compromise on any gun control measures.

“Will VCDL accept such a ‘compromise?’ Oh, HELL no,” he said in an email to supporters in December.

SEE ALSO: Other States Watch Virginia as 2A Sanctuary Movement Grows, Militia Mobilizes

Republicans in Virginia’s General Assembly may not be so stalwart. Republican State Sen. Tommy Norment said at a luncheon in Virginia Beach that he expects members of his party to back several gun control proposals.

“Universal background checks, I predict, is coming out no matter what the governor has said. It is going to happen because there is a majority of Republicans and Democrats who will pass it,” he said.

Norment also expects some Republicans to back a “red flag” bill as long as it is “appropriately” and “narrowly-drawn.”

Since Democrats control the House 55-45 and the Senate 21-19, any defections by Republicans virtually assures the passage of any given gun control measure.

As the VCDL’s Van Cleave explained to GunsAmerica in November, some gun control measures might be blocked in the Senate if gun-rights activists can convince at least two Democrats in purple districts to vote against them. But that strategy relies on unity among Republicans, which right now is anything but assured.

SEE ALSO: National Guard Responds to Prospect of Enforcing Gun Control in Virginia

Some localities have taken their resistant stance a step further.

Tazewell County made headlines last month when it voted to form a militia in an attempt to keep its citizens’ firearms from being seized. Ask to clarify their position, the Board of Supervisors issued this statement:   

On Dec. 3rd, 2019, our Board of Supervisors chose to exercise some of its rights under the Virginia Constitution to order or regulate militia.  By insuring that our residents have the opportunity (1) to possess certain types of firearms, (2) to educate themselves on their use, (3) to learn common military practices, and (4) to learn basic survival skills, we hope to preserve a group of residents who could form a militia, were such a body needed.  Without these most basic elements our County would not have a group of persons from whom a militia could be drawn.  At the moment, however, the Board has not called any such militia to arms and prays that such moment never occurs.

The board cites as its authority Article I Section 13 of Virginia’s Constitution, which states that “a well regulated militia… is the proper, natural, and safe defense of a free state.”

Virginia residents who would like to voice their opposition to gun control measures can contact their state representatives by clicking here.

Gun owners are also encouraged to attend a lobby day in Richmond on January 20 hosted by the Virginia Citizens Defense League. Buses have been chartered across the state, and more information is available here.

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About the author: Jordan Michaels has been reviewing firearm-related products for over six years and enjoying them for much longer. With family in Canada, he’s seen first hand how quickly the right to self-defense can be stripped from law-abiding citizens. He escaped that statist paradise at a young age, married a sixth-generation Texan, and currently lives in Tyler. Got a hot tip? Send him an email at

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  • Jonn January 17, 2020, 5:31 am

    Those who do not know their history are doomed to repeat it. Does not this sound like Lexington, Concord?

  • Norm January 10, 2020, 1:44 pm

    We must put back sound and reasonable thought in the process of electing individuals to office….. vote out every Progressive/Snowflake/Democrat in national and local office…..put conservative individuals in office. History has taught us what happens when government overreaches/oversteps it’s mission….how many Timothy McVeighs are we cultivating? Do we want regional violent clashes to develop out of control… will come. Do we really want to put federalized troops, National Guard/Reserves and local law enforcement pitted against themselves and the public? We need to use the vote to regain our country’s true constitutional direction, to save the great experiment and the union.

    • Boss January 10, 2020, 4:48 pm

      And every progressive Republican rino low life like Tommy Norment. Clean house!

  • James January 10, 2020, 9:13 am

    VA is SO screwed. ” Democrats control the House 55-45 and the Senate 21-19, any defections by Republicans virtually assures the passage of any given gun control measure. “. And Gov Northam , vowing to sign ANY bill on gc that they pass ….???? This is BS and the start of many standoffs to occur if they attempt to enforce future required impoundments , what , door-to-door raids ?? Get ready to watch the news . ruby Ridge will become the norm in VA.

  • steve January 10, 2020, 8:40 am

    Doctor Governor “Coonman” is afraid that what happened in Texas could happen in Virginia. As a member in good standing in the Democrat KKK, the last thing he wants to see is his compatriots being hurt or killed when they are shooting up churches, as the Democrat founded and run KKK is prone to do.

  • bruce n clark January 8, 2020, 1:48 pm

    the dems are expert con-artists, when they want 2 things they write up 10 then get talked down to 2
    they win AGAIN! it’s time to draw the line.
    I am amazed Bloomberg and northham haven’t been arrested yet for conspiracy.

  • bruce n clark January 8, 2020, 10:30 am

    any law that violates the constitution is null and void.

    • Robert January 10, 2020, 6:29 pm

      Ya, that sounds well and good, but doesn’t fly in modern liberal courts … they can and will put your behind in prison

  • Bob Ailanjian January 8, 2020, 10:10 am

    I was born in Alexandria 65 years ago…when the state politicians had brains, backbone, and balls. Too bad that isn’t true any longer…especially the BRAINS part.

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