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Each year, VSSA's lobbying team is at the General Assembly everyday working with legislators to defeat bad bills and pass good bills. By the time the legislators walk into a subcommittee or committee meeting, they have met with your lobbying team and know the VSSA position on every bill. You may not see our name in the newspaper or TV news as having stood up in committee to address a bill but rest assured, the committee members know our position and we are confident at the time the committee meets that your rights will be protected by the Delegates and State Senators.
For the last 25 years, VSSA has successfully beat back attempts to restrict our rights. But, something has changed. The gun-ban lobby has transformed itself into a massive, national political operation thanks to the deep pockets of Micheal Bloomberg and other anti-rights billionaires, that now has the ability to single-handedly tip the scales in nearly every election. In the 2017 election, the gun-banners put their new campaign machine to the test right here in Virginia.
The result: They not only installed anti-gun politicians in the governor's office, the lieutenant governor's office, and the attorney general's office, but they also defeated scores of pro-gun state legislators who were considered unbeatable, leaving us just a two seat pro-gun majority in the House of Delegates.
Even before the Virginia General Assembly convened for 2019, Governor Ralph Northam rolled out seven gun control proposals that come right off of the Bloomberg template. Included in the package of seven bills is a so-called "universal background check" bill with the goal of prohibiting the private sale of firearms, firearm confiscation without due process via so-called "red flag law", reinstate Virginia’s handgun rationing law, prohibit individuals subject to final protective orders from possessing firearms; ban modern sporting rifles that are capable of holding more than ten rounds of ammunition; prevent children from accessing firearms; and require individuals to report lost or stolen firearms to law enforcement. He also had a bill that re-wrote the section of the Code of Virginia that defined a so-called "assault weapon", and that bill would have even banned the standard firearm used in Boy Scout marksmanship programs. But that's not all, Senator Dick Saslaw (D-Fairfax) introduced a bill that would raise the age to purchase a long gun from 18-21. There were also the annual attempts to prohibit firearms in government buildings, and a bill to do away with preemption - the law that prohibits localities from passing gun control. All of the bills Northam introduced as well as prohibiting firearms in government buildings and repealing preemption have failed in the past and did so again this year. But Virginia's once strong pro-rights majority in the House of Delegates is down to a one member majority with the same in the State Senate.
Republicans were unified in the House of Delegates opposing the "red flag" bill but there were cracks in the State Senate. The gun ban lobby was hoping that since a similar measure was passed by the Republican majority legislature in Florida and signed by Republican Governor Rick Scott after the Parkland school shooting, they would be able to do so here. They even invoked President Trump's past support of "red flag" laws to gain traction.
This year, all 100 seats in the General Assembly will be up for re-election. Gun owners cannot afford to sit this one out. If the gun ban lobby takes control of the General Assembly, it will just be the start of their efforts to "Califonacate" Virginia when it comes to gun laws. There's never been a more important time for you to be a VSSA member, renew your membership, and to support the VSSA War Chest. Only a small portion of member dues are available to help pay for VSSA's campaign and legislative efforts. Your donations are needed to continue to protect your firearm freedom!!! Credit card contributions by Visa and Mastercard graciously accepted.