Fight Over Gun Rights Continues
The Democrats and Republicans have starkly opposite views when it comes to gun rights, – while the Democrats have rolled out gun safety measures, the Republicans, on the other hand, are refusing to even consider a compromise regarding the same. Apart from the lawmakers, activists too, are playing a key role in influencing the decision of the State concerning gun rights.
There are gun rights activists, such as Phil Minnich and Theresa Davis, who are actively traveling across the state of Virginia so that their voices in favor of gun rights for all are heard by lawmakers. They have one message for lawmakers – Virginia needs to be a constitutional carry state. Davis is of the opinion that as a woman, she would be less worried of being attacked, kidnapped, assaulted. or trafficked if she was armed with a gun. Davis feels that if the government takes away gun rights from citizens, all it would do is make people victims to every increasing crime.
The new laws were introduced in light of the several mass shootings that left the commonwealth shocked. Apart from Minnich and Davis, there were hundreds of Second Amendment supporters gathered around the historic Bell Tower on Lobby Day. The protests were organized to voice dissent against the slate of new gun safety measures proposed by Democrats.
However, on the other hand, there are activists voicing their opinion in favor of the newly introduced laws. Lori Haas, who is the advocacy manager with the John Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Solutions states that the recent mass shootings were deadly, and such incidents due to misuse of firearms result only in immeasurable pain and suffering to families across the Commonwealth.
Virginia has witnessed many mass shootings and it’s time to regulate the usage of firearms, which Haas states are ‘weapons of war’. Haas herself became an advocate for gun safety, after Emily, her daughter, was grazed twice during the 2007 shootings in Virginia Tech. Considering how unsafe Virginia has become over time, it has only become imminent for lawmakers to regulate the usage of guns, just like the usage of poisons, alcohol, prescription drugs, and other harmful substances is regulated by law.
In response to the recent mass shootings, Democrats have vowed to prohibit the sale of large-capacity magazines in Virginia. They also propose raising the minimum age to purchase an assault weapon from 18 years to 21 years. The Democrats have vowed to regulate access to guns and firearms, making it more difficult for people who shouldn’t have gun access to purchase them.
Senator Creigh Deeds sponsored what may be considered 2023’s key gun safety measure. Senate Bill 1382 proposes to ban the sale and possession of assault weapons manufactured after July 2023. This, along with the increase in the age limit to access guns and firearms are the key aspects of this proposed bill by the Democrats.
The Democrats are aware of the potential backlash they would receive from people, but they also know that something needs to be done in the wake of the mass shootings happening across the country. Senator Deeds states that the bill is designed to slow the spread of firearms on the streets and prevent their sale to people under the age of 21.
Quite a lot of citizens are of the opinion that instead of curbing gun rights, it would be better to enforce the existing criminal laws strictly. These protesting citizens are opposing the proposed changes in gun rights vehemently, as they believe it won’t stop at just curbing their gun rights – the Democrats will take away all their rights to even possess a firearm. To this, Davis says, “They can come take mine, but they’ll have to take me to jail.”
Charlottesville PI lawyers are of the opinion that, with two groups with two drastically opposite views about gun rights, it will be interesting to see how the Democrats go about getting the proposed gun rights bill approved and enforced on 1st July 2023, as promised. Until then, it will be to wait, protest and watch.