Governor Ralph “Infanticide” Northam has called a special session of the Virginia General Assembly to address gun control legislation. This comes less than a week after the tragic mass shooting in Virginia Beach. A couple of bill’s that he is hoping to have brought up are restrictions on high capacity magazines, a ban on silencers ( which already take a special license to purchase), mandating universal background checks, limiting handgun purchases to one gun a month and what I feel is the worse violation of not only our 2nd Amendment rights but also those rights covered by the 4th and 5th Amendments and that is the introduction of Red Flag Laws.
None of these proposed laws would have altered the outcome of this tragedy in Virginia Beach. DeWayne Craddock had purchased the two handguns he used on separate occasions months apart. So, a one handgun a month law would not have made a difference. He also had to pass an FBI and Virginia State Police background check both times so a universal background check would not have made a difference. The silencer he used on the handgun as far as I know was purchased legally and requires an even more extensive background check that can take up to 6 months to process and is expensive, and as far as I can tell this is the first time a silencer has been used in a mass shooting in recent history. To ban high capacity magazines which seems to mean anything over ten rounds would also make little difference to anyone who has any experience with semi-auto handguns. It just takes one or two seconds to change out an empty magazine. However a ban on these magazines would negatively affect anyone relying on a gun for self-defense. Most people I know who carry concealed cannot always carry extra magazines and therefore rely on a weapon that has a higher capacity.
Finally, the biggest problem I have with Northam’s proposals is the one for Red Flag Laws, instituting these laws would be the equivalent of legalized swatting. It is supposed to allow people to report someone who they believe may do harm to others or themselves and without any reliable proof the authorities can seize the persons weapons without so much as a court order or allowing the accused to confront his accuser. In most cases the accused does not even know there is a problem until the police or in some cases the swat team is banging on their door. (Here is a previous post were I discuss the similarities of Red Flag Laws and swatting).
To summarize none of these new laws could have prevented the Virginia Beach shooting. The guns were legally purchased, and background checks were done. Magazines with 10 rounds or less would not have made this man decide against going on a shooting spree. The use of a silencer did not make the gun more deadly. The weapons were purchased months apart so the one gun a month law would not have been effective, and the Red Flag Law would not have made any difference since this man gave no sign of being a danger to others or himself. So, what we are looking at from our Governor is just another excuse to push his gun control agenda that he failed to get through during the last legislative session.