Virginia State Sen. Lynwood Lewis (D) is taking a path that differs from that of Governor Ralph Northam (D) by vowing no support for gun or magazine bans.
Lewis used an op-ed in the Shore Daily News to point out that one “assault weapons” ban never made it out of committee and to make clear he will not vote for others if they do.
The bill which rightfully had everyone very concerned (SB16) never even made it out of committee. That is why I caution everyone who was so worried about the bill that anybody can introduce a bill — whether it passes or not is a completely different question. There is no Senate bill now regarding the banning of assault rifles. The Governor’s bill on this topic was introduced in the House of Delegates and is being carried by Delegate Mark Levine. As I stated publicly before the Session and as was reported in Eastern Shore news media I will not be supporting any type of ban legislation whether on a particular type of firearm or a particular type of magazine.
The bill being pushed by Levine, HB 961, would require AR-15 owners to get a license from state police in order to keep their guns. The licensing process would also be used create a database that would allow the government to know the whereabouts of every AR-15 and every AR-15 owner.
Lewis also expressed his opposition to raising the age for rifle purchases from 18 to 21 years. He wrote:
Senator [Dick] Saslaw put in a bill which would raise the legal age for firearm purchases to twenty-one. As a general philosophical approach to legislation which seeks to increase the age threshold from eighteen to twenty-one I have a problem, since we allow eighteen year olds to vote and in all other respects be treated as adult members of society. I do not believe that we can pick and choose for which things they should be held accountable as adults. We should have had that discussion decades ago when we decided to treat eighteen year olds as full adults. Unless we want to have that larger discussion again, I will resist increasing the age to twenty-one.
Northam made clear his plans for a war on guns shortly after the Democrats won their majority in November. But Lewis is making clear his focus will be on firearm access, not on banning guns or magazines or denying gun rights to young men who are old enough to fight in the military.
AWR Hawkins is an award-winning Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and the writer/curator of Down Range with AWR Hawkins, a weekly newsletter focused on all things Second Amendment, also for Breitbart News. He is the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at email@example.com. Sign up to get Down Range at breitbart.com/downrange.