by Jose Nino, Big League Politics:
The NRA Institute of Legislative Action reported that budget bill (HB30) allocates a quarter million dollars to implement a set of gun control measures that Northam and his anti-gun cronies are anxious to carry out in the upcoming session of the Virginia state legislature.
The $250,000 is to be assigned to the Corrections Special Reserve Fund in order to facilitate the “increase in the operating cost of adult correctional facilities resulting from the enactment” of Northam’s gun control policies. Among the laws listed that this budget is expected to cover is a ban on conventional semi-automatic firearms, the criminalization of private firearms, and red flag gun confiscation orders.
These gun control policies will do very little to reduce crime.
Long guns of any type are rarely used in violent crime incidents. According to a 2018 FBI report, there were five times as many people killed in cases involving “knives or cutting instruments” than with rifles of any kind. In addition, the data also demonstrated that rifles were used in less homicides than “blunt objects (clubs, hammers, etc.)” or “personal weapons (hands, fists, feet, etc.).”
Similarly, a study that the Department of Justice funded in 1997 covering the 1994 federal “assault weapons” ban found that “At best, the assault weapons ban can have only a limited effect on total gun murders, because the banned weapons and magazines were never involved in more than a modest fraction of all gun murders.”
A subsequent Department of Justice-funded study in 2004 reached a similar conclusion. The study found that “AWs [assault weapons] and LCMs [large capacity magazines] were used in only a minority of gun crimes prior to the 1994 federal ban,” “relatively few attacks involve more than 10 shots fired,” and “the ban’s effects on gun violence are likely to be small at best and perhaps too small for reliable measurement.”
Universal background checks also don’t prevent criminals from acquiring firearms. They’ll either steal them or acquire them on the black market. According to the DOJ, 75 percent of criminals in state and federal state prison who possessed a firearm during their crime obtained the weapon by stealing it, “Off the street/underground market,” or “from a family member or friend, or as a gift.” Less than one percent bought their firearms from dealers or non-dealers at gun shows. The ATF also discovered that “[t]he most frequent type of trafficking channel identified in ATF investigations is straw purchasing from federally licensed firearms dealers.”
Researchers at the Bloomberg School of Public Health and the UC Davis School of Medicine discovered that comprehensive background checks and prohibitions based on violent misdemeanors “were not associated with changes in firearm suicide or homicide.”
The NRA-ILA piece notes that red flag gun confiscations orders are not needed in Virginia “because the state already has strong and effective civil commitment laws.”
It also highlighted the following:
Under Virginia law, a law enforcement officer may take an individual into emergency custody for a mental health evaluation without prior court approval. A person detained in this manner is then evaluated to determine whether they meet the criteria for a temporary detention. A person that was subject to a temporary detention order and subsequently agreed to voluntary admission to a mental health facility is prohibited from possessing firearms until their rights are restored by a court.
All in all, Virginia’s gun control laws will do nothing to stop crime, but it will strip hundreds of thousands of law-abiding individuals of their God-given right to self-defense while criminals get to prey on them at will.