Americans need to respect each other, and on Monday, we got an example of how it can be done in Virginia. But most of the time, we don’t really do it, do we? The Democrats in Virginia expected another Charlottesville, and they made it clear they were expecting the worst. They were outspoken and disrespectful. And, no doubt, they were disappointed.
In Richmond last Monday, it was the voice of reason, the voice of the Right, the gun owners of Virginia, who came to express their concern for their gun rights and their support for their 2nd Amendment rights, who made their point peacefully and respectfully. And that, my friends, is exactly the way it should be.
On Monday, January 20, it was Martin Luther King’s birthday, a national holiday in the U.S. It was also Lobby Day in Richmond, Virginia, a day when Virginians can bring their grievances to the State House. For Virginia citizens to come to the capital, meet their legislators, and see first-hand what’s happening at the General Assembly on the issues we all care about. Sometimes they lobby for healthcare issues, or education, and they may draw as many as several hundred people.
But this year was different. It wasn’t several hundred people. It was twenty-two thousand people⏤from all over Virginia and the rest of the country. And it wasn’t about healthcare or education. It was about the Second Amendment and the people who came were passionate.
When the Democrats took the Virginia State House and the Capitol in Richmond Virginia, in the last mid-term elections, the newly minted Governor Ralph Northam made some promises. Among them was a promise to introduce some strong gun control bills once the House and Senate reconvened in January 2019.
He was certain that because the state had “turned blue” in the November midterm elections, and both the House and Senate were controlled by the Democrats (for the first time in 26 years), his bills would easily become law. “And”, he said, “because of that, Virginia will be safer.”
And Northam kept his promise.
On January 4, 2019, the governor introduced his gun control package to the Virginia legislature. The package included requirements for universal background checks; the establishment of an Extreme Risk Protective Order; reinstatement of Virginia’s One Handgun a Month law (which had been in force for twenty years before it was repealed in 2012 by a Republican legislature).
It would also prohibit individuals under “extreme risk protective orders” from possessing firearms, and it would ban assault firearms altogether. He also introduced a prohibition on bump stocks, and high capacity magazines. He proposed to prevent children from accessing firearms; and requires individuals to report lost or stolen firearms to law enforcement.
So is Virginia really at risk? Is it more at risk than any other state, and will these new laws, if they are passed, make any difference?
Here are the numbers: Virginia has a population of over 8 million residents, and there are roughly 1,000 deaths by guns in Virginia every year. But here is another number that maybe you didn’t know: about 2/3 of those death by guns were not homicides or accidents, they were suicides. And while the number of homicides in Virginia has been dropping, while the number of suicides has been rising.
So will new, stronger gun laws, designed to fight what some call the wave of mass shootings in the country, make Virginians safer? Will there be fewer gun deaths in Virginia if the bills become law? How do you measure the rate of suicides against the rate of mass shootings?
Well, Northam and his Democrats think it will. The Governor kept his promise, and the Democrats clearly were ready to come back to work⏤with guns blazing, so to speak.
But 16,000 Virginians and their supporters didn’t agree. And they voted with their feet in Richmond.
Except for a few places, like Richmond, the capital of Virginia, and Fairfax County, just outside Washington, which are both heavily Democrat, Virginians are waking up. And they are not liking what they see they have done to their Commonwealth. They have allowed Democrats to take control of Richmond, and now these newly elected Democrats are taking over their gun rights as well. Virginians want to stop these proposed gun laws from being passed. So they came to Richmond on Monday.
Over the last year, a grass roots movement has been growing in Virginia and it has been making waves. 100 of Virginia’s 135 communities have adopted some form of Second Amendment Sanctuary resolutions, creating a legal framework within they could defend themselves from the proposed laws, safeguard their guns, and honor the protections provided to them by the 2nd Amendment.
If you’ve ever lived in Virginia, and I have – twice – you will know that the Commonwealth of Virginia – also known as Old Dominion – is largely rural, although there are some large cities as well, including Norfolk, Newport News, Richmond, and Portsmouth. But rural Virginia has a character of its own that is fiercely independent and ruggedly proud⏤and Virginians are possessive of its guns.
Virginia also has an important place in American history. It was one of the original 13 colonies, and played a big role in both the American Revolution and the framing of the founding documents. It was here that Patrick Henry told the 2nd Virginia Convention “Give me liberty or give me death.”
And unlike many other parts of the country, Virginians still remember their history. So Virginia is living up to its history and standing up to a tyranny of government that directly contradicts the U.S. Constitution and its Bill of Rights.
But the government of the commonwealth is standing firm. Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring said to the Sanctuary Counties, “When the General Assembly passes new gun safety laws they will be enforced, and they will be followed. These [2A Sanctuary] resolutions have no legal force, and they’re just part of an effort by the gun lobby to stoke fear.”
But this is exactly what the 2nd Amendment was written to protect us from⏤a tyrannical government that wants to take away our rights⏤including our right to bear arms and protect ourselves⏤especially from them and their threats of taking our Constitutional rights away from us. Our founding fathers protected us with the Bill of Rights. And the Second Amendment says, “The right to bear arms shall NOT be infringed.”
So on Monday, January 20, gun owners from all over the state and some even from out of state, descended on Richmond – bearing arms – for its annual Lobby Day. The elected officials panicked.
Governor Northam was terrified that Charlottesville would repeat itself in Richmond, and he declared a state of emergency for five days⏤from January 17 until January 21. He announced: “”We have received credible intelligence from our law enforcement agencies of threats of violence surrounding the demonstration planned for Monday, January 20. This includes extremist rhetoric similar to what has been seen before major incidents, such as Charlottesville in 2017.”
He particularly referred to white nationalist rhetoric and plans by out-of-state militia members to attend. The predominantly Democrat Virginia Legislature voted to temporarily ban guns in the state Capitol building.
So what happened on Monday? It wasn’t easy to find out, I’m afraid, because the media didn’t cover it. Was there a repetition of what happened in Charlottesville in 2017? Did the White nationalists show up and make trouble? Did groups like Antifa and Black Lives Matter show up to counter-demonstrate? Why didn’t the media cover it?
Why? Because nothing happened! There was no riot. Twenty-two thousand people converged on Richmond and protested the new proposed gun control laws. But the protest rally was peaceful and orderly and respectful.
It wasn’t violent or a display of white supremacy. It was, instead, a peaceful assembly to let Virginia’s government know that basic rights, including those enumerated in our Constitution, matter to a lot of people. The White Supremacists that Northam and his fellow Democrats feared didn’t show up.
When thousands of people showed up in Richmond on Monday⏤six thousand of them were allowed to come into the capital grounds and the remaining sixteen thousand or so gathered outside the fence and on the streets and sidewalks surrounding the capital grounds. Most of them came to protest the proposed new gun control laws, and they all behaved the way they should. In that huge pro-gun crowd, the only ones to show up were the law-abiding, patriotic, 2nd-Amendment-supporting Virginians and their out-of-state supporters, who were law abiding and peaceful.
To the disappointment of the media, the event was⏤uneventful. Not newsworthy. It didn’t bleed, so it didn’t lead.
Northam, of course, took credit for “de-escalating” the potential violence. Really! He said in a tweet, “We are all thankful that today passed without incident. The teams successfully de-escalated what could have been a volatile situation. I will continue to listen to the voices of Virginians, and will do everything in my power to keep our Commonwealth safe.” Not exactly.
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam did everything in his power to create an environment where violence was likely. But it didn’t happen. Because, as we have already seen at countless Trump rallies, which invariably draw tens of thousands of people, the folks who support our Constitution and take it seriously are not skin-heads, or white nationalists, or provocateurs. They are not the ones who riot and promote violence. They are patriots who love this country, love our Constitution, and believe in our ability to protect ourselves, our families, our communities, and our country. They respect each other, they demonstrate, they make their point, and then they clean up their trash, and they go home.
What happened on Monday wasn’t a surprise to any of us. It was what we expected.
Will this change anything in the broader picture? Probably not. But it should stand as a lesson to Americans that it can be done. And should be done. And maybe – just maybe – it shows us that America is not quite ready to give up its democratic principles and give in to socialism. The hateful rhetoric, the angry tweets, and the threats of violence⏤those belong largely to the left⏤to Antifa and Black Lives Matter, not to the Patriots who love this country and believe in its future. Maybe, just maybe, we learned on Monday that there is still hope for this great nation after all.
What remains to be seen in Virginia now is whether anyone in the State House was actually listening on Monday, and what the legislature is going to do when they take up the gun control bills next week.
Will they listen to the voices of the people in 100 Virginia counties and cities in their commonwealth? Or will the Virginia Democrats at the State House fall back on the tired old tropes⏤the arguments of the left, that guns are evil and must be taken away from the hands of the wild-eyed Republicans or the country will fall to violence.
I think they have it exactly backwards. It is the people who respect our Constitution, and all that it stands for, who will bind this country together. And in Richmond, if they don’t listen to the voices of their constituents, they will be sowing the seeds of more chaos and violence.
In the last election, only 53.4% of the electorate came out to vote. The Democrats came out in great numbers, while the Republicans mostly stayed home. And that is what brought on this wave of gun legislation and the efforts of the left to suppress constitutionally guaranteed individual rights.
Have the people on the right⏤the people who carried their guns to Richmond, learned that there is a reason for the ballot, and that if they don’t exercise their right to vote, they risk losing many more rights than that one. It is the right to vote that helps us to ensure the preservation of all our other rights.
It is a balance. In the face of tyranny, it is our right to bear arms that protects us. But before it comes to tyranny, it’s our right to vote that maintains America as our bastion of freedom, that ensures that we have a government that upholds and preserves our Constitution, so that we do not have to resort to our guns to protect our right to carry them.
Image: Epoch Times