Virginia Governor Pushes Gun Control After Democrats Take State Houses, ‘Working’ on Confiscation Plan

By Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. news, including politics and court cases. He started at The Epoch Times as a New York City metro reporter.
November 8, 2019 Updated: November 8, 2019

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said a package of eight gun control bills will likely be passed in January when both state houses turn blue following the elections this week, adding that his administration is working on a plan to confiscate certain firearms from gun owners.

Northam, a Democrat, said in a statement after the election that voters indicated they wanted common-sense gun laws.

“They want us to finally pass commonsense gun safety legislation, so no one has to fear being hurt or killed while at school, at work, or at their place of worship,” he said.

Northam said at a cabinet meeting on Wednesday that he plans to reintroduce eight bills he says will “save lives and improve public safety in our communities.”

The bills include legislation banning so-called assault weapons, silencers, and high-capacity magazines.

“Prohibits any person from importing, selling, bartering, or transferring a firearms magazine designed to hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition,” the legislation stated.

“The bill redefines ‘assault firearm’ by reducing the number of rounds of ammunition that a firearms magazine will hold in order to be defined as an ‘assault firearm’ from more than 20 to more than 10 and prohibits any person from knowingly and intentionally possessing or transporting any assault firearm or from knowingly and intentionally carrying about his person, hidden from common observation, an assault firearm.”

There are also bills requiring lost or stolen firearms to be reported to law enforcement within 24 hours, reinstating state law after a 2012 repeal that would allow no more than one handgun purchase per 30 days, and allowing authorities to ban certain people from carrying firearms, a law known as “red flag.”

Inside The National Rifle Association Annual Meeting
AR-15 rifles are displayed on the exhibit floor during the National Rifle Association (NRA) annual meeting in Louisville, Kentucky on May 20, 2016. (Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg)

Asked if he supports confiscating weapons from gun owners if the law banning them passes, Northam told reporters: “That’s something I’m working [on] with our secretary of public safety.”

“I’ll work with the gun violence activists, and we’ll work [on] that. I don’t have a definitive plan today,” he added.

The ban Northam tried to get passed this year would bar the sale and possession of so-called assault firearms. Officials have different thoughts on how to enforce such bans, with some calling for a more hands-on approach and others endorsing passive measures such as holding events called buybacks where gun owners surrender their firearms and are given money in exchange.

Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) has been among those pushing gun confiscation, announcing at a debate over the summer that if elected president he would authorize the seizure of AR-15s and AK-47s from gun owners who legally purchased the firearms.

O’Rourke recently dropped out of the 2020 race.

While Democrats will hold majorities in both Virginia state houses in January, candidates were silent during the campaign on whether they supported Northam’s gun ban, reported the Washington Free Beacon.