Sen. Lynwood Lewis, who represents Virginia’s Eastern Shore as well as part of Norfolk, says in a new editorial on the state of gun legislation that his focus is on what he deems “access issues” or, as he put it, “trying to make sure that the filter between those whom we all agree should not have access to firearms is a tight one.” That’s why Lewis says he supports the universal background check bill that cleared the Senate, as well as “red flag” legislation. Lewis says bills targeting guns and magazines are a different issue entirely.
To be clear, I am no fan of “red-flag” laws, mainly because of the likelihood there will be abuse by anti-gun zealots who will target gun owners. Also, any bill that mandates private sellers must do a background check on a buyer will do nothing to stop bad actors from illegally buying or acquiring weapons. But, right now it is very positive that a Democrat, and I doubt Sen. Lewis is the only one, is using common sense on actual bans. I also can safely assume that other Democrats are looking and listening to all the gun owners who are expressing their anger over these bills being pushed.
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.
In addition Senator Howell has proposed SB581 which is very problematic and further highlights the cultural divide in our Commonwealth. That bill has an unintended consequence making it very difficult for our young people between the ages of fourteen and eighteen to have access to firearms for hunting and other purposes. Unless that legislation is amended in some significant way I will not be voting in favor of it.
As to the actual math here, Cam Edwards lays that out
Democrats have a 21-19 advantage in Virginia’s state senate, which means without Lewis’s support, the best Democrats could hope for would be a 20-20 tie with the tie-breaking vote to approve a gun ban coming from Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax. At last report, however, Lewis has three other Democrat colleagues in the Senate who are also objecting to the current language of HB 961. If that voting bloc remains intact, Northam’s gun ban bill won’t have the votes to get to his desk.
Pray for these bills never pass folks, and yes keep calling your legislators, keep the pressure on