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Virginia Gov. Northam’s New Gun Law: Register Your Weapons, So I Can Confiscate Them at a Later Date

After Virginia Governor Ralph Northam (D) and his Michael Bloomberg-backed General Assembly allies successful push for sweeping gun control legislation, the governor has added a new wrinkle.

He told the Virginia Mercury newspaper that he also supports a gun ban bill that, while allowing currently possessed firearms to be grandfathered, owners will be required to “register the newly prohibited firearms” with the government. Any astute gun owner knows this kind of registration is the first step towards confiscation.

The details of Northam’s ban on “assault” weapons have yet to be released but the governor is trying to head off his opponents saying, “I’m a supporter of the Second Amendment…” and “we’re not going to propose or pass any unconstitutional laws.”

That sounds good, but history shows that confiscation is always bound to follow. Consider the experiences of gun owners in Bloomberg’s hometown of New York City.

The city passed an ordinance requiring gun owners to register their rifles and shotguns in 1967 followed by Mayor David N. Dinkins and the New York City Council enacting a bill to prohibit the possession of semi-automatic rifles and shotguns in 1991.

The year after that police raided a Staten Island man’s home in response to his announcement he would not comply with the city’s gun ban. He was arrested and his guns seized and destroyed.

After that, The New York City Police Department notified 2,340 New Yorkers who had been licensed earlier to possess semi-automatic rifles and shotguns that those licenses had been revoked. Despite the commitment to grandfather such weapons, New York City required those guns to either be turned in or removed from the city limits.

New York passed an ordinance prohibiting the possession of rifles or shotguns capable of holding more than five rounds of ammunition in 2010. Then, in 2013, the NYPD sent letters to owners of legally registered firearms to modify those weapons and submit documentation to that they had done so or remove them from the city.

Despite what Gov. Northam may think, gun owners are well-informed and are not stupid. They understand that the move to register guns in Virginia is an integral step in a broader plan to disarm law-abiding Americans.

Having learned their lesson well of previous sneaky gun control measures, citizens in other states have simply taken their weapons off the radar.

New York State police reveal massive non-compliance with the gun registration provisions of the state’s SAFE act. Of the estimated 1.2 million semi-automatic firearms within the state that were required to be registered, 23,847 people registered 44,485 guns, a compliance rate of 4%.

When Connecticut required residents to register “commonly-owned semiautomatic firearms, and individual magazines with a capacity greater than 10,” in 2013 the result was similar. From an estimated several hundred thousand guns and 2.4 million magazines, Connecticut gun owners registered 50,016 firearms and 38,290 magazines.

Even liberal California has fared no better. When that state enacted a law requiring registration of semi-automatic firearms in 1989, few were turned in. A February 17, 1992 Los Angeles Times article reported that a year after the law was enacted only 46,062 semi-autos were registered. A 90-day amnesty period proved to only net 13,470 firearms.

Now Virginia gun owners must organize to stand and fight against Northam’s gun registration plan.


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