If one believes the report on Thursday’s NPR Morning Edition program that next month Virginia voters are likely to send more Democrats to the House of Delegates and perhaps the Senate, and that Democratic voters’ top priority this year is gun control, I think we should anticipate that expanded background checks for gun buyers as well as a “Red Flag” law are distinct possibilities.

Republican office holders need to be aware that both of those new laws must be carefully written; members must use whatever influence they can muster, along with support from Democratic delegates and senators to ensure that the laws do not result in undue restrictions on legal gun ownership.

Expanded background checks, which sound intuitively desirable to many voters, are most likely to have a negligible impact on the mass murder events that drive the Democrats’ desire to do something. Given that we know that most of the recent mass murders were perpetrated by individuals who acquired their firearms legally, to include passing a background check, expanding the law to include private sales will probably be nothing more than an added inconvenience imposed on law-abiding gun owners.

Writing such laws so that firearms that are bequeathed to a beneficiary who has already passed background checks is not required to submit to one for every gun in a bequest is an example of what legislators should be alert to.

Likewise, so-called Red Flag laws, while they may be helpful in preventing a deranged individual from committing murder with a firearm, can result in unwarranted and unjust legal problems unless the law is written to protect gun owners from malicious or capricious complaints.

Hard on the heels of both new laws we can expect to see the Democrats pursue so-called Assault Weapon bans and large capacity magazine restrictions. Again, Republican office- holders, along with more conservative Democrats, can inject some reason into the proceedings.

“Assault Weapon” is at best a misnomer and at worst an outright falsehood when referring to the popular civilian version of the military’s M16 rifle. To be considered an assault weapon the gun must be capable of full automatic fire. These were initially banned for civilian ownership under the National Firearms Act of 1934.

They are still banned unless one passes a thorough background investigation and pays a hefty tax. The civilian version of the M16 is simply a semi-automatic rifle, one shot per trigger pull, similar in operation to millions of firearms that have been legally manufactured, sold, and owned by civilians since many decades before the M16 format was invented. A ban on such rifles would be of no value in the effort to reduce the occurrence of mass murder.

Finally, large capacity magazines, used widely in shooting competitions, should be allowed by law for such purposes if the Democrats are successful in passing laws that restrict them. But you can bet that absent vigorous Republican intervention the law would be unnecessarily restrictive and even confiscatory.

Democrats generally don’t buy the notion that gun ownership was guaranteed in the Constitution as a deterrent to government overreach, so our rights are fair game to them. If Virginia goes as blue as is predicted, our Republican office-holders will have to earn their keep by preserving as much or our Second Amendment rights as possible, especially considering the Democrats’ ultimate goal is virtual elimination of private civilian gun ownership.

James Sherry is a resident of Frederick County.

(17) comments


"Bowling for Columbine", Michael Moore's acclaimed film about gun violence in America, airs on MSNBC tonight at 9PM.


Here's something that every American can do to show solidarity with those traumatized by gun violence: join the National Sing-In Against Gun Violence on Requiem and Remembrance Day, March 8, 2020.

Through our collective songs, we'll acknowledge our sadness, pay tribute to those who have been lost and offer solace and support to the bereaved.

Plenty of live and online events, even if you can't carry a tune.


History has shown that confronting an oppressive government is best accomplished with mass demonstrations, general strikes, and nonviolent resistance. How many Glock packing patriots would it take to knock out a single Bradley Fighting Vehicle? The stark reality is that automatic rifles are the weapon of choice for mass carnage at the hands of violent psychopaths. Insanity is defined as doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results-- We have to get a handle on this! Those who insist that we cannot should reacquaint themselves with the lost rights of innocent victims of senseless gun violence .



Until those mass strikes come about (if they ever do...how many years did Ceausescu run roughshod over Romania before people finally rose up? Nice when they did, but cold comfort to those who perished in the mean time.


The mass shooting death rate by population is one third the U.S. rate in Canada. One fourth our rate in Germany. One tenth in Italy.


Shooting rates are extremely rare among prisoners whose movements and possessions are heavily regulated. Shaking, however, is on the rise.


Shanking,I meant to say, was on the rise.


Our nation will never reach the point where citizens cannot respond to a mortal threat with deadly force. The question is, How Much Force? Tactical Nukes for Everybody!!!


My point was actually that in a prison might be the only place you could actually get rid of firearms in any meaningful way and that, as you say, we will never reach the point where somebody can't or won't use something to do harm to someone else. I wouldn't want to live in a prison, even one called a country by some. As far as tactical nukes, their upkeep would be prohibitive for most normal families. Who would want to spend the weekend washing off the family missile?


And these "sane" policies would be???. Just turn onbthe news in DC . Like a darn war zone. Do you think these criminals passed background checks or bought their firearms legally??. These are unstable mentally people, drug dealers and gang members. I wish everyone would understand CRIMINALS AND SICKOS DON'T CARE ABOUT THE LAW. What the liberals really want as Beto said is confiscation . But that will not solve the real problem. Any firearm is rapidfire. Have you ever gone to a competition for relvovers?. These people can shoot reload and shoot faster than most people can get off rounds in a "ar style, only in looks rifle. Take care of the real problem criminals. Quit spanking them on the wrist and letting them out of jail. They know basically there is no consequence for their actions. Ill shut up now. Quit beating the proverbial dead horse. Sorry ping , i know that horse is far from dead, just cant help myself


Our country is first and foremost of all the nations on Earth in these bizarre mass murders inflicted by psychopaths with rapid-fire weapons. Most modern nations have long since enacted sane policies to prevent these brutal and senseless crimes. This problem has been successfully solved; only not in America.


What, exactly, would be a sane policy that you think would be successful in America?


These crazy libs want nothing more than complete gun confiscation. Ain't gonna happen, because criminals will still have them. More people are killed per day in the US involving automobiles than guns, yet you don't hear the whiny babies crying for auto confiscation, do you? Liberals are so out of touch with what America is, that they would be better off living in China, so they can see first hand what they want.


Consider: the second Amendment speaks in the context of militias, the "right of the people" may not necessarily refer to individuals. Have the Governor of each state charter militia 'clubs' with officers who hold the keys to the militia's armory. These become social organizations where the officers and members can keep an eye out, and the members can plink at anything they want. The Governor could even call upon his militias in times of need (sucks if that interferes with your schedule!). It could actually work.

Keep in mind that our 243 year old constitution is the work of egalitarian agrarian slave owning elitists who didn't understand electricity and only had muzzleloading muskets. Times have changed!


How do people defend themselves? How do they defend their rights against, God forbid it should ever come to it, a tyrannical govt?


The governor actually already has a militia of a sort at his/her disposal...two, really. First, the National Guard, and, secondly, the Virginia Defense Force. The general militia of citizens is what we are talking about....those armed citizens not part of those forces.


Sheriff Millholland says he is an Independent but he quickly endorsed Ralph Northam for Governor in 2017 and Mark Herring for Attorney General in 2013 & 2017. I do not think their views are consistent with the majority of Frederick County voter’s views and our gun rights. I hope every voter realizes Mr. Millholland must agree with their policies or he wouldn’t have endorsed them. I personally believe if an elected official uses the weight of his office to endorse candidates and influence voters that the candidates need to have views most aligned to his constituents.

I am supporting Mr. Sibert this time – Learn more about him on Facebook “Sibert for Frederick County Sheriff” and I am sure you will agree with me.

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