Shaun Kenney | The Republican Standard
Virginia’s General Assembly intends to govern beyond the reach of citizens using COVID-19 as the excuse. Is that good government?
The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that the Virginia House of Delegates will meet in a special session at the VCU Siegel Center in downtown Richmond, an area recently ravaged by looting and riots and still under threat from BLM and Antifa activity.
By contrast, the Virginia State Senate will convene in the Virginia Science Museum just up the road on Broad Street.
The gathering will involve sufficient social distancing and other safety precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the speaker’s office said. The Siegel Center will be closed to the public while lawmakers conduct business inside. (emphasis added)
Now that’s a lot to digest, but let’s break down what the Democratic-controlled General Assembly is doing here:
Holding a special session.
Away from the State Capitol.
To address the COVID-19 pandemic and gun control.
In the middle of an area ravaged by and prone to riots.
Away from the influence of citizen lobbyists.
With online rather than in person voting.
If there was any better way to cannibalize and pressure elected officials in the dead of night then this is the way you’d do it.
Of course, the normal purveyors of “good government” on the left seem awfully quiet about all of this.
But conservatives should be wary on two fronts. First and foremost is the Democratic reaction to the pandemic and whether we are about to get a one-size-fits-all solution that might work great in a cubicle at One James Center, but terrible in Floyd County.
Second and perhaps most concerning is the Trojan Horse of gun control. After 26,000 Virginians showed up to peacefully exercise their Second Amendment rights, Northam immediately declared a state of emergency to put down the “mob” of citizens.
Yet after 60 days of rioting and looting in Richmond? Nothing. Other than calls to utterly disarm and emasculate our law enforcement officers, that is.
Let’s call this one out for what it is. Rendering communities defenseless against leftist mobs is peak stupid. Democrats can wave their hands in the air and say that’s crazy talk, but the Lucy and the Football approach to governance is long past its sell date.
No small wonder then why Virginians should be suspicious if not hostile towards a special session whose true aim isn’t addressing a pandemic, but rather using the emergency to push an agenda that will disarm law-abiding Virginians, disarm police, and make our first responders even more vulnerable to the modern day version of the Red Guards.
More alarming is this. Pro-2A groups such as the Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL) and Virginia Hunting Dog Alliance (VAHDA) will be prohibited from even approaching their elected representatives — all in the name of the pandemic. Nevermind organizations with a longer reach such as Gun Owners of America (GOA), the National Rifle Association (NRA) and the National Association of Gun Rights (NAGR).
In the name of the pandemic, a similar rally like the one we witnessed in January would be verboten. Nevermind that all of America has been treated to 60 consecutive days of BLM/Antifa violence.
Virginians who are lawfully exercising their constitutionally protected rights will now have to wonder as the Democrats push lawmakers into the equivalent of a papal conclave. Democrats will say that is because of the pandemic; Republicans know that it is the only way they can push their agenda for gun confiscation.
As before, they will nibble at the edges with arguments such as one-gun-a-month, 10 round magazines, or the prohibition of assault weapons. All of these infringements sound so reasonable after all — and that’s all the left wants is reasonable infringements of our 2A rights.
Before we succumb to those arguments against the 2A, let’s consider how they sound when applied to the 1A? Specifically, what sort of reasonable restrictions of your freedoms would you tolerate?
Extreme Risk Protective Order for free speech?
One book a month?
Banned books for dangerous individuals?
Banning “assault magazines” with more than 10 pages?
Preventing children from accessing certain books?
Requiring you report lost and stolen ideas to your local law enforcement?
Waiting period before purchasing a book?
Red flag laws to take your books away?
Prohibitions on owning books, magazines, or newspapers?
Charging you with a felony if you read a book among others who have intimate knowledge of the author?
Grandfathering certain books as being too dangerous?
More Americans are killed with blunt force objects than with assault weapons in the United States.
Fatality rate due to assault weapons? 0.06 per 100,000.
Fatality rate due to blunt force weapons? 0.13 per 100,000.
Fatality rate of asthma? 3.54 per 100,000.
Fatality rate of firearms due to violent crime? 4.46 per 100,000.
Fatality rate of the flu over the course of a year? 6.9 per 100,000.
Fatality rate of firearms through suicide? 7.32 per 100,000.
Fatality rate through motor vehicles? 12.28 per 100,000.
Fatality rate due to COVID-19 over the last 7 months? 47.9 per 100,000
Fatality rate of diabetes? 61 per 100,000.
Overall fatality rate in the United States? 863.8 per 100,000.
Remember, ideas are more dangerous than weapons.
If you wouldn’t tolerate such restrictions on your 1A rights, do not tolerate such restrictions on your 2A rights… because when they take away the 2nd, it’s an extremely short path to taking away the 1st.
As for the inalienable right to the 2A? Our Founders weren’t worried about a tyrannical deer population or a deer uprising, but rather because they implicitly understood that political freedom is inherently linked with the ability to resist the tyrannical imposition of either a mob or a tyrant.
I don’t need an AR-15 to hunt; that’s not why I own an AR-15. Nor am I afraid of my neighbors who do own firearms precisely because in America, we trust one another to be responsible citizens in a free society. Lose that? You lose America.
It was precisely this reason why James Madison warned against defining our rights in a Bill of Rights, because once you allow government to define them, tyrants will always erode them.
As for Virginia Democrats? If you’re going to play high stakes poker, do it in the light of day and with the courage of your convictions. Let citizen lobbyists interact with and offer their input freely and without draconian restrictions.
Don’t do it in the dark.
Otherwise, when the pendulum swings back to the Republicans? Expect this playbook and do not whine about process when you only observed it in the breach.
Shaun Kenney is the editor of The Republican Standard, former chairman of the Board of Supervisors for Fluvanna County, and a former executive director of the Republican Party of Virginia.