Legislative Affairs Committee Update July 2022


The Virginia Senate and House are not in session, so your Friendly Neighborhood Legislative Action Committee (FNLAC) is reporting on recent actions at the federal level which will have repercussions for years to come. 

But first, deserving mention is the thwarted attempt at another mass shooting, this one in the Commonwealth, in our capital, planned for July 4. The Richmond Police Department received a tip regarding a planned attack, and they acted promptly to arrest two illegal immigrants (who had been deported multiple times); police seized two rifles and hundreds of rounds of ammunition. We should all be aware that, according to VCDL, the “vast majority of public mass shootings” take place in “gun-free” zones, among them parks or anywhere a permitted event (or event that should have been permitted) takes place. This is Virginia law, crafted in Richmond, so your FNLAC enjoins you to remember this in upcoming elections.

Attacks on the U.S. Constitution and the country’s foundational institutions, including federalism and states’ rights, are manifested in the increasing attempts to centralize gun legislation. Recent actions at the federal level will ultimately have impact in all the states.

U.S. Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court weighed in on its first Second Amendment case since 2008 in New York Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, a 6-3 decision that a New York law whose origins date back over a century restricting the carrying of guns outside the home is unconstitutional. While this will almost certainly impact all other “may-issue” state laws, it is already affecting “shall-issue” states (Virginia is a “shall-issue” state). This is considered a victory for Second Amendment supporters. VCDL says, “NYRPA v Bruen provides a huge tool for gun-rights organizations to use in defeating existing and future gun control”.

From a senior member of our own FR&GC, your FNLAC has learned there has already been an anti-gun reaction in Delaware, a “may-issue” state, where in June legislators imposed restrictions on magazine size (17 rounds). It appears to be law in Delaware now. We suppose that members of the Delaware house of delegates and senate have friends with handguns with magazines that accommodate 17 rounds. The impact of such legislation is obvious, as already at least one club in the First State has put on hold a previously scheduled rifle meet.

FYI: May-Issue States

The modus operandi of “may-issue” states is to require a permit applicant to supply an explanation for wanting to own a firearm. Then, an unelected official decides whether or not there is “due cause” for the permit. Once the ruling is made, the applicant usually has no recourse or appeal. A member of NYPRA and friend of your FNLAC says that in NY in particular, the judges and sheriffs who adjudicate such applications have not been required even to give a reason for denial. Clearly, the concentration of such power in unelected individuals has potential for abuse. In NYRPA v Bruen, the SCOTUS has determined that this is not constitutional, a decision to be cheered.

“Bipartisan Safer Communities Act”

On the other hand, President Biden recently signed bipartisan legislation (supported by 14 Senate Republicans) that has raised the ire of Second Amendment supporters. Fortunately, it is not as impactful as one might expect or gun-control crowds hoped for. It features the following:

Juvenile criminal records to be included in background checks for gun buyers under 21.

Increased sentencing to 15 years for trafficking black-market firearms. 

25-year sentence if trafficked firearm is used in commission of a felony, drug trafficking, or act of terror.

New funding for school safety enhancements and mental health treatment programs.

A FR&GC member reports that those who repeatedly buy and sell firearms “to predominantly earn a profit” will be required to register as federal firearm licensees. This could impact frequent swap meet sellers; the mechanism of enforcement is not clear. 

Federal incentives for states to pass “red flag” laws.

Red Flags

The “red flag” provision is potentially very problematic, and citizens will need to monitor this. Your FNLAC will point out that some of the most rigorous “red flag” laws in our nation, those of New York and Illinois, failed catastrophically in the recent mass murders in Buffalo and Hyde Park, respectively. In both cases, there were glaring indications of behavior by both of these disturbed young men/monsters that should have raised numerous “red flags”. The potential for abuse of “red flag” laws, particularly with regards to due process, is obvious. 

If there is anything good, the good news on this law is that it is not a federal red flag law. Rather, it incentivizes states to pass their own red flag laws. Also notable is the conspicuous absence of the notorious “assault weapons” ban. Finally, the minimum age to buy certain long rifles was not raised. 

From the Executive Branch

President Biden, in his efforts to use the power of the executive branch to enact gun legislation, has directed the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) to issue new regulations on the un-serialized, privately made firearms (AKA “ghost guns” among those in the anti-gun movement and the legacy media — apologies for the repetitiousness). According to Amy Swearer of the Heritage Foundation’s Meese Center for Legal and Judicial Studies, the final version will go into effect in August. It regulates the sale of unfinished firearm frames and receivers if those unfinished parts are “readily convertible” into finished ones. Under existing federal law, only finished frames and receivers are regulated as firearms. With the new rule, “readily convertible” unfinished frames or receivers (or DIY kits containing them) will be regulated just like finished ones. The new regulations also include new, cumbersome record-keeping requirements for FFLs, increasing the cost and complexity of doing business. Ms. Swearer concludes, “In our system of government, the power to make and change laws belongs to Congress, and to Congress alone. It does not belong to executive agencies—not even those that purport to act reasonably.” Your FNLAC will continue to monitor this unconstitutional over-reach of the federal agency.

More Pearls from the President

President Biden repeatedly expresses his support for “common sense” gun legislation. Clearly, citizens among the coprophagous masses who disagree with said legislation lack common sense. For your inspiration, we provide for you the president’s most recent remarks regarding 9mm ammunition while visiting a New York trauma facility, where he claims that doctors told him “…a .22-caliber bullet will lodge in the lung, and we can probably get it out—may be able to get it and save the life.” But “a 9mm bullet blows the lung out of the body.” He concluded that “…the idea of these high-caliber weapons is…there’s simply no rational basis for it in terms of self-protection, hunting…And remember, the Constitution, the Second Amendment was never absolute.” This is the rousing substance of our nation’s leaders, truly inspiring.

Regarding Our Neighbors North and South 

Because many of our political leaders, particularly the globalists who believe that the notion of US sovereignty is at best quaint but certainly no longer a priority, seek inspiration from other countries on how to disarm and control their citizens, your FNLAC believes that it is worthwhile to keep your eyes on gun legislation outside the USA. 

It is unlikely that such public servants would look to Brazil for ideas: Under President Bolsonaro, violent crime in Brazil has decreased materially with the substantial loosening of laws governing gun ownership and reduction in the cost of permits. 

In June, your FNLAC reported on gun control measures in Canada which were imposed unilaterally by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. In 2020 he banned over 1,500 firearms, and Bill C-21, which he introduced at the end of May, prohibits Canadians from buying, selling, transferring, or importing handguns. Stating, “This is about freedom,” Bishop Trudeau (unaware of the irony) continued, “People should be free to go to the supermarket, their school or their place of worship without fear.” While the Canadian government works out how exactly to confiscate the weapons, the 75,000-member National Firearms Association is trying to mount a response to the measures. We in the U.S. would do well to recognize that among our leaders are those who search abroad for ideas about how to control us. While Canada moves in the direction of Australia, with gun confiscation around the corner, we should remind our fellow citizens that the U.S. Bill of Rights was compiled in order to add further protection for rights which were considered God-given and unalienable. The Second Amendment was written to guarantee the right of the individual to protect himself and the community, to ensure that the government would not be able to disarm the citizens en masse. 

Quote of the Month

“The constitutional right to bear arms in public for self-defense is not ‘a second-class right, subject to an entirely different body of rules than the other Bill of Rights guarantees …. We know of no other constitutional right that an individual may exercise only after demonstrating to government officers some special need.” Clarence Thomas, writing for the majority in NYRPA v Bruen

Your Friendly Neighborhood Legislative Action Committee, humbly and respectfully, urges you to pay close attention to elections at all levels and to get involved. Who is running for office in your district? (Do you know which district you live in?)

 -Ted Chambers