Gun owner Tonya Ricketts, of Warwick, R.I., left, displays a placard during a rally in front of the Statehouse, in Providence, R.I., Wednesday, May 1, 2013. Hundreds of gun owners attended the rally to protest proposed legislation that would ban the sale of assault weapons or high-capacity ammunition magazines after July 1. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
What happens when you pass strict gun control laws?
If you’re a legislator in Virginia, people buy a ton more guns.
As Democrats in the legislature eyed greater restriction, February saw close to 66,000 background checks performed statewide.
That’s a giant increase from 40,381 the same month a year ago.
As per National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) data, it’s one of the most dramatic surges in the nation.
And that’s saying something — American gun sales are up in general, by an average of 16.7%.
Virginia’s leap constitutes a rise of 63.4%.
Sales in the state have climbed every month now for four consecutive months.
There was one bit of legislative lull in February — the stoppage of a ban on so-called “assault weapons” (AKA scary-looking rifles).
From my coverage at the time:
Included in the package: a ban on the sale of several guns labeled as “assault weapons.”
Democrats had initially tossed around the idea of a mandatory buyback program, but that was 86’d.
However, the bill grants state officials the right to confiscate certain types of “high capacity” ammunition.
HB961 marks the second time the House has approved a gun control package in just the last few weeks.
In late January, it okay’d a load of gun restrictions, comprised of red flag laws, universal background checks, and a law limiting firearm purchases to one per month.
Now both bills make their way to the Senate, where Democrats lead 21-19.
The Senate deferred passage by referring HB961 to Virginia’s crime commission for further study. End result: It won’t receive a final vote this legislative session.
In the meantime, seven other packages have moved forward. Five have already yepped by both chambers.
The remaining legislation concerns the aforementioned red flagging, universal background checks, and monthly purchasing limit.
In the view of NSSF Spokesman mark Olivia, the skyrocketing gun purchases should send a clear message to the capitol. He explained to The Washington Free Beacon:
“Virginians are continuing to exercise their freedoms and voting with their wallets. They see that their elected representatives are infringing on their Second Amendment rights and they’re buying the firearms they want to provide for their own protection.”
That’s all find and good, but — to semi-quote Dumber and Dumber — I don’t think they’re gonna get that message.
After all, they didn’t get this one:
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