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Youngkin Vetoes First Round of Virginia Gun Control Bills

In television, the “will they/won’t they” thing works pretty well as a device to generate tension. People keep watching week after week to see if there’s any movement between the two characters’ romance.

In politics, most of us aren’t overly fond of that kind of tension. 

Sure, it may be great in fiction, but will a governor who has avoided being pinned down on gun control actually make the stand many figured he would? Or would it turn out that he was a fan of restricting our right to keep and bear arms?

Well, now we know.

In the first signals of how he’ll act on legislation approved by Virginia’s Democratic General Assembly, Gov. Glenn Youngkin signed a largely symbolic bill protecting same-sex marriage but took a more adversarial stance to bills dealing with gun control, reproductive rights and marijuana.
Youngkin had until Friday night to take action on 84 bills the legislature sent to him on a shorter-than-usual timeline. He vetoed eight, recommended changes to 12 and signed the rest.

Youngkin didn’t look so favorably on two bills dealing with gun safety. 
He vetoed legislation that would have tightened rules requiring people credibly accused or convicted of domestic abuse to give up any firearms. The proposal would have barred those gun owners from giving the weapons to someone else in the same household or anyone under 21. In his veto statement, Youngkin said he took issue with the “arbitrary age prohibition” and the potential for “disarming individuals not subject to a court order.”
“Make no mistake, Virginia should ensure that domestic abusers are dealt with appropriately, and those who resort to illegal firearm use, especially, should face severe and harsh punishments,” Youngkin said in his veto. “The legislation fails to achieve its intended purpose and is unnecessary.”
One of the bill’s sponsors, Sen. Barbara Favola, D-Arlington, said the governor’s veto was a setback for women.
“I am deeply disappointed that given the opportunity to better protect innocent lives, uphold our laws against domestic abusers, and lift up families, this governor has instead turned his back,” Favola said in a news release Saturday. “Women deserve better.”

Except that it doesn’t really protect women. It just creates a burden for those “credibly accused” of domestic violence that may cause many to not even bother handing their guns over.

Especially concerning the age component. Seriously, had they left that part out, they might have gotten a signature. While I oppose pretty much any form of gun control, it’s not difficult to find legions of people who are fine with disarming domestic abusers.

People have a right to keep and bear arms and domestic abusers have forfeited their status as people, basically.

But the the bill didn’t just attack those people, it also perpetuated this idea that adults under 21 can’t be trusted with guns, even though they can legally own them.

That wasn’t the only blow Youngkin landed on Virginia Democrats seeking to demonize guns, either.

The governor also recommended major changes to a bill that would have required school boards to notify parents about gun risks and safe storage laws. Youngkin’s recommended amendments would broaden the notification to include a wide variety of parental “rights” and “responsibilities,” including the ability to shield children from sexually explicit material in schools and the duty to keep kids safe from drugs. His amendments also require the bill to be reapproved in 2025 before it can go into effect.

Frankly, this is pretty reasonable. 

What the bill did was basically pretend that guns are the only issue Virginia parents might have to concern themselves with. Youngkin’s recommendations broaden that to include a whole lot of things that Democrats have strangely been opposed to recently, such as parental rights.

I don’t honestly think they’ll make the recommended changes, but I respect what Youngkin did here. Notifying parents about mandatory storage laws–they are not “safe storage” laws, no matter how they’re presented–isn’t a terrible thing, if only to prevent ignorance getting someone in trouble. I’m not entirely sure what they mean by “gun risks,” but if it’s about violent crime in the neighborhoods surrounding a school, that’s good for parents to know as well.

But by requiring the addition of other things makes it so that the measure can’t be just about demonizing guns, but also informing parents about a host of things they probably should be informed about.

Needless to say, Democrats are less than thrilled, but they don’t quite have the numbers to override any of Youngkin’s vetoes, so they can either suck it up, adapt, or get over it.

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