Everyone should hope — and work to ensure — it’s the former.
Let’s think positively and assume there aren’t any problems — aside from a lack of parking, restrooms and elbow room.
The challenge for Democrats, who have trifecta control of state government for the first time in a generation, is how to respond to the demands of the gun-rights supporters.
If the Senate Judiciary Committee’s passage of four gun control bills Monday despite the presence of a very large, pro-gun crowd is any indication, then it’s fairly safe to say that an even larger pro-gun crowd roaming the halls of the Pocahontas Building and swarming the Capitol grounds won’t deter Democrats at all.
Gun control was a key issue for Democrats in the 2019 General Assembly races. Post-election polling showed overwhelming support for most gun control legislation, though the divide was smaller over a proposed ban on assault weapons.
The public policy wind, then, is at Democrats’ backs. And no amount of sanctuary county resolutions, face-to-face lobbying or vocal protests is strong enough to change it.
That doesn’t mean Democrats can do whatever they please on guns.
As The Post’s Laura Vozzella and Greg Schneider reported, Sen. Dick Saslaw pulled his bill that would have banned the sale and possession of assault-style weapons and would have required those who already owned such weapons to surrender them or face criminal penalties.
So no to gun confiscation and criminalizing lawful gun owners — which is a good thing.
And let’s add some moderation to universal background checks, too.
Sen. Chap Petersen (D-Fairfax City) argued the background check bill went too far by criminalizing innocent behavior.
According to the Virginia Mercury’s Ned Oliver and Graham Moomaw, Petersen said that a person “on a hunting trip could potentially run afoul of the proposed law, and risk a felony charge, for lending a firearm to someone else in their group.”
That the Northam administration and Attorney General Mark R. Herring (D) opposed an amendment Petersen offered to the background check bill is troubling but not entirely surprising.
What was a little surprising? Newly minted Sen. Joe Morrissey (D) taking issue with a so-called “red flag” bill because of the broad search powers it conferred on law enforcement officials who would enforce the protective orders.
Morrissey said parts of the bill need “a substantial amount of work.”
Given Morrissey’s past as a defense lawyer, maybe this isn’t such a surprise after all. No defense lawyer wants to give police greater leeway to snoop.
And Morrissey is a big proponent of due process, a principle Republicans say gets lost in the rush to adopt extreme protective orders.
These examples show there’s still room for actual common sense to be applied to the gun debate.
That’s not a retreat, let alone a defeat, for Democrats. If amendments like Petersen’s and concerns like Morrissey’s are all the legislative pushback they get, then the commonwealth’s gun culture is still in for a substantial change.
Not that everyone in the General Assembly has gotten, never mind understood, that message.
Freshman Del. Wendell S. Walker (R-Lynchburg) and gun-toting Sen. Amanda F. Chase (R-Chesterfield) have introduced bills seeking to repeal Virginia’s 140-year-old ban on carrying weapons in church.
The lawmakers believe that changing Virginia’s law would guard against deadly shootings that have occurred in places of worship in other states.
Or maybe they are fans of the Beat Farmer’s version of “Gun Sale at the Church.”