June 09, 2020
By Mark Chestnut
The Commonwealth of Virginia has long been a bastion of Second Amendment freedom, with pro-gun legislators having a majority in the General Assembly. That is until last year, when anti-gun Gov. Ralph Northam swept into office, and a bunch of gun-haters rode in on his coattails.
The result of a decidedly anti-gun Virginia General Assembly was an all-out assault on Virginia’s law-abiding gun owners. And despite best efforts by the Virginia Citizens Defense League, the National Rifle Association, and other pro-freedom groups, a bevy of bad bills were passed earlier this year, leaving pro-gunners reeling and gun-banners celebrating.
Now, however, there might be a light at the end of the tunnel. While the next election for Assembly seats won’t be until 2021 and the all-out assault on the Second Amendment has again begun in the legislature, a small victory in a few recent local elections might be a sign Virginia gun owners are fully awake and ready to fight.
In Staunton, Virginia, which voted for Barack Obama in two presidential elections, three Democrat members of the city council were toppled by Republicans. Since the Democrats received more votes than they did in the prior election, the only explanation is that Republicans, many of whom are angry about the growing gun-control movement, turned out in far greater numbers than in the past.
In fact, Chris Graham in a story in the August Free Press wrote: “Democrats got their voters out better than they have in a May cycle in years. Republicans got turnout more akin to, not quite a presidential year, but approaching gubernatorial.”
Another nearby town, Waynesboro, saw a similar gain with two Republicans elected, also giving that city council a Republican majority.
While city council races might have little effect on politics at the state level, these victories might just be the beginning of a trend of Virginia gun owners trying to take back their state a little at a time. As Graham pointed out in his story, it was a very big deal.
“Bottom line is that the strategies worked, flipping both from D to R, but the change in Staunton is stunning almost beyond words,” he wrote. “A city that voted for Barack Obama twice, voted for Hillary Clinton, voted for Terry McAuliffe and Ralph Northam, even gave a solid majority to Jennifer Lewis in her 2018 congressional run against Ben Cline, is now controlled by Republicans.”
Let’s hope that these victories propel more Virginia gun owners to activism to take back their state and protect the right of all law-abiding—even those in the Commonwealth—to keep and bear arms.
Freelance writer and editor Mark Chesnut is the owner/editorial director at Red Setter Communications LLC. An avid hunter, shooter and political observer, he has been covering Second Amendment issues and politics on a near-daily basis for the past 20 years.