We keep saying this: elections have consequences. In Virginia, it’s the Republicans that are at the receiving end of this lesson. Five years ago, the state GOP controlled a supermajority in the House of Delegates. Now, it has a Democratic majority. The Virginia State Senate is now Democratic-controlled. The governorship is under a Democratic administration. For the first time in two decades, there is a unified Democratic government in Richmond—and they’re coming after the firearms of law-abiding citizens. There is no goodwill here. Expanded background checks are being pushed to get a database going for eventual confiscation. Heck, you even have some Democrats talking about using the National Guard to take people’s guns away.
Of course, there have been denials, but this is their end goal. None of what the Democrats have proposed this session in Virginia—expanded background checks, one-gun-a-month, increasing the age to purchase firearms, limits on magazine sizes, and a ban on so-called assault weapons will increase public safety. What it did do was send Virginia’s December gun sales through the roof. Overall, the state only saw a modest 8.5 percent increase in gun sales, but after the November elections, well, people panicked—and rightfully so. It was the second-highest monthly total on record (via Richmond Times-Dispatch/Culpepper Star-Exponent):
Virginia gun sales soared in December to the second-highest monthly total on record, fueled by the Democratic takeover of the General Assembly and growing fears of increased firearm restrictions backed by the governor and lawmaker allies, state gun dealers say.
Estimated firearm sales based on mandatory criminal background checks on Virginia gun buyers totaled 73,849 last month, a 47% increase over December 2018.
In tracking data that goes back to 1990, the December 2019 tally is second only to December 2012, when 75,120 transactions were recorded. Criminologists say that was triggered by the repeal of the state’s one-handgun-per-month law and fears of increased gun restrictions following the Dec.14, 2012, shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School that killed 20 students and six adults.
“If Virginians feel threatened that their rights are being curtailed, they’re going to react just the way that you’ve seen,” said Robert Marcus, the principal owner of Bob’s Gun Shop in Norfolk, one of the state’s largest commercial gun dealers. “Everyone down here is upset. I’ve never seen more customers antagonized by a situation.”
Many of the customers are first-time buyers, several Virginia gun dealers said.
“A lot of people that have never owned a gun think they won’t be able to get the style of gun they want [if the proposed restrictions become law], so they’re buying,” said Jerry Cochran, owner of Trader Jerry’s, another of Virginia’s largest federally licensed firearms dealers. “There’s an enormous amount of first-time buyers, especially at the [gun] shows.”
The strong economy is also a factor, Cochran said, along with an increased number of people buying firearms for self defense. “It’s just the biggest perfect storm for gun sales that it’s ever been.”
Total gun sales in Virginia in 2019 rose more modestly, up 8.5%, from 446,333 transactions in 2018 to 484,550 last year, according to the Virginia Firearms Transaction Center operated by Virginia State Police. But the monthly numbers saw no significant movement until November, when Democrats won both the House and the Senate, the data shows.
Black Friday gun sales on Nov. 29 set a new record, with 5,645 transactions. The previous record of 5,320 was set in 2017.
For some businesses, like SpecDrive Tactical in Alexandria, Virginia, they’re reporting a 200-300 percent increase in sales. If there is one thing you can say about Democrats when it comes to firearms, they’re unintentionally their best sales team.