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Democratic gun reform platform needs moderation
July 16, 2020 · OPINION
By Allen Michael Bongiovi
Politics has been increasingly divisive in Virginia since the change in power which occurred after the 2019 elections. Democrats control the General Assembly and governorship of Virginia in 2020, and at the beginning of this year’s legislative session, a flood of bills were introduced that addressed health care, immigration, the environment, equal rights and, most controversially, gun safety.
Though gun safety legislation was a major part of many Democratic campaigns in Virginia, nobody fully expected the bills which were to come.
Some of the bills which gained the most criticism were those intending to ban “assault rifles,” limit magazine capacity for all firearms and even close indoor shooting ranges. I believe that though Democrats had the right intention, the mark was missed by our legislators. The issue with Democrats in Virginia is that even though the narrative of the national Democratic party is to enact all these changes, that is not what is right for Virginia. We are a state with a rich history of firearm ownership, and many of our citizens on either side of the political aisle enjoy shooting for sport or own firearms for protection of themselves and their families.
The narrative of the national party does not mesh with our citizens in Virginia and by focusing on banning or restricting access to certain types of firearms, elected Democratic officials and candidates are showing they are out of touch with Virginia.
I am a Democrat and a United States Navy veteran who was trained on rifles and pistols while in the service. I believe that comparing an AR-15 with a “weapon of war” is an unfair comparison. I never carried an AR-15 in the Navy, I carried an M4A1 which was select fire for semi-automatic and full-automatic use. I also never went to war with that rifle, and most people wouldn’t; it was strictly for defense of the ship and law enforcement use as a member of the Ship’s Reaction Force and In-Port Security Forces.
Democrats need to be conscious of how attacking the Second Amendment will play out in future elections. Some of these bills were used by reactionary politicians such as state Sen. Amanda Chase (R-Midlothian) to incite a movement which characterizes the defense of the Second Amendment as its number one legislative objective. It even sparked Sen. Chase’s interest in running for governor in 2021.
Democrats need to realize that by focusing on guns as a major objective for the party, that people are not paying attention to other good things that the party is doing. House Bill 66, proposed by Del. Lee Cater (D-Manassas), capped the co-payment on insulin to $50. This was a major win for diabetic Virginians and their families. The Equal Rights Amendment was ratified by the Commonwealth of Virginia. Predatory pay-day loan companies were targeted, and their interest rates were capped. Even marijuana was decriminalized.
The good things that are being done by Democrats in our legislature are overshadowed by gun legislation, which often failed. Bills such as HB 567, introduced by Del. Dan Helmer (D-Fairfax) attempted to ban indoor shooting ranges in Virginia. This bill was an inappropriate overreach by a Democratic elected official that led to the valid questions such as, “If Democrats support legal and well-trained gun owners, why would they ban indoor ranges?” Though that bill didn’t pass, it left a stain on the General Assembly as a group which is playing into a national narrative rather than putting Virginian’s first.
I believe that the Democratic Party can have a progressive platform while not pursuing increases in gun legislation. If we don’t get our legislative priorities straight, 2020 and subsequent elections will be painful for the Democratic Party.
Truepat · July 17, 2020 at 6:20 am
These laws have "woke" the silent majority as I never thought could happen, and now all you have to do is VOTE this November. The weapon doesn't matter unless you can shoot accurately and quickly, as in the "body armor drill"... some will know what I'm referring to.....
AmericanPatriot · July 16, 2020 at 8:59 pm
Number one, there is nothing 'democratic' about democrats. These are the most vile, hateful, corrupt racist people on the planet - bar none.
Democrats have NEVER put forth gun legislation which affects criminals. Ever.
Never mandatory sentencing, never anything constructive.
Only legislation stripping rights from those who have committed no crime.
And remember the origin of 'progressive'. Its 1917 bolsheviks who murdered over 30 million people.
DonkeyFarmer · July 16, 2020 at 7:42 pm
Mr Bongiovi - I think where I see a problem here is that the damage has already been done by the anti 2A Democrats. You want them to change their views on gun rights when they have already passed all the anti 2A legislation? Or do you want those laws repealed? I don't really see where you are going with this but I agree with you that many of the first term legislators that voted for the ant 2A bills are going to be in big trouble in 2021.
You seem like a well reasoned patriot Mr. Bongiovi. You should come over to the Republican party.
Jeffersonian American · July 16, 2020 at 7:13 pm
The author of this op-ed does not yet realize The Train Has Left The Station- there can be no redemption for anything Democrat anywhere- like the Committed Marxists who are gathering in Warrenton's Courthouse Square every Saturday morning at 10 AM to protest Only Black Lives Matter- with their Antifa friends and their teenaged and middle-aged Caucasian Dupes. The law-abiding public only sees the faces of these fiends- and know they are in fact, the faces of the Democrat Party today- as they brazenly support a BLM Terrorist Organization which has already done more damage and committed more terror across the nation than anything the Klu Klux Klan ever did- indeed, they are no better than the Klan, and they defile and despoil our beautiful Warrenton community with their unmasked hatred of everything we hold dear in Virginia and America, including our most cherished rights.
Fellow Americans and lawful Virginia citizens, the modern-era Democrat Party IS THE DEADLY VIRUS killing our community, our State, our nation and our former American Dream. It must be defeated and destroyed, preferably at the polls through peaceful means- but we know the Democrat Party has committed major election fraud here in Virginia in recent decades, and under their current hideous regime will make free and fair elections in Virginia very likely impossible with illegal alien voters, mass voting for weeks and months on end; no voter identification, etc. (at least we now know it was the Democrat Governor who was the Klansman posing in his Medical School yearbook- not the Blackface Character- because the Governor suggested after his election the news media should use facial recognition software to prove it was not him in the yearbook photo- which conveniently would not be able to identify him as the person in the Klan robes and hat). It is this same vile Democrat Governor and his vile Democrat Party that now threatens our most fundamental rights ordained by God. Based on my recent observations, millions of Virginians will demand to vote this November Election Day with "Hands Off Our Second Amendment Rights" and "Shall Not Be Infringed," foremost on their minds in the voting booth and with a burning hatred in their hearts for the Democrat Evildoers who seek have usurped our dearest rights at all local, State and federal levels.
Unlike the Liberal Veteran author of this op-ed, these millions of November voters already understand Virginia has become a Third World Cesspool of Democrat Stench, crimes and lawlessness against our Virginia Declaration of Rights and our Virginia and U.S. Constitutions. Not content to destroy our American Dream, our Bill of Rights and our constitutional government, Democrats are now successfully leading the systematic eradication of both our American and Confederate heritage and history across the State following the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution playbook and every other despotic regime in history, be it organized under National Socialism under the Third Reich, Communism, Maoism, or Islamism.
Millions of Virginians and Americans are not going to take the America Hating, Barack Hussein Obama Barry Soetoro Marxist Revolution B.S. any more. That Train Has Left The Station- many across our state are forming Committees of the Public Weal as enshrined in our Virginia Declaration of Rights. As we speak, many Virginians have already formed local and regional Committees of Dissolution; many others have already formed their local defense militias with their fellow Virginian and Patriots. The same discussions that took place in 1776 and 1860 are taking place once more across a Virginia ravaged and despoiled by the most vile political establishment since Mr. Lincoln's bloody invasion of Virginia 159 years ago.
Long ago all of these modern BLM/ANTIFA "protests" stopped being protests- they have now been allowed to devolve into an armed insurrection with no answer by law enforcement and the government both here and across the nation (even the new Warrenton Police Chief From New Jersey took a knee with the Black Lives Matter Bolsheviks recently). Look closely- this is what a failed state looks like.
Those looking for a peaceful opportunity to change this landscape have no other choice but to support the U.S. President who is desperately fighting to save and restore our traditional American ideals, Judeo-Christian values, Declaration and Constitution against all enemies both foreign and domestic.
Let us pray for all law-abiding, voting Virginians and Americans of all races, based solely on the content of their character, to deliver our beloved Virginia and America from a Democrat Evil, intent on extending the boundaries of Hell, on Election Day 2020.
AllenBongiovi · July 16, 2020 at 6:47 pm
And my M4A1 had been in that ship inventory since 1997! All M4A1s are fully automatic though, but most M4s are not A1s.
AllenBongiovi · July 16, 2020 at 6:46 pm
There's a lot to unpack here, but I'm going to try and attempt it because I wrote the letter and I feel I should respond. I mean what else is there to do during COVID? lol.
First off, I can tell you don't do much research and you don't read bills. I disagree with most gun legislation that has been proposed or past in the last year. None of them make people "outright criminals". So it's important to know what has been passed and the real effects on them.
Second, to say that conservatives are also not divisive is laughable. Both parties have created rifts and divides both nationally and locally. This isn't McCarthyism, you can't just call everyone a dirty Marxist and expect people to listen to you. The extreme side of the Democratic Party can trend towards Socialist and Communist platforms, but you don't really see that in our state. I believe that each state's party needs to form their own views rather than conform to a national narrative.
Do you consider segregation in the United States which occurred in those past 130 years as progress? We have not had that many years of progressive platforms.
Sometimes when the free-market doesn't provide, the government has to step in. Look at the pharmaceutical industry which gouges prices of drugs that your tax dollars helped develop. Then the same company manipulates patent laws to again price gouge and hold monopoly on drugs that once again you paid for development of in most cases as a tax payer.
I haven't seen anyone, but Republicans embracing or condoning racism. I think in general most people on both sides do not embrace or condone it. I haven't seen anyone trying to re-write history. If you're speaking about Confederate monuments glorifying traitors, nobody is trying to rewrite history. If anything history is being corrected because even when I was in high school (2007-2011) in Fauquier County, we were taught the Lost Cause of the Confederacy. When you mention human biology you must not understand that gender and sex are not the same thing and biological sex has nothing to do with gender which is covered under the social sciences instead of biology. Can you point to contradictory science in regards to climate change or epidemiology? If anything my only issue is that progressives need to embrace nuclear energy as a clean alternative fuel source.
The point of this letter was to show that there is an olive branch and that speaking out against a party's platform, especially of a party you belong to, is healthy and needed to make sure that the wrong things aren't being pushed.
Thank you for your comment and I do appreciate your point of view.
FalconDad · July 16, 2020 at 6:37 pm
True Allen, that’s pre-2000 military issued M4s.
AllenBongiovi · July 16, 2020 at 6:32 pm
The point of my letter is to say that Democrats need to change the narrative or they are going to lose big time in November and in 2021. There gun-grabbing narrative doesn't work in Virginia and we need to be thinking about Virginians and what they value.
AllenBongiovi · July 16, 2020 at 6:31 pm
A quick Google search will show you the M4A1 (which was first used in 1994) is capable of fully automatic fire similar to M16A1 and M16A3 models. Other M4 models have three-round burst firing modes similar to the M16A2 and M16A4.
FalconDad · July 16, 2020 at 6:07 pm
Allen must of been in the Navy many, many years ago. M4 rifles (or M4A1) this century are only switchable between Safe, 1 shot or 3 round burst, they are no longer issued as full automatic unless you’re playing ‘Call of Duty’.
jim goodwin · July 16, 2020 at 5:14 pm
Mr. Bongiovi, as much as I admire your olive branch on gun legislation, the Democratic party has gone too far already. And, let's be real about the real gun control agenda and your olive branch. The M.O. of the Democtratic party, driven by Progressivism, is always to ask for radical change so that "more moderate" measures will be accepted. There hasn't been a single piece of gun control legislation that doesn't infringe on the rights of normally law-abiding citizens or outright make criminals of them.
But it's not just gun control. What has made politics increasingly divisive is that Progressivism has run it's course and progressed too far. Every institution has been subverted by either outright Marxists or people that follow its doctrines without even knowing the deeper issues associated with it. Several generations of students have been so indoctrinated and are now in the workforce that we have legions of idiots that don't understand what Socialism really is.
We have had, what, 130 years of Progressivism? Look where it has gotten us. It's not MORE that we need. It's LESS.
Your legislative priorities don't work. They are government driven, not market driven. They always seek to use the power of government to influence the citizens. The conservative agenda uses influence to allow citizens to seek their own power.
The Democratic/Progressive platform is now against every founding principle of this country. It favors collective rights over individual rights. It embraces, even condones, racism. It embraces rewriting history. It embraces anti-science when it comes to human biology and contradicts itself when it insists on listening to certain scientists on climate change or epidemiology; only the ones that agree with the narrative set forth by Progressives.
The Democrats have no idea what made America great because they have strayed too far from its founding principles. Now the useful idiots appear to be running the party. God help us all.
DonkeyFarmer · July 16, 2020 at 3:19 pm
Allen Bongiovi - I agree with you but it is too late. The damage has been done. Just look at the turnout for the 2A Sanctuary rallies across this state. And the record numbers of gun purchases across this country and this state were not by conservatives like me, we already have our guns. Lots of new gun owners are Democrats and people that live in the cities. You think they are going to re-elect the gun grabbers?
LIBERTY HAS NO EXPIRATION DATEDemocrats wouldn't buy a clue if it was government subsidized.
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