RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Thousands of Second Amendment-supporters attended the Richmond Gun Show at the Richmond Raceway Saturday, which is the second-largest show of its kind in Virginia. But on the mind of the enthusiasts - the outcome of last Tuesday’s election.
Annette Elliot is the president of ‘Showmasters’ which owns the gun show. She says the blue-shift in political power energized people to show up Saturday.
“It’s been 26 years since the democrats have had control of the Virginia legislature,” said Elliot. “I think this is the most impact we’ve ever had.”
Following Tuesday’s election Governor Northam announced that he will be reintroducing gun legislation, proposed back in July during a special session of the general assembly after the Virginia Beach mass shooting. Lawmakers adjourned after just two hours without considering any proposed gun control measures, but now Northam and say gun reform will be a top priority in 2020.
“There are pieces of legislation that will save lives in Virginia," said Northam.
Some of the legislation that Northam will be reintroducing includes a push for universal background checks before gun purchases, a ban on assault-style weapons, silencers and high capacity magazines and reinstating the “one-handgun-per-month-law.”
But gun owners at Saturday’s gun show say they are fearful of what that could mean for those who wish to purchase firearms in the future.
“The biggest fear is that it will put people in danger and that it will make it more difficult law-abiding citizens to buy firearms and be able to protect themselves their property and their family,” said Elliot.
Similar sentiments were expressed on the floor of the gun show by gun-enthusiasts including Jimmy Ashburn, a Chesterfield gun owner for over 20 years.
“We’re scared that for the weapons that we’ve had for 20 years and the various toys that we’ve had for years and that all of a sudden we’re going to become felons and for what?” said Ashburn.
Ashburn believes there are enough laws on the book to keep Virginians safe.
“You’ve got background checks if you’re a felon you can’t possess a gun,” said Ashburn. “We need to enforce what we’ve already got out here.”
Many gun-owners who showed up did so to buy as many weapons as possible before the new legislature takes office in January 2020, but people like Mark Fahed says they are open to the idea of gun reform.
“I’m not fearful or anything I’m just trying to buy what I want to buy while I still can," said Fahed. ”Hopefully, it will be common sense laws things like that and they won’t go after guns altogether."
Northam says he’s willing to work with anyone who wants the commonwealth safer but the overwhelming majority of 2nd amendment supporters say they don’t want the right to their weapons jeopardized
“Leave the legal gun owners alone, we’re not the ones causing the problems,” said Ashburn.
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