The Thin Red Line: Virginia Gov. Youngkin Vetoes Onslaught of Anti-Gun Bills

by Tommy Grant
Glenn Youngkin

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With Virginia citizen’s facing an onslaught of anti-gun bills from the state’s Democat-led General Assembly, Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin vetoed as many as 30 anti-gun bills designed to restrict the gun rights of law-abiding people and misguidedly empower criminals. The 30 proposed bills had sparked considerable debate across the state. While it was believed Youngkin would do exactly as he did—veto most of the bills and recommend amendments to others—he had remained publicly vague about what action he would take leading up to the vetoes.

Among the vetoed proposals were measures that sought to impose a five-day waiting period for gun purchases and to restrict the sale, manufacture and transfer of so-called “assault firearms” created on or after July 1 of this year. Such legislation would have also set age limits for firearms purchasing and possession and banned high-capacity magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds. Critics of the bills, including Governor Youngkin, questioned their constitutionality and effectiveness in addressing public safety concerns, particularly in relation to mass shootings.

“I swore an oath to defend the Constitution of the United States of America and the Constitution of Virginia, and that absolutely includes protecting the right of law-abiding Virginians to keep and bear arms,” Youngkin said in a statement. His actions have been interpreted as a clear nod to his campaign promises and a demonstration of his stance on gun rights, despite his cautious approach to the issue during his tenure. Youngkin failed to secure NRA’s endorsement during his campaign, something that appears not to have hurt him in the least as he won election and continues to govern in a way that protects 2A rights.

In contrast to the vetoed legislation, Governor Youngkin signed four bills that received widespread bipartisan support. Notably, these included measures to ban auto sears—devices that convert semi-automatic handguns into automatic weapons—and to enhance the safety of children by making it a felony for gun owners to allow access to firearms by children who pose a threat of violence. This latter bill, inspired by the tragic shooting of Lucia Bremer, a 13-year-old girl, by another teen in Henrico County, has been particularly celebrated for its focus on preventing similar future tragedies, the Associated Press reports. Lucia’s parents expressed their gratitude, highlighting the importance of the legislative change on the third anniversary of their daughter’s murder.

While Democrats have expressed the expected disappointment, one Charlottesville liberal Sen. Creigh Deeds posting on X  that the vetoes were “shameful and unthinking,” the signed and amended legislation represents a concerted effort to balance the rights of gun owners with the need for public safety. Governor Youngkin’s office announced the signing of 31 new bills, recommended changes to six, and the vetoing of 30, underscoring a commitment to constructive, commonsense reforms.

The legislature will reconvene on April 17 where lawmakers will consider the governor’s proposed amendments. Democrats lack the two-thirds majority necessary to override the votes.

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