Key Virginia Democratic candidates have been silent on Governor Ralph Northam's (D.) marquee plan to confiscate certain firearms in the lead-up to the 2019 election.
A Washington Free Beacon review of the campaign websites of 17 Democrats running in hotly contested Virginia Senate and House of Delegates races found no mention of the governor's plans. Eleven of the candidates mention broader support for gun control on their campaign websites, but emphasize measures other than new gun bans or confiscation. Six do not mention gun control at all.
Additionally, none of the 17 Democrats responded to questions about whether they would support Northam's confiscation plan. The Free Beacon sent multiple emails asking each candidate about Northam's efforts to ban not only future sales, but also possession of what he termed "assault firearms."
Northam, who has campaigned for fellow Democrats in the fast-approaching 2019 election, first advocated for the confiscation scheme back in January. He pushed again for confiscation in the immediate aftermath of his blackface scandal, flanked by similarly scandal-ridden Attorney General Mark Herring (D.) and Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax (D.).
Legislation supported by Northam defined "assault firearms" as any semi-automatic gun "equipped at the time of the offense" with a magazine holding more than 10 rounds, or which is "designed by the manufacturer to accommodate a silencer or equipped with a folding stock." That proposal, which failed to pass the Virginia legislature earlier this year, would likely outlaw tens of millions of firearms in the state and make criminals of millions of Virginians.
"The legislative proposals being discussed would put most firearms beyond the reach of law-abiding Virginians who choose the firearms of their choice to protect themselves, hunt, and practice recreational target shooting," Lawrence G. Keane, the National Shooting Sports Foundation's general counsel, told the Free Beacon. "That could potentially impact the availability of tens of millions of firearms."
In advance of the upcoming Virginia election, a number of prominent Democratic mega-donors and outside liberal groups have poured millions into the state. Michael Bloomberg's Everytown for Gun Safety is a major outside contributor, as is Democracy PAC, which is funded solely by liberal billionaire and gun-control advocate George Soros. All of the candidates contacted by the Free Beacon have been beneficiaries of these millions—yet even they do not appear to be backing Northam's plan.
Both Everytown and Democracy PAC have given to Virginia Senate candidates John Bell, Ghazala Hashmi, Debra Rodman, Cheryl Turpin, and Amy Laufer. The delegate candidates who have received tens of thousands from Soros and Everytown include Alex Askew, Hala Ayala, Larry Barnett, Sheila Bynum-Coleman, Joshua Cole, Elizabeth Guzman, Danica Roem, Shelly Simonds, and Rodney Willett. In addition, Soros's Democracy PAC donated to Senate candidate Amanda Pohl, as well as delegate candidates Phil Hernandez and Len Myers.
The spending by Soros and Everytown—which has outpaced aggressive spending by the National Rifle Association and other gun-rights groups—mirrors the groups' efforts in 2015 and 2017. In both years, Republicans were able to maintain control of both houses of the Virginia legislature despite the funding disadvantage. However, they lost 15 seats in the House of Delegates during the 2017 election.
For the upcoming election, both Soros and Bloomberg seem to be doubling down. Through Democracy PAC, Soros has so far spent nearly $1.2 million in the state, according to data compiled by the Virginia Public Access Project. Those donations include $350,000 to Planned Parenthood Virginia's committee, which is the largest outside contribution it has ever received. Soros's contributions to candidates total $800,000.
Everytown has so far disbursed $1.4 million, filings show, in contributions ranging from $54 to $162,000.
Republicans currently hold 21 seats in the state's 40-member Senate and 51 seats in its 100-member House of Delegates. Virginia's statewide elections take place on Tuesday, Nov. 5.