In a completely unnecessary escalation of the political battle of gun rights this week, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam called a state of emergency. His reasoning: That he had been told of “credible threats” of violence that would accompany the upcoming gun rights rally in Richmond. Vice reported that this state of emergency will prevent protesters from bringing their firearms onto the Capitol grounds.
In a press conference on Wednesday, Northam told reporters that “armed militia groups plan to storm the Capitol” during the rally, according to what authorities had told him. He said that police had caught wind of “extremist rhetoric” that was reminiscent of the atmosphere in Charlottesville during the Unite the Right rally in 2017.
“No weapons will be allowed on Capitol grounds,” the Democrat governor warned. “Everything from sticks and bats to chains and projectiles. The list also includes firearms. It makes no sense to ban every other weapon but allow firearms when intelligence shows that armed militia groups plan to storm the Capitol.”
We’d love to give Northam the benefit of the doubt here, but he is a proven liar (see the blackface scandal for one small sample of his deception). Furthermore, he and his Democratic majority in the Virginia legislature has done everything possible to antagonize the citizenry. It wasn’t that long ago that he was threatening to send the National Guard around to – what, declare martial law? All of which was in response to a growing number of counties declaring themselves Second Amendment sanctuaries.
A reasonable, normal, psychologically healthy governor would see this uprising as an opportunity to de-escalate. An opportunity to back off of these threats to ban guns, confiscate them, and throw people in prison for exercising their Second Amendment rights. An opportunity to reassure nervous Virginia residents that Democrats aren’t going to try and make criminals out of law-abiding citizens. So, either Northam WANTS things to spiral out of control…or he knows he cannot do any of the above because that’s exactly what he plans to go forward with. Either way, it’s a disastrous mistake.
We certainly don’t condone any violence, and we certainly doubt that there would have been any at this rally on Monday. But if Northam isn’t careful, he’s going to find himself facing a recall election next year. You can’t go into office and play with fire in this kind of reckless, anti-constitutional way and not expect dramatic repercussions. Over and over again, he’s proven himself unfit for the governorship. It’s time for Virginia voters to make it official.