Opinion| Mark Sidney| Imagine my shock on this one.
Who could have seen this coming, right? Virginia beings passing some of the most draconian gun laws in the nation and now that same state has a bill on the table that would drastically infringe on the speech rights of critics of the Governor and his ‘partners in crime.’
”The bill — SB 240, also known as an extreme risk protective order — creates a procedure for authorities, including law enforcement officers and attorneys, to apply for an emergency substantial risk order to prohibit “a person who poses a substantial risk of injury to himself or others from purchasing, possessing, or transporting a firearm.” Under the proposal, if such an order is issued, a judge or magistrate can issue a search warrant to remove firearms from that person.
The state Senate passed the measure in a party-line vote of 21-19. It now moves to the state House of Delegates for consideration.’
The bill which we are referring to is Bill HB 1627, which was introduced by Democrat Jeffrey M. Bourne on 1/16/20 and is titled “Threats and harassment of certain officials and property; venue,”
HB 1627’s summary as introduced reads: [The bill] Provides that certain crimes relating to threats and harassment may be prosecuted in the City of Richmond if the victim is the Governor, Governor-elect, Lieutenant Governor, Lieutenant Governor-elect, Attorney General, or Attorney General-elect, a member or employee of the General Assembly, a justice of the Supreme Court of Virginia, or a judge of the Court of Appeals of Virginia. In addition, threats to damage property may be prosecuted in the City of Richmond if the property is owned by the Commonwealth and located in the Capitol District.
The bar for harassment is already as low as “vulgar language” in Virginia’s code 18.2-152.7:1: If any person, with the intent to coerce, intimidate, or harass any person, shall use a computer or computer network to communicate obscene, vulgar, profane, lewd, lascivious, or indecent language, or make any suggestion or proposal of an obscene nature, or threaten any illegal or immoral act, he shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. Bourne’s bill proposes adding the following amendment: A violation of this section may be prosecuted in the jurisdiction in which the communication was made or received or in the City of Richmond if the person subjected to the act is one of the following officials or employees of the Commonwealth: the Governor, Governor-elect, Lieutenant Governor, Lieutenant Governor-elect, Attorney General, or Attorney General-elect, a member or employee of the General Assembly, a justice of the Supreme Court of Virginia, or a judge of the Court of Appeals of Virginia.
Bourne’s Bill also changes the language of “he shall be guilty” to “he is guilty” of a Class 1 misdemeanor.
It’s insane that a bill defining harassment so vaguely is already on the books in Virginia – and it’s even more insane that someone is proposing expanding it so that politicians can legally intimidate their detractors with ease.
And this is just the latest in a slew of questionable bills to be introduced in Virginia. Among the others on the agenda include:
–No Photo ID to Vote – SB 65: Removes the requirement that voters show a form of identification containing a photograph in order to be allowed to vote.
–Making Electoral College Votes Go to the Popular Vote Winner – SB 399: Enters Virginia into an interstate compact known as the Agreement Among the States to Elect the President by National Popular Vote. Under the compact, Virginia agrees to award its electoral votes to the presidential ticket that receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
–Voting Rights for Felons – SJ 14: Authorizes the General Assembly to provide by general law for the restoration of civil rights for persons convicted of a felony.
–Doubling the Governor’s Term Limit – SJ 6: Permits a Governor elected in 2025 and thereafter to succeed himself in office. The amendment allows two four-year terms (either in succession or not in succession) but prohibits election to a third term. Service for more than two years of a partial term counts as service for one term.
And that’s just to name a few.’
It looks like Virginia is likely going to be the new playbook for the rest of the nation. If this trend catches on in more and more states, it will not be long before America collapses into a tyranical police state.
The only thing protecting our speech rights, which are enumerated in the 1st Amendment to the United States of America, is our God given right to bear arms.
I have to admit I did not think it would be this soon after the infringements on the 2A that the Dems in VA would go after the 1A, but here we are.
If you live in Virginia, please know, we are with you in spirit and have your back, no matter what you need.