Amanda Chase, a Republican state senator in Virginia, reacted on Sunday to the fact that Democrats in the Virginia House are advancing a package of gun-control measures less than a week after tens of thousands of pro-gun advocates from around the country rallied at the state Capitol saying, “there’s an all-out war on our Constitution.”
Speaking on “Fox & Friends Weekend,” just days after the pro-gun advocates staged the massive rally in Richmond, Va., Chase, who was a keynote speaker at the rally, said she “won't back down” and will continue to fight against the gun-control measures.
A Democratic-led House committee voted Friday for several pieces of gun legislation that a Republican majority has blocked for years. Those bills include limiting handgun purchases to once a month; universal background checks on gun purchases; allowing localities to ban guns in public buildings, parks and other areas; and a red flag bill that would allow authorities to temporarily take guns away from anyone deemed to be dangerous to themselves or others.
The advancing bills do not yet include a proposed assault weapon ban, a top priority for Gov. Ralph Northam and one that's drawn fierce resistance from gun-rights advocates.
The measures will go to the full House for a vote, likely next week, before going to the Senate, which has already passed some gun-control bills of its own.
“There’s been is an all-out assault on our fundamentally protected right, the Second Amendment, since [former Virginia governor] Terry McAuliffe implemented executive order 50 while he was in office and that basically started the gun ban in our government buildings,” Chase said. “And since governor two-faced Northam has been in office he has continued that anti-constitutional legacy that Terry McAuliffe started.”
Chase referenced Executive Order Number 50 which was issued after two young journalists were shot and killed during a live television broadcast in Roanoke, Va. in 2015. one of the provisions in the executive order said that “open carry of firearms shall be prohibited in offices occupied by executive branch agencies, unless held by law enforcement, authorized security, or military personnel authorized to carry firearms in accordance with their duties.”
“Now what has happened is the Virginia Senate and House and executive branch for the first time in 27 years, we've seen a complete liberal, socialist takeover of the leadership, the governing leadership in Virginia,” Chase said on Sudnay. “I am leading a grassroots movement. I'm a grassroots state senator and I stand with the people. That’s why they put me here. I'm not a politician. They have reelected me and they know I won't back down.”
She added, “I’ve stood up not only for the Second Amendment because what has happened here is there’s an all-out war on our constitution. They started with the Second Amendment, taking away law-abiding citizen’s ability to protect themselves, making them defenseless, and we're talking about turning the Second Amendment on its head.”
Virginia has become a key flashpoint in the national debate over gun violence.
Northam and Democratic lawmakers have credited their focus on gun control for helping them win full control of the General Assembly for the first time in more than twenty years. Guns were a key topic of last year's legislative elections — particularly after a mass shooting in Virginia Beach claimed a dozen lives — and gun-control groups heavily funded Democratic candidates.
Chase said what is happening in Virginia will have a nationwide impact.
“If you look at Virginia, we are the longest continuous legislative body in the new world,” she said. “We have over eight presidents who are Virginians. Everything starts in Virginia and so that’s why they started, in my opinion, with Virginia.”
“Whatever happens in Virginia could very well happen in the rest of the country and so that’s why it is important that we don't back down,” Chase continued.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.