George Barker

State Sen. George Barker

RICHMOND -- A ‘red flag’ gun bill sponsored by Sen. George Barker, D-39th, to allow law enforcement to temporarily seize firearms from people found to be a danger to themselves or others passed a state Senate committee along party lines Monday morning. 

Barker represents constituents in Prince William County, Fairfax County and Alexandria City. 

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 9-5 to report the bill out of committee, with all nine Democrats voting in favor of the measure and all five Republicans voting against. It will now go to a floor vote in the state Senate at a date that hasn’t yet been scheduled. 

It’s one of several gun laws the new Democratic majorities are expected to pass during the 2020 General Assembly session that have been backed by Gov. Ralph Northam. 

Virginia Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian J. Moran, speaking on behalf of Northam, said the governor strongly supports Barker’s bill and that the administration had spoken with a number of states that have passed similar laws. 

“We can adopt those best practices that have been adopted by those 17 states to ensure the effective and safe implementation of this law,” Moran said at the meeting. 

Red flag gun laws have been adopted by 17 states and Washington D.C. Moran also drew attention three state court cases in Connecticut, Indiana and Florida in which red flag gun laws had been challenged. 

Barker, addressing the committee, said the law had been successfully defended in court.

The bill creates a procedure by which any attorney for the commonwealth or any law-enforcement officer can apply to a general district court, circuit court, or juvenile and domestic relations district court judge for an emergency substantial risk order.

Republican lawmakers Sens. Richard Stuart, R-28th, Ben Chafin, R-38th, Mark Obenshain, R-26th, Ryan McDougle, R-4th, and Tommy Norment, R-3rd, voted against Barker’s proposed ‘red flag’ law. Stuart represents part of Prince William County.

Several lawmakers expressed concern that the law would violate citizens’ due process and Second Amendment rights. 

“You’re flipping due process and the Constitution on its head,” Stuart said. “This bill probably scares me more than any bill I’ve seen in the Senate of Virginia in the 12 years I’ve been here, because of the mischief that could be done with it.”

Philip Van Cleave, president of Virginia Citizens Defense League, also spoke out against the bill. VCDL has been at the center of the push to declare Virginia localities “Second Amendment sanctuaries.” Over 100 localities have passed either Second Amendment or “constitutional county” resolutions since Nov. 5, including Prince William County, which declared itself the latter in December. 

“If you were a danger to your family, you could still kill your family. They’ve just arrested the guns,” Van Cleave said about Barker’s bill. “You could be disarmed for life and you’ve done nothing wrong.” 

Democrats approved two additional gun bills – a watered down universal background check bill and a bill allowing localities to ban firearms in public buildings, parks and permitted events – at the same committee meeting. 

The latter bill was sponsored by state Sen. Scott Surovell, D-36th, who represents part of Prince William County.

Both bills will head to the floor of the state Senate for a full vote at a later date.

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(9) comments


Clearly those bitching about responsible gun laws got out voted. As you said to anyone that lost to the idiot Trump, suck it up.


Guilty until proven innocent....

Gene Ralno

Clearly red flag laws have triggered the national movement for 2nd Amendment Sanctuary counties. And we’re already witnessing a sea change in the sanctuary movement. I've always believed these partisan and unconstitutional laws could be defeated by simply denying assistance to federal or state law enforcement.

The obvious reason is federal and state resources alone are woefully inadequate to enforce such things as red flag or bayonet lug violations and could not begin to undertake such efforts without local law enforcement assistance. If deputizing hundreds of thousands to actively resist federal and state efforts is representative of the whole movement, it’s a single issue rebellion which could rapidly expand.

Hundreds of counties already have proclaimed sanctuary status and almost 70 percent of the counties nationwide are projected to declare allegiance to the Constitution and refusal to enforce laws that violate it. That would comprise 472 counties with only one murder per year plus 1,700 counties that have no murders at all. If that materializes, a desirable result would force federal and state enforcement to concentrate on the 63 counties (2% of the total) where half of America’s murders occur.

This movement is understandable because the fact is, red flag laws were created to dilute power licensed to the psychiatric community. These laws transfer power to unqualified persons more obedient to democrats, e.g., local judges and crotchety old aunts. Due process requires reports from two psychiatrists, one from each side, legal representation, arraignment, indictment and trial by jury.

Nobody wants criminals to have firearms but to be taken seriously, if the accused is a danger to himself or others, he should be legally arrested. In other words, take the man but leave the guns. The line of inheritance codified in state laws determines the legal custodian of any property. Politicians on both sides who support this notion will regret the day they ever heard of red flag laws.

Their legacies will carry a Supreme Court scolding and perhaps be the landmark of their careers. Writers, politicians and demonstrators have been hoodwinked by Bloomberg's rhetoric and haven’t read his 2018 data. It reveals gun homicides declined seven percent, firearm injuries declined 10 percent, fatal child shootings (under 18) declined 12 percent and unintentional shootings plummeted 21 percent.

None of this hysteria is justified. Since 1991, the murder rate has fallen by 45 percent and the overall violent crime rate has fallen by 48 percent. It's bizarre that Bloomberg wants to change all that. Since 1999, the statistical probability of a student being killed in school, on any given day by a gun has been one in 614 million. Your odds of winning the lottery are 1 in 300 million. The chances of your child being kidnapped are about one in 300,000. Bloomberg says the nation is in crisis, suffering an epidemic. Folks, there is no crisis, no epidemic.

Shooting incidents involving students have been declining since the '90s. Fact is all but three mass shooters in recent history passed background checks. Two stole their rifles. The other one bought from a guy who assembled it from parts and sold it from home. Murders committed by all types of rifles combined, in 2018, dropped by 23.9 percent. According to the FBI, out of 14,123 homicides in 2018, only 297 (2.1%) were committed by rifles.

During that time, citizens were buying a record number of firearms. In 2019, more than 28 million requests were submitted to the National Instant Background System, a general indicator of firearms purchased and an historic record. That number exceeds 27.5 million in 2016 when purchasers were mortified that Hillary might be elected. Democrats want US citizens to believe making the U.S. safer for criminals will make it safer for their victims. Ask yourself, do you believe being disarmed makes you safer? What kind of political leader would disarm his people while howling about the peril they face?

These laws have not considered all the possible areas they might harm. For example, what if a crotchety old aunt complained about a blustery nephew who also is a Federal Firearms Licensee and established dealer? What if the nephew is a licensee who operates a pawn shop? What if the nephew stores a neighbor's firearms because his safe is large enough? What about a nephew whose firearms are stored somewhere else? And so on.

The Supreme Court isn't about to jeopardize its own reputation by reducing the ability of private citizens to defend themselves. It's especially important because currently, half the nation's murders occur in only 63 counties while the other half are spread across the other 3,081 counties. Said another way, 15 percent had one murder and 54 percent of the nation’s counties had no murders at all.

Besides, they’re sick of our paralyzed congress creating ambiguous laws that ultimately land in the Supreme Court. They know it’s easy to blame the tools used for murder and to write acts that impede acquisition by peaceable, lawful citizens.

They know it’s far more difficult to focus on the more complex reality of why incomprehensible murderers do what they do. If something is to be done, perhaps it should be focused on the mental defectives, criminals, terrorists and illegal aliens.


This is another tool for the Dimms to suppress fredom of speech. If they don't like what you say, they take away your firearms. Good way to wipe out two consitutional rights with one law.


Thank you Senator Barker.


You are an idiot.


Thank you?


Red flag will be used aas a payback or vindictive effort by those "hurt" by someone...usually a woman gets mad at her ex and she pulls the red flag approach. The guy then spends his real dough proving he's ok to get his gun back if the cops havent crushed it. Might as well call it the ex-partner payback bill.

Bill Card

We told you so Virginia, see bullet #2:

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