Virginia Elected Official Introduces Legislation to Bring Back Preemption Power

Dave LaRock, a Republican delegate in the Virginia General Assembly recently filed a bill that would “remove a locality’s authority to prohibit the possession or carrying firearms in public parks and community centers owned by the locality, as well as public streets, alleys and sidewalks,” per a report by the Washington Examiner. Essentially, this bill would restore the Virginia state government’s ability to preempt local gun control laws. 

In correspondence with Ammoland News, LaRock said that if local governments start to take control of gun regulations, the continuity of laws throughout states will be thrown in total disarray. 

The preemption battle has huge implications for gun rights in the United States. According to a report by, state preemption is being attacked by Gun Control Inc in Washington State. Washington is one of the first states to pass preemption laws, having done so in 1985 according to Dave Workman of AmmoLand News. For that reason, gun controllers are targeting this law because they believe that if this model law can be repealed, other preemption laws nationwide — in over three dozen states — can also be scrapped.

Workman highlighted the bill’s text:

No locality shall adopt or enforce any ordinance, resolution, or motion, as permitted by § 15.2-1425, and no agent of such locality shall take any administrative action, governing the purchase, possession, transfer, ownership, carrying, storage, or transporting of firearms, ammunition, or components or combination thereof other than those expressly authorized by statute. For purposes of this section, a statute that does not refer to firearms, ammunition, or components or combination thereof shall not be construed to provide express authorization.

Nothing in this section shall prohibit a locality from adopting workplace rules relating to terms and conditions of employment of the workforce. However, no locality shall adopt any workplace rule, other than for the purposes of a community services board or behavioral health authority as defined in § 37.2-100, that prevents an employee of that locality from storing at that locality’s workplace a lawfully possessed firearm and ammunition in a locked private motor vehicle. Nothing in this section shall prohibit a law-enforcement officer, as defined in § 9.1-101, from acting within the scope of his duties.

The provisions of this section applicable to a locality shall also apply to any authority or to a local governmental entity, including a department or agency, but not including any local or regional jail, juvenile detention facility, or state-governed entity, department, or agency.

In a phone conversation with Workman, LaRock noted that there is still significant division in the Virginia General Assembly. Republicans control the House and Governor’s Mansion, while Democrats control the Senate. Governor Glenn Youngkin could likely sign LaRock’s legislation if it arrives on his desk. But knowing how Republicans at the statewide level operate, there’s no guarantee that Youngkin’s signature is a lock here.  

One of the more astute observations LaRock made about the elimination of preemption laws is that they give anti-gunners cover. Essentially, when a local municipality enacts gun control regulations, state elected officials can inform angry constituents the gun control policy was enacted locally and not their fault. On top of that, by giving local municipalities the power to enact gun control, Gun Control Inc. can finally get back on the scoreboard and start building momentum in carving out anti-gun fiefdoms. 

Virginia is ranked in 35th place according to Guns & Ammo magazine’s best states for gun owners rankings, thus showing its rapid descent into gun control tyranny. Hopefully, Virginia gun owners pull off the unthinkable and get this repeal passed. 

If they can’t, they’ll have to double down on nullification at the municipal and county level.

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