Trump claims he somehow 'stopped' Virginia governor's gun laws. He didn't.


He has 'stopped' nothing.

Donald Trump tweeted a false attack on Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam on Monday morning, as both men recovered from COVID-19 infections.

"Virginia Voters! Your Governor wants to obliterate your Second Amendment. I have stopped him," Trump lied. "I am the only thing between you and your Second Amendment. Working hard in Virginia. It’s IN PLAY. Better Vote for your favorite President, or wave goodbye to low taxes and gun rights!"

Trump has not stopped anything.

The Democratic-controlled Virginia state Legislature enacted a series of gun safety laws during its 2020 session, including expanded background checks, a red-flag law allowing police to temporarily disarm those who are a threat to themselves, a restoration of Virginia's one-gun-a-month purchase limit, and others. Northam signed them into law and then went into effect on July 1.

Many of these policies, including red-flag laws and background checks, had been previously endorsed by Trump in the aftermath of mass shootings.

"We must make sure that those judged to pose a grave risk to public safety do not have access to firearms and that if they do, those firearms can be taken through rapid due process," Trump urged in August 2019. "That is why I have called for red flag laws, also known as extreme risk protection orders."

"Republicans and Democrats must come together and get strong background checks," he tweeted that same day.

At the urging of the gun lobby, Trump abandoned those proposals, but Virginia voters elected new Democratic majorities in the state Legislature in November 2019 after they ran on an explicit promise of gun violence prevention.

Polls showed huge public support for each piece of legislation.

Trump has attempted to inject himself into Virginia politics before, without success. In 2017, he endorsed Northam's Republican opponent and baselessly warned "Ralph Northam will allow crime to be rampant in Virginia." In 2019, he backed keeping the GOP majority in the Legislature, specifically invoking guns as a reason.

In April of this year, Trump attacked Virginia and urged his supporters to rise up against its elected majority, using the pandemic to attack and mislead about the new gun laws.

"LIBERATE VIRGINIA, and save your great 2nd Amendment. It's under siege!" he tweeted.

"I think Virginia is a great case, though, because they're using this [pandemic]," he wrongly claimed at a press conference. "They're trying to take your guns away in Virginia. And if people in Virginia aren't careful, that's what's going to happen to them."

Contrary to Trump's claim, it does not appear Virginia is "in play" in this year's elections. Polling averages give Joe Biden an 11-point lead or better in the increasingly-blue state.

Trump's latest attack on Northam comes as both men and their wives have been diagnosed with COVID-19.

After Trump's diagnosis, Northam tweeted on Friday, "Pam [Northam] and I are sending our best wishes to the President and First Lady, and to the more than 46,000 Americans—and 450 Virginians—also diagnosed with #COVID19 yesterday. This virus is very real and very serious. Let’s continue to take care of each other by doing the right things."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.