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Bridget Johnson


March 25, 2013 - 2:29 pm

A Republican congressman who has been targeted by a gun-rights group for supporting new gun trafficking legislation signed on to co-sponsor a bill intended to strengthen federal protections for gun owners traveling with legal firearms.

The National Association for Gun Rights aired an ad in Hampton Roads, the district of Virginia Rep. Scott Rigell, last month criticizing him for co-sponsoring legislation to increase penalties for those illegally buying guns or taking them across state lines.

Rigell introduced the Gun Trafficking Prevention Act of 2013 with Reps. Patrick Meehan (R-Pa.), Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) and Elijah Cummings (D-Md.).  “This common sense legislation has bipartisan support, and when we find common ground, we must embrace it, celebrate it, and act on it,” Rigell said at the time. In response, the National Association for Gun Rights ad said the congressman “wants gun owners in a federal registration system.”

The Virginia Republican called that charge “laughable.”

His newest bill is co-sponsored with Reps. Morgan Griffith (R-Va.) and Bill Owens (D-N.Y.). According to Rigell’s office, it would reaffirm the “safe passage” provision within the 1986 Firearms Owners’ Protection Act (FOPA).

“There is evidence that some states continue to harass and detain folks who are abiding by the law. This legislation makes it clear that the rights of gun owners cannot be violated or ignored,” Rigell said.

The bill would strengthen protections for those traveling with firearms from one jurisdiction where they are allowed to possess a firearm to another, protect travelers who are temporarily forced to stop in a jurisdiction where firearm possession is unlawful, place the burden of proof on the states to prove the firearm owner is in violation of this law, and allow those wrongfully detained or charged with crimes in relation to this section to recoup attorneys fees.

The congressman gave as an example someone traveling through a state stopping for gas or for the night.

“As Congress looks to address gun violence, it is imperative that we protect the Second Amendment and our citizens’ right to bear arms. We must protect law abiding citizens and focus on going after criminals who have guns,” added Rigell.

In 2010, the National Rifle Association endorsed Democratic Rep. Glenn Nye over Rigell, who won the seat. Rigell self-describes as a lifelong NRA member.

The announcement of the new bill from Rigell’s office called the congressman “a consistent defender of the Second Amendment.”

Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She is an NPR contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

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Hampton Roads has become a strongly Democratic part of the state in the last decade. This was largely due to the large number of federal government jobs moving into the area thanks to the surge in the size of government under Bush. The counties of northern Virginia near DC have also become infested with bureaucrats and rich ones at that. Those two regions have been steadily dragging Virginia left whilst hogging more than their share of the state budget, particularly for roads.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Most of the jobs are defense jobs and are do not have the same political demographics as the rest of the Federal Government. Hampton leans Democratic because it has a lot of traditional Democratic voters, i.e., it has a African-American population.

I have read the bill and there is nothing wrong with it.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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