Richmond, VA – After passing out of the House Privileges and Elections Subcommittee by a 7-1 vote, the anti-gun and anti-free speech “Gag Act” bill (HB 500) was defeated after Republican bill sponsor Tim Anderson pulled his legislation from further consideration.
“On its face, HB 500 might not appear to deal with gun rights, but any legislation designed to protect the political class and silence the ability of citizens to lobby their lawmakers during an election cycle is blatantly unconstitutional and an assault on our rights,” said Dudley Brown, President of the National Association for Gun Rights. “Gag Act bills intentionally stifle free speech and unduly hamper the ability of citizens and advocacy groups to openly discuss a politician’s voting record – especially their record on gun rights.”
Virginia’s Gag Act legislation would have required any person or organization that mentions a candidate’s name 30 days before a primary and 60 days before a general election, to register and file reports with the government, even if it is for the purpose of direct electioneering.
Furthermore, it labeled issue advocacy (which is simply reporting the voting record of politicians before an election) as electioneering communications – a clear violation of recent Supreme Court precedence on the issue of free speech.
“Law-abiding gun owners in Virginia are taking back the commonwealth – and the grassroots lobbying efforts of our Virginia members killed this heinous legislation. They used their First Amendment rights to protect the Second Amendment – and that’s exactly why we will always oppose Gag Act bills regardless of state they pop up in,” concluded Brown.
The National Association for Gun Rights is the nation’s largest “no compromise” pro-gun organization, with 4.5 million members nationwide.