Pro-gun commentator Dana Loesch went on Fox News to make the false suggestion that proposed gun safety bills in Virginia will ban all gun ranges and prevent parents from teaching their children about firearms. In fact, the bills Loesch was referencing propose a narrow regulation on certain gun ranges that employ more than 50 people and would make it a misdemeanor to allow minors to use firearms without adult supervision.
Following a May 2019 mass shooting in Virginia Beach that left 12 dead and a Democrat-backed July special session on gun safety in the legislature that Republicans immediately shut down, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) pledged to prioritize gun violence prevention in the new legislative session that began on January 8. Virginia Democrats, who took control of both chambers of the legislature in the 2019 elections, introduced a roster of gun safety bills, including an assault weapons ban, universal background checks, a raised age requirement on gun purchasing, and extreme risk protection orders that temporarily remove firearms from people who are a danger to themselves or others.
On January 9, former National Rifle Association national spokesperson and current pro-gun radio host Dana Loesch joined Fox News’ morning show Fox & Friends to fearmonger that Virginia Democrats are plotting an “overall strategy of disarmament” in the commonwealth. Loesch went on to falsely assert that the proposed gun safety bills would “ban gun ranges” so that “law-abiding Americans can't actually train to carry their arms” and start “stripping parents of their rights … of determining when and how their children can learn about firearms”:
Contrary to Loesch’s alarming, sensationalist attempt to gin up fear of gun safety proposals, none of the new Virginia bills would “ban” gun ranges or “strip parents of any rights. Instead, the range bill would only prohibit indoor ranges in private buildings that have more than 50 employees. The likely impact of this bill would be to close the range at the NRA’s headquarters in Fairfax and possibly one other range in Richmond. An aide for the sponsor of the bill argued that it “would make sure that we don't have people bringing large quantities of firearms and ammunition into office buildings.” However, the bill is not part of the core gun safety proposals in Virginia and is unlikely to become law. A leading Virginia gun control advocate called the bill “eccentric,” suggesting it was a response to Virginia Republicans’ tradition of introducing numerous pro-gun bills on wide-ranging issues when they have controlled the legislature.
The other bill referenced by Loesch would make it a “Class 1 misdemeanor” for any adult to knowingly allow a minor to use a firearm “except when the person is under the supervision of an adult” -- hardly stripping parents of any rights. Contrary to Loesch's argument, the bill explicitly requires adult supervision of children learning to use firearms instead of enabling them to handle weapons alone or with other minors.
This Fox News appearance was just Loesch’s latest attempt to sow baseless fear about any and all legislation to prevent gun violence. In September alone, she appeared on Fox to suggest Democrats want to massacre gun owners, tweeted that a mandatory buyback of assault weapons is a “state-sanctioned threat,” and told Fox News’ Jesse Watters that a mandatory buyback is an “implicit forcible theft, which would result in violence.”