What occurred July 9 during the General Assembly’s Special Session should be a wake up call. Three Virginians die every day from gun violence. The majority of these deaths are suicides. Many others are the result of domestic violence.
The current NRA mantra is that a good guy with a gun is the best defense against a bad guy with a gun. But where’s the “good guy” when a person commits suicide? What about women killed by their ex-husbands, husbands, boyfriends or ex-boyfriends? How about a young child who finds a carelessly stored gun? It seems in our society we value human life, except in these cases.
The Governor’s request was simple. After the mass shooting in Virginia Beach, he wanted legislators to reconsider gun legislation that failed to pass a few short months earlier. Virginia’s failure to act has a long history. Twelve years after 32 people died at Virginia Tech we still have no meaningful gun safety legislation. Recommendations from a bi-partisan Blue Ribbon Panel generally have not been acted on. After 12 years of inaction, more than 11,000 Virginians have since become victims of gun violence.
To pretend we are powerless to address gun violence is ludicrous. After the 90-minute charade I watched last Tuesday, even after some influential legislators promised to submit legislation for debate, Virginia’s legislators simply chose to dodge their responsibility to provide for public safety. Many other states have passed legislation to protect lives. It’s time for Virginia to join them.
The Governor said he expected better. We all should expect better. Families who have and will continue to use lose loved ones deserve better. On November 5, it’s time to remove from office those individuals who won’t even consider common sense public safety solutions.
Editor's Note: This originally appeared in the July 17th electronic edition of the Culpeper Star Exponent, and has been re-posted here with the author's permission.
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