Continuous Virginia General Assembly Coverage
In what has become something of a tradition in the past years, Virginia lawmakers were greeted by a parade of gun activists at a chilly Capitol this morning. Opponents and proponents of gun legislation use Martin Luther King Jr. Day to express their views in hopes legislators will listen, seemingly touting their views in support or opposition of King’s non-violence message.
Their words may be mute since the remainder of this governing session lacks much to say about gun legislation. With Republicans in control of both chambers and Gov. Terry McAuliffe offering to block any proposed legislation that would minimize regulations, gun-related bills won’t stand a chance albeit they escape conservative driven committees.
We shall remember something before going too far here.
Virginia may be a purple state, but she’s still a gun state. The National Rifle Association (NRA) calls Fairfax, Va. home, which means lawmakers need to appeal to their cause given the wide scope of influence NRA lobbyists and members hold.
The target of much of the debating was Attorney General Mark Herring, who was called — according to the Virginia Pilot — “anti-American” by some protesters.
Herring and McAuliffe, along with a slue of other politicians, are missing the point. Take a lead from one of your own legislators — Senator Creigh Deeds (D-Bath). His own son attempted to kill him before shooting himself two years ago on their ranch home in the backwoods of Southwest Virginia.
An area no strangers to guns and hunting, Gus Deeds was mentally disturbed. This is not an issue of limiting guns and banning concealed carry from state-maintained buildings (something McAuliffe used his executive power to do earlier this year). This is an issue of mental health and the fact that so many instances similar to the Deeds affair could have been and should have been avoided with proper resource allocation.
The General Assembly must realize mental health should be the debate, not guns. Otherwise, they’re creating their own instability.