In a recent letter to the editor, I asked a question of Del. (Michael) Webert (R—18th) and his Republican colleagues in the House of Delegates and the State Senate: “How many innocent people must die before you enact sensible gun safety laws in our state?” In case you’re wondering, the answer is: more.
In a not-too-surprising move during the House of Delegates Special Session to discuss gun safety concerns, the Republican leadership abruptly ended all debate after 90 minutes.
Here is how it went: Majority Leader Del. (Todd) Gilbert (R—16th) of Shenandoah made a motion that the House session end and not reconvene until Nov. 18, effectively killing any legislation. Speaker (M. Kirkland) Cox (R—66th) quickly ran through a voice vote without doing a roll call so that Republicans could avoid any actual record of how they voted in relation to gun violence. Is this our democracy at work?
Schoolchildren cower in their classrooms during active shooter drills. People suffer anxiety when they set foot in a shopping mall or yoga studio, not to mention just going to their workplace. We worry that someone with an assault rifle might just show up for that Bible study class we attend. The Republican leadership kowtows to the big money gun lobbyists and extremists who want more destructive and decisive killing weapons with no restrictions or reasonable justification beyond “it’s my Second Amendment right.”
Don’t buy into the tired adage, “People kill people, guns don’t kill people.” Guns do kill people and enacting gun safety measures will help keep dangerous weapons out of the hands of predators. As I recently heard candidate Jess Foster (D – 88th District) say, “That’s exactly right! Guns don’t kill people, people kill people (with guns) which is why we need to regulate human behavior to ensure that the wrong people don’t have access to guns.”
When you vote this November, and vote you must, keep in mind that the starting point for any sensible gun safety legislation is communication and collaboration. The current Republican leaders have demonstrated their cowardice and do-nothing approach to protecting Virginia citizens and communities. We need representatives who are willing to discuss, debate and work across the aisle to enact sensible laws. I pray that no one else must succumb to gun violence before that happens.