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Gun advocates in Woodbridge sound off against proposed firearm restrictions
Dozens of gun advocates took part in a Firearm Violence Prevention Forum organized by state politicians in Woodbridge on July 1, 2019, to oppose any “erosion” of their right to keep and bear arms.
Members of the Virginia Citizens Defense League wearing “Guns Save Lives” stickers used the forum to express their concerns about attempts by Virginia Governor Ralph Northam and his Democratic Party allies in the General Assembly to pass new gun safety measures in the wake of the May 31 Virginia Beach mass shooting.
The forum was also attended by a significant number of people associated with Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, a public safety advocacy group seeking tighter gun controls.
The forum was organized by State Senator Scott Surovell (36th District) and State Delegate Jennifer Carroll Foy (2nd District) to hear from the local community ahead of Northam’s special legislative session on gun violence, planned for Tuesday, July 9, in Richmond.
Virginia Health and Human Resources Secretary Daniel Carey, representing the Northam Administration, also attended the event held at Prince William County’s Chinn Park Regional Library.
Surovell, Carroll Foy and Carey were joined at the forum by other Democratic Party politicians State Senator George Barker (39th District), State Delegate Hala Ayala (51st District), and State Delegate Elizabeth Guzmán (31st District) as well as a representative of the American Academy of Pediatricians. All made statements and took questions.
The Republican Party-controlled House and Senate are not expected to support any of the gun restrictions proposed by Northam for the Special Session. The Governor’s legislative push comes at the midpoint of an election year, with all 40 Senate seats and 100 House of Delegates seats on the ballot at the Nov. 5 general election.
The gun safety measures to be considered at the Special Session:
Surovell said in his opening remarks that living through the D.C. sniper attacks of 2002 as well as subsequent shootings at Virginia Tech and now Virginia Beach had moved him to support certain gun restrictions.
However, most of that legislation – such as limits on high-capacity magazines, bump stocks and military-grade assault weapons as well as universal background checks and red flag laws – have thus far failed to make it out of committee in Virginia’s Republican-controlled General Assembly.
Carroll Foy said she supports “common sense gun safety legislation,” including reducing the magazine capacity to 20 rounds of ammunition and banning the use of silencers and bump stocks. She said growing up in Petersburg, Virginia, which she called “one of the most violent places in Virginia,” moved her to support gun limits, especially having nursed one of her friends back to health who was shot in an armed robbery.
“I hope we can all come to some type of consensus, because with the number of people dying from gun violence, this issue is too important for us to keep quiet and do nothing,” Carroll Foy said.
During the forum, gun rights advocates said any proposal to restrict firearms would erode the liberties and Second Amendment rights of lawful gun owners. They said the proposals on the table don’t address criminal actions or compliance with existing gun safety regulations; nor do they address mental health issues or high suicide rates.
Charles Anderson of the Virginia Citizens Defense League and Police Benevolent Association told Fort Hunt Herald after the meeting that it was a good discussion, with opinions shared on both sides of the issue. However, he said the presenters were biased against gun rights and were using “lots of flawed terminology.”
“I’m concerned these proposals will be a gateway to gun confiscation laws,” he said.
“If they go through, it’s not going to save any lives; there’s no correlation between gun control laws and any reduction in killings.
“And speaking from a law enforcement perspective, where there’s more gun ownership, there are fewer police killings. Guns save lives and guns save police lives; that’s why I’m for it.”
Anderson doesn’t trust any news sources covering incidents like the Virginia Beach shooting, saying they’re “too heavily biased and try to put a spin on things. But what I know is that officers ran in and took out the shooter and that was the end of it. Unfortunately lives were lost in the process.”
A representative of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America declined to comment after the meeting.
Surovell told Fort Hunt Herald there was lots of passion on both sides of the issue.
“Whenever you have a forum on this type of issue, you always fill the room,” he said.
“It was a little surprising to me, because many of the issues we’re proposing have 80-90 percent public support — things like universal background checks, a bump stock ban and magazine limits. But many people feel very strongly because it effects their constitutional rights.”
Surovell said he’s “not optimistic” that his Republican colleagues will join with the Democrats to pass gun safety legislation during the Special Session.
“Doing this in the middle of the campaign cycle probably isn’t going to help change anybody’s vote, but we’ll see – I’m hopeful,” he said.
“The event that really got my attention was the D.C. sniper. I lived through that, and anybody else who did can’t have good feelings about assault rifles. You couldn’t even get out of your car to pump gas.”
Barry Hirsh says:
July 3, 2019 at 11:36 am
“military-grade assault weapons”
Military-grade assault weapons are select-fire, capable of semi-auto, burst-fire and fully automatic fire.
AR-15s are NOT “military-grade assault weapons”. They are semi-automatic (i.e. auto-loading, one squeeze yields one round fired) rifles that cosmetically LOOK like military-grade assault weapons.
“However, [Charles Anderson, Police Benevolent Association] said the presenters were biased against gun rights and were using ‘lots of flawed terminology.'”
Exactly so, and it’s deliberate:
“‘Assault weapons’ menacing looks, coupled with the public’s confusion over fully-automatic machine guns versus semi-automatic assault weapons –anything that looks like a machine gun is assumed to be a machine gun– can only increase the chance of public support for restrictions on these weapons.” – Josh Sugarman, founder, VPC
The people have a right to know how mendacious and disingenuous the anti-rights movement is, and should take whatever it advocates as automatically suspect.
LIBERTY HAS NO EXPIRATION DATEDemocrats wouldn't buy a clue if it was government subsidized.
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