June 4, 2019
We should have passed strong gun legislation twelve years ago after the unspeakable tragedy at Virginia Tech. We passed my legislation to address deficiencies in our mental health laws but we couldn't pass meaningful gun safety laws.
What is wrong with us as a society that we cannot confront this violence, muster support for the reasonable measures other countries have, and stop it?
Stopping gun violence has always been a major priority of mine. I ran on the issue my first race in 1991 and every election since then. Every year I have introduced at least one bill to combat it. After I had been in the Senate for five years my father in law was murdered by a burglar with a gun. My family knows the pain of gun violence.
I delight in my consistent "F" rating from the NRA. They, and the even more extreme Citizens Defense League (CDL), literally have blood on their hands. Year after year they and their legislative allies have stopped all measures that could slow and reduce the carnage.
The time for action is now. I commend Governor Northam for calling us into special session.
Here are some proposals that I already support and have voted for in the past. Some I have introduced. Hopefully, even more will be suggested before the special session:
- Universal Background Checks for all gun purchasers
- Re-instate one gun a month limits
- Ban high-capacity magazines, silencers, and bump stocks
- Implement "Red Flag" laws to seize weapons from persons the courts deem a threat
- Ban assault weapons
- No gun sales to persons under 21
- Require a Certificate of Proficiency before gun purchases
- Strict penalties for allowing access to guns by children
- Require lost or stolen guns to be reported to law enforcement
- Expand local authority to regulate firearms, including in government buildings
- Prohibit possession of guns by anyone subject to a permanent protective order
I am frankly sick and tired of the game that has been repeated over and over in Virginia. Whenever tragedy happens, gun industry supporters say it is too soon to even talk about legislation. Then they wait until the fervor subsides and then they kill all the meaningful bills. We cannot let that scenario play out this time.
Enough is enough.