IT’S JUST NOT A PRIORITY – Republicans Continue to Delay Gun Safety Measures
In the aftermath of the horrific Virginia Beach shooting, and prior to the two mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, on June 4 Gov. Northam called for a Special Session of the Virginia General Assembly to consider gun safety measures. Democrats introduced eight measures, including proposals for universal background checks and the creation of a “Red Flag” protective order that would remove guns from people who are experiencing mental health challenges that pose a risk to themselves or others. Most of the measures were bills that had been filed for the regular 2019 Session, but were defeated in a small subcommittee. Despite considerable fanfare, when the Assembly met on July 9, it adjourned after only 90 minutes. Republican leaders in the House and Senate could have called us back later this summer or early this fall, but instead decided to delay any further consideration until two weeks after the 2019 election.
Most people saw this quite properly as a “delaying tactic,” which was recently confirmed in a statement made by a Republican Delegate from the Roanoke area. “We needed to make it go away,” said the Delegate to a group of political activists; “We came up with a strategy that would neutralize the issues.”
TACTICS TO DELAY
The Republican strategy has been clear from the beginning – delay, delay, delay. Their plan was to refer all of the bills to the Virginia Crime Commission, a House/Senate committee controlled by Republicans. The Crime Commission met on Monday and Tuesday and a number of us who had filed Special Session bills got 3 minutes to present our proposals. Some presenters felt they should take only 30 seconds to explain their bills — the same amount of time it took the Dayton gunman to kill 9 and injure 27. [Read more…]