The typical responses along party lines is to be expected, which comes with a slight differential on how they mix up the lingo or match up their own experiences with the topic. There are plenty of fence sitters out there given the many responses we have read. To simply brush this discussion off as, "Another AWB will not happen" is a simple way of saying history won't repeat itself. Sure the Republicans have a majority in the house, but do you want to leave it to chance.
What is going on in many State legislators should be a wake up call to the possibilities of widespread gun grabbing. Call your local representatives as well as your voice in Washington. Remind them that the 2nd Amendment is not to be infringed and that itself infers an absolute right. Senator Tim Kaine from Virginia should help drive the message home as to the need for an immediate response from our readers. Don't let your right to bear arms be a means for negotiation or a bargaining chip.
Thank you for contacting me to share your views on proposals to reduce gun violence. I appreciate hearing from you.
No one can deny that gun violence is a serious problem in this country today. We owe it to the victims of the growing number of mass shootings to vigorously debate specific and comprehensive proposals that can keep our communities safer. The right approach focuses on many issues - improvements to the mental health system, better security protocols and common sense rules about gun use, including keeping firearms out of the hands of dangerous individuals.
When I was on the Richmond City Council in the 1990s, our city was mired in an epidemic of gun violence that included the city having the second-highest homicide rate in the United States. The most successful step we took was implementing Project Exile, a program that involved federal prosecution and tougher penalties for gun crimes that were previously treated more leniently in state courts. Celebrated by diverse groups engaged in the gun violence debate - including the National Rifle Association and the Brady Campaign - the program helped drive down Richmond's homicide rate by nearly 60 percent within a few years.
In 2007, the tragic shooting at Virginia Tech revealed glaring weaknesses in campus security protocols at colleges and universities, in our mental health system and the gun background check system for gun purchases. In a bipartisan spirit, I worked with then-Attorney General Bob McDonnell to immediately improve our background check system and issued an executive order ensuring that those adjudicated to be mentally ill and dangerous would be entered into a national database and barred from purchasing weapons. We also changed standards for mental health treatment and increased funding for community health programs while dramatically improving campus security and efforts to assist college students suffering from mental stress.
In January I attended a round-table event in Richmond with Vice President Biden on gun violence, to talk about the lessons learned in Virginia and the need for a comprehensive approach to these problems. As your U.S. Senator, I will work to bring that kind of comprehensive approach that will strengthen the safety of our communities, while protecting our Second Amendment rights. As a gun owner who worked with others to constitutionally guarantee Virginians the right to hunt, I know that you can be a strong supporter of the Second Amendment without tolerating the gun tragedies that are too often a part of our daily lives.
Concerning specific proposals, I am a strong supporter of universal background record checks. This is the only way we can enforce existing laws that prohibit dangerous individuals from purchasing guns. I am open to supporting legislation placing reasonable limits on high capacity magazines, combat-style weapons and gun trafficking if they are carefully drafted.
Please be assured that I will keep your views in mind as Congress continues to debate strategies to reduce gun violence. Thank you once again for contacting me.
- Mark Warner United States Senator from Virginia Responds
- Congressman Gerald Connolly Virginia 11th Congressional District Responds