By Alex Bridges
A Republican state senator for the region says she supports limiting access to certain firearms such as assault rifles.
Sen. Jill H. Vogel, R-Upperville, also spoke out Wednesday against any initiative that would let public school teachers and staff to keep loaded firearms at work.
"At the end of the day I know that there's a lot of discussion about potentially having guns in schools and having administrators and teachers have weapons and I can't say that I think that is a good solution," Vogel said.
At the same time, Vogel noted she remains open to revisiting the state's gun laws, including those pertaining to background checks and access to certain firearms.
"I am concerned about certain assault weapons being readily available and I think that if you have something that happened in a public school that we just saw happen, it is a great indication of something being terribly broken," Vogel added. "We are not doing ourselves any service ... There is a solution and we can be a little more open-minded and consider that we have to make some changes."
"There are certain firearms that don't need to be in the hands of regular citizens," Vogel added later.
Vogel said she anticipates hearing many proposed solutions and that the legislature may need to make multiple changes to how the state looks at firearms, school safety and health care.
As a mother, Vogel said she thinks about where it's practical to have firearms. She also remains a defender of the Second Amendment and advocates for less "government intrusion."
The senator cited a long-running debate over the state of mental health care in Virginia.
"If you talk to your health care people they will tell you that this is one place where we don't have to resources," Vogel said.
Media reports had indicated the suspect shooter in the Connecticut incident suffered from some mental illness. Other reports seem to undercut this belief.
"Honestly I don't know what the truth is but I'm going to take the same position that you would or anybody else would and that is there is something horribly wrong with you mentally if you go into a school and you spray a classroom of 6-year-olds with an assault weapon," Vogel said.
Legislators need to look at where the state remains most vulnerable, Vogel said.
"I would hope that when we go back and we consider that we don't all dig in so quickly that we're not open-minded enough to consider that we really owe our men and women who are not just educators but who serve in all aspects of our public sector, including public safety," Vogel said.
The senator noted that the commonwealth can address safety without infringing on second amendment rights.
Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or firstname.lastname@example.org