Letter to the Editor: Delegates fail in chance for reasonable gun laws
There are opportunities in our commonwealth to show the country that certain responsible gun legislation is a “no brainer.” Senate Bill 510 was just that opportunity. This bill would have prohibited individuals who were convicted of a misdemeanor of stalking, sexual battery, or domestic abuse from possessing a firearm for five years following their conviction. After that period of time, their right would be automatically be restored.
The aforementioned misdemeanors have been linked to increased risk of violence and homicide. In fact, when the Virginia medical examiner conducted a10-year study of family and intimate partner homicide, they found that 60.5 percent of intimate partner homicides were killed by a firearm, and that there is a five-fold increased risk of homicide when an abuser has access to a firearm.
Even former Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s office, in his 2012 annual report, noted that stalking, sexual battery and domestic abuse “have profound and serious consequences, not only for their victims, but also for families, schools, workplaces and communities. We must all work together to ensure victim safety and to achieve justice in these cases.”
So, when SB510 reached the House of Delegates they voted to table the bill in subcommittee despite bipartisan support in the Virginia Senate, I was appalled and disturbed that our elected officials, including Del. Todd Gilbert, neglected the opportunity to save the lives of numerous family members, and to reduce intimate partner homicide across the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Del. Gilbert is a member of the subcommittee that led the charge to kill this legislation without hearing expert testimony or even taking a recorded vote.
Protecting victims of domestic violence, stalking, and sexual assault have always had widespread support in the Commonwealth. Del. Gilbert’s cowardice and complete lack of support for families by hindering passage of SB510 is appalling.
This was Virginia’s chance to demonstrate reasonable gun laws and the House of Delegates failed miserably.
Molly F Snyder, Front Royal
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