The Commonwealth of Virginia’s House of Delegates subcommittee on Militia, Police, and Public Safety have killed a bunch of gun bills this year, most of which I support. One of the members of the subcommittee is my representative, Michael J. Webert. I would call his qualifications for the job into question as his accomplishments seem to be that he has a degree in communications and owns a cattle farm, but the last time the Democrats in the county tried to unseat him, they went with a man whose accomplishments seem to have been “being on The Voice”.
However, the coalition of Republicans that sit on the aforementioned committee have shot down every bill that has anything to do with gun control. To Delegate Webert’s credit, he has once sent me a flier that briefly mentions some of what he has accomplished while representing me. My federal representatives have never done the same thing. Listed among his accomplishments was stopping radical anti-gun legislation, but did not go into any further detail as to what constitutes “radical”. Personally, I think that the Democrats who think that gun violence can be solved by removing certain firearms or related accessories are mostly wrong. However, the Republicans that correctly claim that it is a mental health issue or a “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” issue, then do nothing after making that claim. I am a firearm owner and I also refuse to let anyone believe that the National Rifle Association (that is bank rolling these politicians) represent the rights of individual gun owners, instead they represent the industry that manufactures and profits from their sales.
I received the newsletter and did some research:
- Richmond Times-Dispatch: Virginia House panel votes down more than a dozen gun bills, including red-flag proposal
- Newport News Daily Press: Gun control bills die in Richmond as Republican-led committees vote them down
- The Washington Post: Republicans in Virginia kill ‘red flag’ bill endorsed by Trump administration
The bills, overall, I approved of, and thought them sensivble. The specific “red flag” law that was shot down, I was completely and 100% for and I found it infuriating that anyone would call it “radical anti-gun legislation”.
Imagine someone in your family or a close friend that you know is a gun owner made some vague threats of harming themselves online, or hinted at thoughts of suicide in a conversation. You could take that information to local law enforcement and explain that you have legitimate concerns that your family member is thinking of killing themselves. This would then be taken to a local judge that would rule for the next 30-, 60-, 90-days that that person’s 2nd Amendment rights would be on hold. Local law enforcement would confiscate the weapons and then return them once that time period had passed. That’s it. That was the bill.
The National Institute of Mental Heath reports that, at least in 2017, suicide was the second leading cause of death for Americans between the age of 10 and 34, and fourth leading between 35-55. In all age groups, you statistically have a higher change of dying by your own hand compared to someone else doing you in. The Center for Disease Control reports that in the same year, firearm suicides constituted half of all suicides, with suffocation suicides coming in a distant second place.
Writing as someone who, at a much younger age, had put a gun barrel in his mouth - this is terrific legislation and I look forward to seeing Delegate Webert replaced with someone who represents the well being of the people of the 18th district instead of someone who is on the NRA’s payroll.
Further reading, Jonathan Metzl writing for Vice: White Men Keep Killing Themselves With Guns. The NRA Is Making It Worse.