Setting the Record Straight: Gun Violence
In my recent campaign commercial and other materials, I state that I supported the federal ban on bump stocks. I took that position in the Henrico Citizen in February of 2018 and continued to support a federal ban until it was put in place later that year. In yet another false and misleading ad, my opponent says I opposed a ban on bump stocks because of my vote on legislation creating a state ban that I am lying to voters on my position on bump stocks.
So the record is straight, in the 2018 session there was a bill that would have banned bump stocks in Virginia. A violation of that state ban would have been a misdemeanor. That bill was heard in the Senate Courts of Justice Committee, where it passed and was referred to the Public Safety Subcommittee of the Senate Finance Committee. When the legislation arrived in front of the full Senate Finance committee with a recommendation that it not pass, I agreed and voted to table it. By that time, it was clear to me how ineffective a state ban would be in achieving my two goals: (1) a broad, complete, and effective ban on the bump stocks; and (2) stiff penalties for possession. The Virginia bill would not have accomplished either goal. These stocks are small plastic devices, easily made and transported across state lines- only a federal solution would work to eliminate them.
The federal ban was imposed. All bump stocks were required to be turned over to federal agents or melted, shredded or crushed. Possession is now a federal felony. The federal ban is far better than a state ban. If a federal ban had not been put in place, Virginia could have acted on the same bill during the next Session.
Regardless of the issue, I support legislation that actual achieves a meaningful goal. Many bills sound good because they address an issue about which we feel very strongly, but are clearly meant to make us feel better while not solving the problem. When I ran for office, I promised to use a data driven approach to analyzing problems, making sure legislation not just sounded good, but was constructed to achieve a well-defined goal. My position on the bump stock ban issue reflects this approach, despite my opponent’s effort to twist it into something to score political points on an incredibly emotional issue. I am happy to set the record straight, again.