Silver Foxes, eating healthy, keeping active all part of our Retirement Living section.
Pro-gun rally takes aim at firearm rules
RICHMOND — Hundreds of pro-gun advocates rallied at the Virginia Capitol last Monday to ease firearm regulations in Virginia. At the same time, they bemoaned the recent shooting rampage in Arizona.
The rally was organized by the Virginia Citizens Defense League, which supports 23 pro-gun proposals pending before the General Assembly. They include House Bill 1732, which would require Virginia to recognize permits to carry a concealed weapon issued by other states.
Delegate Brenda Pogge (R-Yorktown) spoke at the rally. She is carrying a bill to grant civil immunity to employers who let workers store their firearms in their private vehicles while parked on company property.
Speakers at the rally commented on the Jan. 8 shooting in Tucson, Ariz., where U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was meeting with constituents. A gunman killed six people, including a federal judge, and wounded 12 others, including Giffords.
“What happened in Arizona was despicable,” said Delegate Scott Lingamfelter (R-Woodbridge).
“Whether you agree with politicians with one party or another, when someone is standing there working hard to enjoy and reinforce the First Amendment, nobody has the right to ruin lives like that despicable person.”
Lingamfelter then led a moment of silence for the victims in Arizona, where a 22-year-old Tucson man has been charged with murder and attempted murder.
Phillip Van Cleave, president of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, said the Tucson shootings were regrettable. He said the incident might have been avoided if a gun-carrying citizen had been on the scene.
“The truth of the matter is the American citizen is more often than not the first responder in America,” Van Cleave said. “Standing in this crowd, we probably have 200 firearms present. … This is one of the safest places in Richmond right now.”
Van Cleave and his organization support several bills that would make it easier to own and carry guns. For instance, Senate Bill 1250, sponsored by Sen. Jill Holtzman Vogel (R-Winchester), would prohibit any state agency from enacting gun control without legislative permission.
The General Assembly also is considering several bills that would regulate guns more closely. For instance, HB 1669, sponsored by Delegate Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond), would require criminal background checks before people can buy firearms at gun shows. (Such checks already are required for gun purchases made at stores.)
Additionally, HB 1600, proposed by Delegate Mamye BaCote (D-Newport News), would allow libraries to ban guns.
Delegate Patrick Hope (D-Arlington) is the chief patron for HB 1813, which would ban firearms from the Capitol and the General Assembly Building. Guns would have to be stored at the door; legislators would be exempt from the law.
Later Monday, advocates for gun control — led by the Virginia Center for Public Safety — also gathered at the Capitol. They held a vigil for the victims of gun violence and commemorated the legacy of the assassinated civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Gun bill withdrawn
In other action, State Sen. W. Roscoe Reynolds of Martinsville withdrew a bill that would have made it easier for someone with a history of mental problems to obtain a concealed weapon. Reynolds asked that his measure, Senate Bill 755, be stricken from the docket of the Senate Committee for Courts of Justice.
SB 755 would have allowed a person who has received mental health treatment or substance abuse treatment in a residential setting within the past five years to petition a court for a permit to carry a concealed handgun.
Currently, Virginians are disqualified from obtaining a concealed weapon permit for five years after receiving residential treatment for mental health or substance abuse problems.
Reynolds said he filed the legislation at the request of Commonwealth’s Attorney Bob Bushnell of Henry County.
Reynolds said he was killing the bill after hearing that many people had misunderstood its purpose.