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July 16, 2020 · OPINION

Democratic gun reform platform needs moderation

By Allen Michael Bongiovi

Politics has been increasingly divisive in Virginia since the change in power which occurred after the 2019 elections. Democrats control the General Assembly and governorship of Virginia in 2020, and at the beginning of this year’s legislative session, a flood of bills were introduced that addressed health care, immigration, the environment, equal rights and, most controversially, gun safety.

Though gun safety legislation was a major part of many Democratic campaigns in Virginia, nobody fully expected the bills which were to come.

Some of the bills which gained the most criticism were those intending to ban “assault rifles,” limit magazine capacity for all firearms and even close indoor shooting ranges. I believe that though Democrats had the right intention, the mark was missed by our legislators. The issue with Democrats in Virginia is that even though the narrative of the national Democratic party is to enact all these changes, that is not what is right for Virginia. We are a state with a rich history of firearm ownership, and many of our citizens on either side of the political aisle enjoy shooting for sport or own firearms for protection of themselves and their families.

The narrative of the national party does not mesh with our citizens in Virginia and by focusing on banning or restricting access to certain types of firearms, elected Democratic officials and candidates are showing they are out of touch with Virginia.

I am a Democrat and a United States Navy veteran who was trained on rifles and pistols while in the service. I believe that comparing an AR-15 with a “weapon of war” is an unfair comparison. I never carried an AR-15 in the Navy, I carried an M4A1 which was select fire for semi-automatic and full-automatic use. I also never went to war with that rifle, and most people wouldn’t; it was strictly for defense of the ship and law enforcement use as a member of the Ship’s Reaction Force and In-Port Security Forces.

Democrats need to be conscious of how attacking the Second Amendment will play out in future elections. Some of these bills were used by reactionary politicians such as state Sen. Amanda Chase (R-Midlothian) to incite a movement which characterizes the defense of the Second Amendment as its number one legislative objective. It even sparked Sen. Chase’s interest in running for governor in 2021.

Democrats need to realize that by focusing on guns as a major objective for the party, that people are not paying attention to other good things that the party is doing. House Bill 66, proposed by Del. Lee Cater (D-Manassas), capped the co-payment on insulin to $50. This was a major win for diabetic Virginians and their families. The Equal Rights Amendment was ratified by the Commonwealth of Virginia. Predatory pay-day loan companies were targeted, and their interest rates were capped. Even marijuana was decriminalized.

The good things that are being done by Democrats in our legislature are overshadowed by gun legislation, which often failed. Bills such as HB 567, introduced by Del. Dan Helmer (D-Fairfax) attempted to ban indoor shooting ranges in Virginia. This bill was an inappropriate overreach by a Democratic elected official that led to the valid questions such as, “If Democrats support legal and well-trained gun owners, why would they ban indoor ranges?” Though that bill didn’t pass, it left a stain on the General Assembly as a group which is playing into a national narrative rather than putting Virginian’s first.

I believe that the Democratic Party can have a progressive platform while not pursuing increases in gun legislation. If we don’t get our legislative priorities straight, 2020 and subsequent elections will be painful for the Democratic Party.
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Tony Bentley · September 2, 2020 at 12:33 pm
Jeffersonian America - Do you see dark shadowy people too?
Tony Bentley · September 2, 2020 at 12:31 pm
"Militias, the term goes back, of course, to the founding of the country, and, at that time, referred to all sort of able-bodied white men, frankly, between certain ages. It didn't include white in it, but that's who predominantly the landowning people were in the country at the time.

And so I think it has historical roots. But militias have never been — private militias have never been lawful. To the extent militias have ever been lawful, they are only in service of the state or the federal government. So they can only be called forth by the state or the federal government.

As you indicated, when we talk oftentimes about people of color having armed groups, other terms might be used for those groups, including terms like gangs. So, I think what has devolved over the course of time is something that does tend to break down somewhat racially.

And I would also add that the militia groups, they fancy themselves as patriots and suggest that what they're doing is actually in furtherance of the Constitution, when it really is nothing of the sort."
Jeffersonian American · August 21, 2020 at 6:59 am
There is absolutely nothing in the 2020 Democrat Party Platform (linked below) that suggests they are going to moderate their position on the gun rights of law-abiding American citizens.

We have a critical national election in November (but Democrats are voting in all kinds of fraudulent ways beginning September 18th here in Virginia, starting with the over 587,000 bogus ballots mailed out across Virginia to dead people, pets, etc.). Unfortunately, this November's National Election boils down to either saving or destroying what remains of our freedom, our opportunities for individual and societal economic prosperity, and our American constitutional, republican form of Government.

The Biden-Sanders "Unity Task Force" recommendations are laced with words about American inequity, massive control over neighborhoods, and how they plan to negatively impact every single job in the country. Biden has plans to financially bail out every poorly-run city, new gun confiscation programs, evisceration of our Second Amendment Rights in addition to all the rest of our Bill of Rights, and expanded rights for illegal aliens. This is not a people’s movement because the people have nothing to do with it. It’s a top-down centralized government that Karl Marx would be proud of. It is a rehashing of the 1963 Communist Manifesto on steroids- a very dangerous end for America and anyone who loves liberty, sovereignty and our Bill of Rights. This is not posting hearsay as the Radical Left posters below would have you believe and continually lie about- read it for yourself what the "McNews" Television Media won't tell you about the 2020 Democrat Party Platform- taken from their own web site. It is a complete dismantling of America- a dismantling of of our individual rights (including our gun rights, law enforcement, and law and order); dismantling of our economy and Capitalism; destruction of our unparalleled energy and transportation sectors, and all kinds of other Iron-Fisted Controls and Regulations over American industry, abolishing fossil fuels, destroying our economy with Global Warming Junk Science, abolishing our jobs and our abolishing our legal citizenry- all to be replaced by a Marxist-Communist Utopia, human suffering and serfdom- except for the Liberal Elites, where the rules don't apply to them. Americans are running out of time to learn the truth about the Real Democrat Party Agenda in 2020- so here it is provided to them below- a Pure Evil Manifesto for the destruction of all that is good about America:
Tony Bentley · July 29, 2020 at 1:33 pm
We need to focus on COVID-19, election interference, the economy, and healthcare.

Calling white supremacist groups domestic terrorists, and removing any weapons found in their possession and charging them, due that fact, would be a start to gun control. Once they are found guilty as felons they can't buy weapons legally again. (Not that will stop them from buying them illegally, but that another crime to charge whoever is selling the guns to them.)

Sammy · July 27, 2020 at 6:56 pm
no evidence of surging virginia republican party in its bank accounts .. to be competitive, you need resources, support your party, parading in Richmond with a gun doesn't get votes in Richmond or seniors to vote at home

July 15 2020 reports covering April, May, June show:

VA Dems VA Republicans
Start Balance $308,636 $ 1,589
Receipts 195,733 64,425
Expenses 205,508 61,113
End Balance 298,862 1,900

virginia republican party weak, can't even file timely paperwork .. few buy what they sell .. money = 1A voice.. 100 days from election, cupboards bare ..looks like they are sitting out this election
Alohaexpress · July 25, 2020 at 4:26 pm
Democrats have no plan but to chip away at America's greatness. Their looters, rioters, and thieves show their true colors. Middle of the road voters always determine elections. If you truly want your Son or Daughter to live in a Portland, Seattle or Chicago type environment, then vote Democratic.
Jeffersonian American · July 25, 2020 at 10:20 am
Democrats can keep their Hoax and Chains- I'll keep my guns, Ammo and Second Amendment Rights which "...shall not be infringed."

What is really at stake on Election Day 2020- here is an accurate summary that all Thinking Americans should read, be forewarned, and act upon:
AmericanPatriot · July 23, 2020 at 9:38 am
Rude awakening, Tony?

I can't wait.
AmericanPatriot · July 23, 2020 at 9:38 am
Gun reform? This is just more liberish lies. America doesn't need gun reform. America needs criminal justice reform.

Commit a violent crime with a firearm - mandatory death penalty.

Get caught with an illegal or stolen gun? Mandatory life in prison.

Crime committed with firearms will plummet.

The liberal paradigm of putting restrictions on the rights of people who DON'T commit crimes as some sort of retarded effort to address criminals is never going to work.

Unless, of course, the idea never was to address crime, but to disarm law abiding citizens to Chicago can go coast to coast.
Tony Bentley · July 23, 2020 at 9:23 am
"In Trump’s America, the First Amendment protects only those who exercise the Second."

The people that support Trump's America are in for a rude awakening very soon. The rest of us already get what is at stake and how dangerous his idea of America has become, it's now Make America Second Rate.
AmericanPatriot · July 22, 2020 at 9:36 pm
fair and balanced - do you make out with your sister with that mouth?
FairandBalanced · July 21, 2020 at 9:39 pm
I just forwarded your comment onto DHS. Make sure you pull your blinds.
Alohaexpress · July 21, 2020 at 9:37 pm
Tulsi Gabbard is hot.
FairandBalanced · July 21, 2020 at 9:26 pm
Pineapples and Tulsi. hmmm. Stupid question. Chicago's problem is not political anymore.
Alohaexpress · July 21, 2020 at 9:24 pm
Great question..Love pineapples and Tulsi Gabbard.

21 more shot in Chicago today. Do you think that Democrats are philosophically capable of solving this problem there?
FairandBalanced · July 21, 2020 at 9:16 pm
good food. good vibes. great location. great parking lot for kicking republican butt. availability of drugs just a short distance away. why do you have an Hawaii fetish here in Fauquier?
Alohaexpress · July 21, 2020 at 9:13 pm

Why do you have a diner fetish?

FairandBalanced · July 21, 2020 at 9:10 pm
and foul, too. get it? didn't think so.
FairandBalanced · July 21, 2020 at 9:09 pm
don't come to the diner donkey. i'm shooting up in the back in the rain and my mood is fowl.
DonkeyFarmer · July 21, 2020 at 9:07 pm
MentallyUnbalanced should check in to rehab. His drug addled mind is barely functioning. Kind of like Joe Biden.
FairandBalanced · July 21, 2020 at 9:05 pm
yes. oxi. meth. wine and pot. feels good.
Alohaexpress · July 21, 2020 at 9:03 pm
Hey FairandBalanced,

Are you high right now?
FairandBalanced · July 21, 2020 at 8:53 pm
sorry. i was addressing fast Hawaii's concerns.
FairandBalanced · July 21, 2020 at 8:51 pm
Linda, I think it's cultural now. Generations of tribal thinking. Killings with roots to another time in the past. Unsettled scores. Appropriated behavior. The availability of firearms and ghost guns from Indiana, Missouri, Kentucky and Tennessee. Deep rooted sense of anxiety and hopelessness. Failure of personal responsibility. Racism. Blacks killing blacks is of no one's concern. Its just dessert in many people's eyes.
Alohaexpress · July 21, 2020 at 8:31 pm
Hey LindaWard,

Why can't people take individual responsibility in Chicago and stop killing each other?

Just wonderin'
FairandBalanced · July 21, 2020 at 8:06 pm
the orange trash bag is going to pay my legal fees, donkey. i'm protected.
FairandBalanced · July 21, 2020 at 8:04 pm
don't go to the diner, donkey. not good. send a friend.
DonkeyFarmer · July 21, 2020 at 7:37 pm
Linda Ward says: "It is evident that our society has a mental health and bigotry problem when reading some of the comments from the "RED" (love traitor Trump) crowd."

Linda- Your liberal buddy FairlyUnbalanced threatened to assault and stab us Trump supporters in this thread. Who do you think has the mental health problem?
jim goodwin · July 21, 2020 at 6:39 pm
Oh, good. You found a corrupt Republican politician. Well, that's the game. It's over. You've finally uncovered the evidence that the Republican party is stacked top to bottom with criminals and everything they believe in is racist, homophobic, transphobic, xenophobic and all the other 'ics' and isms.

I guess there's no one to vote for at all then because the Democrat party is stacked with Socialists. The ideas of that party are putting us square on the path that ended tens of millions of lives in the former Soviet Union.
Linda Ward · July 21, 2020 at 5:31 pm
"Ohio’s Republican Speaker of the House Larry Householder was just arrested by federal authorities in a $60 million bribery and conspiracy case. Householder ran for office in 2018, saying: “I’m a Pro-Gun, Pro-Life, Christian Conservative with the highest NRA rating in Ohio’s history.”

Also arrested were an advisor to the Speaker, the state’s former GOP chairman, a former Ohio Civil Rights commissioner, a consultant, and Neil Clark, who boasts of being “one of the best-connected lobbyists in Columbus” on his company’s website."

Republicans should change there mascot from an elephant to a PIG, bunch of thieving porkers! Wait until Trump is booted out of the WH, the corruption that will be found is going to be outrageous.

Linda Ward · July 21, 2020 at 5:27 pm
AllenB - "We don't have a gun violence problem, we have a mental health problem."

It is evident that our society has a mental health and bigotry problem when reading some of the comments from the "RED" (love traitor Trump) crowd.
Linda Ward · July 21, 2020 at 5:09 pm
"As the novel coronavirus pandemic continues to ravage the United States, another epidemic is surging: gun violence. Most other types of crime fell during the initial phases of the pandemic, but gun violence increased and mass shootings in particular continue to spiral out of control. There are a lot of crises tugging at the public’s attention, but we cannot let this go unresolved.

Often when people discuss mass shootings, they focus on the number of people killed, but that overlooks the massive public health and economic toll that nonfatal shootings have on this country. To better take that into account, we define mass shootings as incidents in which four or more people are shot, excluding the shooter.

By July 19, the United States had already suffered 305 such shootings in 2020, including 60 in May and 95 in June. Those numbers smash records set just last year, as I lay out in a recent report. Previously, the most mass shootings ever seen in one month was 51, set in June 2019. Only seven months into this year, the United States has already experienced more mass shootings in 2020 than in either 2013 or 2014.

The recent dramatic spike in mass shootings is part of a longer trend. From 2013 to 2019, the frequency of mass shootings increased by 65 percent. During that period, the country suffered 2,341 mass shootings that killed 2,642 people and wounded 9,766 more.

This increase is not spread evenly across the country. States with weaker gun laws — such as “stand your ground” statutes or a lack of universal background checks — have seen mass shooting rates skyrocket by 91 percent across the time period, compared to a 33 percent increase in states with stronger laws. From 2013 to 2019, states with weaker laws had 5 percent more mass-shooting incidents (though it was not statistically significant) and 50 percent more mass-shooting fatalities than states with stronger laws.

The disparity in deaths between strong- and weak-law states can be explained in part by the use of assault-style weapons, such as AR-15s and AK-47s. States with weak laws had 63 percent more mass shootings with such weapons than states with stronger laws. Despite comprising just 5 percent of overall mass shootings, shootings with these weapons were four times more lethal than shootings in which other types of firearms were used. Further, of the top 20 highest-casualty shootings across the country, 14 were committed with an assault weapon.

We are a country on the brink of a gun violence crisis. While our national attention has been rightfully fixated on the covid-19 catastrophe, we have largely ignored the increase in gun violence and mass shootings. This is a public health crisis and requires a data-driven, comprehensive public health approach.

Previous academic research has found that firearm licensing laws are not only effective at reducing overall rates of firearm violence, but also at directly curbing the frequency of mass shootings. Extreme risk protection orders are another promising policy that, if implemented and enacted properly, could also prevent potential mass shooters from arming themselves. Strong gun laws save lives."
badelectronics · July 21, 2020 at 12:18 pm
FairandBalanced · July 20, 2020 at 9:53 pm
i just pinched myself. made sure i'm not having a covid dream in intensive care. i'm still here! thank god! wear a mask American and Donkey. we don't want the lower specimens transmitting to the higher specimens.
FairandBalanced · July 20, 2020 at 9:46 pm
you guys, AmericanPatriot, DonkeyFarmer, and ALL your compatriots! you just don't get it. See you at the diner! Hope not. For your sake! AmericanPatriot! I'm older than you are! and i will whip your butt! blindfolded with one arm tied behind me. i'm drinking a pepsi at the diner counter right now. wait'n for ya! girlman.
Alohaexpress · July 20, 2020 at 8:02 pm
I just figured it out !!!!FairandBalanced and Tony Bentley are the SAME person...
It is impossible that more than one person would actually spew so much completely asinine, illogical, and left field BS.
Assume you are referring to Frost Diner? Would love to see AmericanPatriot whip your liberal sissy arse down there.
AmericanPatriot · July 20, 2020 at 7:58 pm
Here comes fair and balanced. Soaked to the gills and incoherent.

It will catch up to you, son. And it will be painful.
FairandBalanced · July 20, 2020 at 7:37 pm
bring your buddy AmericanPatriot so I can get a twofer and beat your asses to a pulp. then i'm going to Walmart to get a penknife so i can come back while you louses are still unconscious on the asphalt parking lot and scratch 'DEMOCRAT' on your ass! oh! that's a pretty shot!
FairandBalanced · July 20, 2020 at 7:31 pm
hey DonkeyFarmer. I'm at the diner right now. Why don't you come on over so I can kick your sober ass?
FairandBalanced · July 20, 2020 at 6:35 pm
as for sport? i have a big wooden cable spool and i attached a thrower. roll it out every Sunday into my field and invite a few buddies to come shoot. my rottie loves catching them critters. don't need no high capacity magazine for that kinda fun.
FairandBalanced · July 20, 2020 at 6:23 pm
I believe its people who have not experienced true violent human interaction who think they need a gun. Weak people. Scared people. Spooked people. People who don't understand the world and feel overwhelmed by the circumstances of the day. People with ill intent. Mentally ill people. Remember the Bandidos and the Cossacks at Twin Peaks. Dead. Wounded. Scarred. Bankruptcy. Pain. Lots of lives ruined and no gain except by the Devil.
FairandBalanced · July 20, 2020 at 6:08 pm
I swear to God, in my life, so far, I've been robbed. My house has been invaded by both cops and robbers. And, I have had a gun pointed at me. Dealt with road rage, too. I am ok and so is everyone around me for whom I am responsible. Didn't need a gun to get through those ordeals. In my opinion, probably would have made those situations worse if I had been carrying.
Alohaexpress · July 20, 2020 at 5:57 pm
If Biden is elected, Maxine Waters will personally come to your house with Al Sharpton and Beto O'Rourke to confiscate your guns.
AllenBongiovi · July 20, 2020 at 4:53 pm

Also I wear a mask. I have several and I always wear them when indoors or in groups of people where I can't properly distance.
AllenBongiovi · July 20, 2020 at 4:44 pm

This isn't the movies. You don't get shot once and fly back. If someone is there to hurt you or your family and they have a gun and so do you. It's not a game of who shoots first. It's who stops who first and more often than not, it's not a one shot ordeal. It's a 10+ shot ordeal.
FairandBalanced · July 20, 2020 at 4:44 pm
i guess i am just not as afraid or paranoid of the real world as you are. wear a mask!
FairandBalanced · July 20, 2020 at 4:42 pm
the old 'chip away' argument. yup. and pot leads heroin addiction.
AllenBongiovi · July 20, 2020 at 4:40 pm

Did you just say it only takes one bullet to stop an intruder....this debate is over. You have no idea what you're talking about just like most Democrats when it concerns guns. Wake up, Virginia will be bright red in November of 2021 if we don't get it together.
FairandBalanced · July 20, 2020 at 4:37 pm
I totally get your position AB. Any change to the gun law is going to upset you. And, I admit you are correct in your interpretation of HB 961. So am I. A high capacity magazine is defined, in that bill, as one holding more than 12 bullets. So the aftermarket is going to start selling 12 bullet magazines. !5 or 12 bullets is not a big difference to me. Second, the Senate tabled the bill until 2021. So it hasn't been passed yet. I am sure a compromise will allow you to keep your 15 bullet magazine after further debate during the 2021 session. Third, these freshman Democrats were voted into office by a plurality in each of their districts and with a mandate by their constituents to change the gun laws. I was responding to the opine that the citizen's of the Commonwealth likes to shoot guns for sport and feels the need for guns for protection. Firing off 12 rounds v. 15 at a gun range is not going ruin anyone's day. All it takes is one bullet to kill or stop an intruder. Finally, civilians very rarely get into gunfights
AllenBongiovi · July 20, 2020 at 4:35 pm

And once we let them chip away at our rights by saying, that's fine who needs 12 bullets, I'll get a 10 round magazine. Next shooting comes along with a guy using a 10 round magazine and then it's, oh no, we need to ban anything over 7 rounds, I mean we banned 12 and that was fine, so let's ban anything over 7. You CAN still shoot SOME KIND of gun. No thanks. My rights aren't going to be chipped away. That's why I won't vote for a single candidate who advocates for any gun control. Period. So if you want me voting Democrat, moderate the stance, because the Second Amendment wasn't a suggestion, it was a directive and it protects every other right we have.
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