Virginia Is An Example of Democracy in Action

Virginia Is An Example of Democracy in Action


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Janet Ybarra
Former Washington Journalist
Contributor on The Bipartisan Press

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Virginia has suffered greatly at the hands of mass shooters in the last several years.

Some 32 people were killed and another 17 others were wounded on the campus of Virginia Tech by a gunman wielding two semi-automatic pistols.

Several years later, on the afternoon of May 31, 2019, a disgruntled Virginia Beach city employee fatally shot 12 people and wounded four others–again, with two semi-automatic pistols.

So it should be no surprise that Virginia’s voters would demand action on common sense gun reforms in order to prevent any further future massacres.

Unfortunately, the Republicans who had controlled the Virginia legislature for a generation proved to be so ideologically unmovable that they refused to consider anything.

Even when Gov. Ralph Northam (D) called the legislature into a special session last July in response to the Virginia Beach shooting and asked for “votes and laws, not thoughts and prayers” in reaction to the massacre, Republicans adjourned that session in less than two hours without any action.

So it shouldn’t have been surprising that, since Republicans were not listening to the will of the voters, that in November’s elections those same voters dumped the Republicans and put Democrats solidly in charge.

And the Democrats have pledged to pass the reforms the voters are clamoring for.

Unfortunately, folks on the other side of the debate don’t seem to be able to understand elections have consequences.

A variety of gun rights reactionaries from around the country gathered this week in Richmond, Va., to protest what really are modest and popularly supported reforms, such as universal background checks, a limit on handgun purchases of one per month and a “red flag” law allowing authorities to temporarily seize weapons from those deemed a threat.

Certainly these folks are well within their rights to protest and demonstrate against whatever they want.

That doesn’t change the fact, however, that they are extreme on the gun issue and out of the mainstream of Virginia voters.

And just as much as it is within the rights of the gun rights folks to protest, it is well within the rights of the voters of Virginia to see common sense gun safety reforms finally signed into law.

That’s the beauty of democracy in action.

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