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Northern Virginia Lawmakers Say Gun Control Remains a Tough Fight

State Sen. Dick Saslaw says it's tough to get a bill offering more stricter controls on guns through the Virginia General Assembly. Sen. Adam Ebbin agrees.

Trying to get more stringent gun control legislation through the Virginia General Assembly is something of a losing battle, according to at least two state lawmakers representing Northern Virginia.

Sen. Dick Saslaw, the Senate Democratic leader whose district includes part of West End Alexandria, lamented that he’s tried multiple times to tighten up Virginia’s gun rights, but to little avail.

He told audience members of a state legislative forum held at Alexandria’s City Hall that three years ago he introduced a bill after a man shot and killed two police officers before shooting and killing himself.

Saslaw said in response, he introduced a bill making it illegal in Virginia to bring a gun onto police grounds. The Senate then narrowed that measure by making it illegal to bring a gun into a police station. House members ultimately killed the bill.

“When you can’t get a bill through to ban private citizens from bringing guns to the secure area of a police station … ,” Saslaw said, throwing up his hands exasperatedly. Saslaw serves on the Senate Courts of Justice Committee, which is responsible for legislation dealing with public safety. He also unsuccessfully fought against the repeal of the one-gun-a-month law, which limited handgun purchases in Virginia to one per 30 days for an individual.

Saslaw asked what would it take to see more stringent controls. If someone with a gun acting irrationally goes into the building near I-66 and Route 50 (the headquarters of the National Rifle Association), “you might get sensible gun control,” he said.

Saslaw added that of the 39 gun-related bills making their way through the Virginia State House last session, the NRA was involved in just four of them.

The Virginia Citizens Defense League was the voice involved in most of them, Saslaw said. The senator described the league’s members as pulling out of the NRA and forming their own group because they saw the NRA as too liberal.

The nonprofit Virginia Citizens Defense League is dedicated to advancing the right of all Virginians to keep and bear arms as guaranteed by the Second Amendment and Article 1, Section 13 of Virginia’s constitution, according to its website.

Sen. Adam Ebbin, a Democrat who also represents part of Alexandria, said he plans to introduce a bill during the upcoming session that would require people to report stolen guns, although he also noted that gun-control legislation never quite sails through the chambers.

Saslaw also recounted that he received an email from an army captain who called Saslaw an idiot for trying to put more stringent controls on gun use. The captain wrote, “I’d never dream of walking down the streets of Kabul without a gun.”

Saslaw said people need to realize that Fairfax County is not Kabul.

“These people, where are they coming from?” he said, adding, “Certainly not from Northern Virginia.”

Andy Jennings December 10, 2012 at 06:27 PM
You would think, that they would realize just how unpopular gun control is in Virginia, and give up. But no, they keep doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. Seems like Virginians don't like gun control. And woe be to politicians in most of the state that even give those failed policies lip service. The reality is those pro gun politicians, that are mentioned in this item, are completely un-electable in about most of the state, in part because of their vocal support for gun control. Articles like this one reminds the rest of us here, that even today, their still is a vocal minority that wish to restrict our civil liberties.
Andy Jennings December 10, 2012 at 06:30 PM
I ment to say "pro gun CONTROL politicians" some how lost a word.
Don December 11, 2012 at 07:12 PM
what you would get is a very dead irrational person with a gun
George Lyon December 11, 2012 at 07:26 PM
Perhaps Saslaw should look north to DC for his gun control mecca with a crime rate many times that of pro gun Virginia
BHirsh December 11, 2012 at 11:29 PM
Typical of Democrats - Observe the way everybody with any sense is heading, then lurch off in the opposite direction.

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