Howell: Virginians Want Responsible Gun Laws

Sen. Janet Howell writes about the pushback pro-gun legislation received from lawmakers

Virginians want politicians who support strong gun laws, state Sen. Janet Howell (D-32nd District) wrote in an opinion for The Washington Post.

"Citizens across the commonwealth want responsible gun laws and will support, not punish, politicians who work to reduce trafficking," she wrote.

Howell writes about how the General Assembly may have repealed the one-gun-a-month law during this year's legislative session, but it does not mean advocates of stricter gun laws should lose all optimism.

"First, while plenty of pundits thought that the gun lobby would have carte blanche in Virginia this session, there was a remarkable level of pushback from both sides of the aisle," she wrote, noting bills that would have allowed guns on college campuses and repealed background checks, among others, did not pass.

Read Howell's full opinion on washingtonpost.com.

Do you believe Virginia voters support politicians who push for stricter gun laws?

Joe Brenchick April 02, 2012 at 11:29 AM
Here we go again. Yet another politician who acts on emotion rater than facts. To capitalize on a National tragedy without specifically referencing it, to push her fear based agenda and to diminish our Bill of Rights.
Susan Turner April 02, 2012 at 04:00 PM
I strongly support Janet Howell on this issue. No doubt Joe Brenchick will continue to voice his opinion after every comment (and by now, we all are aware of his opinion) - guns have no place in a classroom, and background checks do not infringe on law abiding citizens rights to purchase a firearm.
Dick Sziede April 02, 2012 at 04:01 PM
Whatever happened to Project Exile, or Virginia Exile? These initiatives concentrated on criminals with firearms. Oh, I guess actually stopping crime isn't important when your agenda is to disarm law-abiding citizens. Janet Howell, you have just qualified in my eyes as a hypocrite.
Uncle Smartypants April 02, 2012 at 05:51 PM
Ironically, it was shot down by Gun Hating Liberals.
J. Jay Volkert April 02, 2012 at 08:19 PM
Janet Powell's position on gun control is consistent with her Norther Virginia constituents. Unfortunately some legislators like Barbara Comstock take their cues from out-of-state interests such as the NRA and ALEC. We need legislators that listen to us not ideologues funded by right wing extremists.
Paul M. Kohlenberger April 02, 2012 at 11:50 PM
Dear Mr. Volkert, Although it may or may not act with wisdom, the NRA is very much an in-state interest. In fact, it is headquartered in our very own Fairfax County.
Locally Involved April 03, 2012 at 03:21 AM
Just because the NRA is headquartered in VA does not make it an 'in-state' interest. It makes it a political interest, just like the hundreds of other 'non-profits' here in VA. Proximity. Poor linear logic @kohlenberger. Responsible gun laws, and whether or not Powell's position appears to be hypocritical, are not connected. Gun ownership comes with responsibility. See? Responsible gun ownership. It's not a difficult concept.
Joe Brenchick April 03, 2012 at 08:35 AM
Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL) is an in-State interest group. Responsible gun ownership is often code for more anti-gun laws/regulation. Laws that are proven to punish the law abiding citizen while doing nothing to deter the criminal.
Joe Brenchick April 03, 2012 at 08:44 AM
Susan, no one said anything about abolishing background checks. In fact, Virginia state wide, those of us with concealed weapon permits have a lower criminal rate than any other group. The question you impose is where are we permitted to protect ourselves.
Paul M. Kohlenberger April 03, 2012 at 02:48 PM
Dear Ms. Mary, My name is not @kohlenberger. Nor is Senator Howell's name 'Powell'. My comment as to the NRA's locale was meant as a correction of fact. As I said in my comment, the NRA may or may not act with wisdom; I never made any logical connection between the NRA's proximity and its rectitude, linear or otherwise. The comment to which I was responding did make such an inference; that 'out-of-state interests' definitionally meant 'bad for Virginians'. I wasn't being similarly normative. Thank you for explaining that "responsible gun ownership' is 'not a difficult concept.' We native Virginians must expend much mental power to ascertain the meaning of such things. I'm happy you have moved to McLean from Brookline (a lovely town!). When I went to school in New England, they were rather less patronizing and disrespectful than you have shown yourself to be.
Dick Sziede April 03, 2012 at 05:53 PM
Ever wonder why so many nut-jobs choose a school? It is the place where they are guaranteed to not meet armed opposition. Sadly, too many like Janet Howell think a sign with a picture of a crossed-out gun will protect our children against evil. Our children, not Janet Howell. Her office is protected by armed police.
Richard Holmquist April 04, 2012 at 02:52 AM
Mr. Sziede, I'm a gun-rights supporter, but come on. You think it's safer to open the door to hundreds or perhaps thousands of university students carrying concealed guns in school than the rare instance of a nut job going on a killing spree? The combination of guns, youth, alcohol, testosterone, stress, etc. will surely lead to intentional and unintentional gun deaths. I think you're overstating the threat of crazy people attacking our schools. Virginia has sadly been a fairly recent example, but how many other mass shootings can you point to at Virginia schools over the past 20 years? I support universities having the right to allow guns in the classroom if they wish, as I support any employer having the right to determine whether to allow guns in the workplace. I believe both have that right already. I don't think the government has any business requiring universities or employers to allow concealed guns, except in the narrowest of circumstances.
Joe Brenchick April 04, 2012 at 08:02 AM
Mr. Holmquist, I too am a gun rights supporter and you have to admit that "kids" the same age are fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. There's also a large percentage of today's students who are veterans using their GI Benefits. Those of us who have Concealed Weapons Permits are among the most law abiding groups in the country. Why should my right to self defense be deigned simply because I wish to take a night class?
Richard Holmquist April 04, 2012 at 12:58 PM
Mr. Brenchick, Your previous argument was that schools would be safer by requiring the universities to allow concealed weapons. I don't believe that to be the case. You can make the new argument, which I summarize as, "The risk of gun violence or accidents at the schools is the price of liberty." It's a more legitimitate argument, but I don't agree with the math. Universities aren't public spaces. I think the owners or responsibile bodies at those institutions should be able to rule on whether they wish to allow weapons on their grounds. Government shouldn't infringe on that right. Having been a soldier and a university student, I would argue that academia and war are two very different environments. Furthermore, in a peacetime training environment, my experience was that the military is more strict than anywhere about allowing loaded weapons in a classroom. Would you also require the military to allow concealed weapons in the classes, or would you be satisfied leaving that decision to the post commander?
Dick Sziede April 04, 2012 at 02:34 PM
Armed students? Both sides of the gun controversy are nutty! Armed students is just as crazy an our completely unprotected schools. Janet Howell has trained policeman protecting her. How about the same for our schools? Here is an idea. Auxiliary police. There are part-time cops and firemen aplenty. They are trained policemen, not gun-toting amateurs. There are teachers and administrators who could, and probably would take the job. Unlike Columbine, where the cops hoisted the yellow flag and set up a perimeter, letting events play out inside, teachers would be inside and already be emotionally invested in their students. I contend that the possibly of an armed response would deter your nut-job. Last thing he wants is to be blown away before his personal jihad plays. He will find a softer target than our school children.
Tina Ciambruschini April 16, 2012 at 06:16 AM
Get rid of guns!!! How many need to die before you look at the big picture and say"Get rid of GUNS"!!!!
Stephen Natale April 23, 2012 at 01:51 AM
What big picture would that vague statement be referring to Tina? CRIMINALS kill people with guns, not law abiding LEGAL gun owners! Check your facts and post based on fact, not emotion driven disinformation. States with "good" gun laws have far less gun homicides while states with Strict gun laws have the highest. Why? criminals like easy targets! Don't believe me, check the statistics yourself. FBI.ATF, State Level take your pic. The numbers don't lie. Do you blame cars for accidents or deaths? or the drivers? Should cars be illegal?
Dick Sziede April 23, 2012 at 01:29 PM
I am disappointed, but not surprised that no one responded to my proposal for auxiliary police in schools. There are certainly rational arguments pro and con. But rational argument requires one to think. Thinking is hard. Shouting slogans is easy. Sadly there will never be rational debate in gun control. Just foam-at-the-mouth sloganeering.
Virginia Dude April 24, 2012 at 06:40 AM
Sen. Janet Howell (D-32nd District) needs to get a clue. If she wants to represent her District and save lives (a proven fact "guns save lives") the ideology she related in the article are false and proves she is out of touch with Virginians. Self Defense is a basic human right, the 2nd Amendment allows you and me to own a firearm if we meet certain requirements. If Senator Howell is being accosted by a would be robber or rapist, I will walk on by since she obviously does not want or need any help from a Concealed Permit holder.
Jack406 April 25, 2012 at 04:38 PM
The 2nd Amendment allows you to have a gun if you are part of a "well regulated militia" - read U. S. National Guard. Join up if you feel you need a gun. The NRA is killing thousands of innnocent people each year to promote the sale of guns. Wise up America. No background checks at Virginia Gun shows? How wrong is that!
Dick Sziede April 25, 2012 at 06:55 PM
This is tiresome. Slogans, not a rational argument.
Joe Brenchick April 26, 2012 at 08:35 AM
Jack - Your not seriously attempting to make that tired old argument that you have to belong to a Militia to own a firearm. Rather than go into a long dissertation on basic sentence structure, I'll simply refer you to this link where Penn and Teller will explain it for you. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_YY5Rj4cQ50
Jack406 April 26, 2012 at 02:58 PM
They had it right, Joe, for the first 30 seconds of the video. Too bad the founding father aren't here to explain it to you and to Penn and Teller. A "well regulated militia" is our National Guard, not those crazies in parts of Wyoming and California and Utah and the Dakotas who carry assault rifles to protect themselves from our Government. I believe you are a bit confused, Joe.
Joe Brenchick April 26, 2012 at 04:29 PM
Jack – Once again you’ve looked at an explanation but failed to grasp, or turned it to your pre-perceived, definition. Perhaps a more scholarly approach is what’s needed. A recent article written by Robert VerBruggen and published in The National Review lays out the context very well. http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/296922/making-hash-second-amendment-robert-verbruggen
Dick Sziede April 26, 2012 at 08:56 PM
Thank you Joe for laying out some facts, with check-able references. That is very refreshing. I am disappointed that there are not more like you in this supposedly highly-educated community.
Joe Brenchick April 27, 2012 at 08:45 AM
Dick - Thank you very much for your acculades! What can I say except when confronted by the truth, supported by facts, replies from the opposition are often reduced to slander, slurs and gratuitous assertions. The debate is far from over.
Joe Brenchick April 27, 2012 at 08:48 AM
Laura - There's an ages old bumper sticker which reads, "If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns"


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