A last-minute budget gambit won’t solve gun violence in Virginia

A last-minute budget gambit won’t solve gun violence in Virginia

A shooting at the Belt Atlantic apartments in Richmond earlier this year killed a mother and her three-month old baby. (NBC12) Ralph Northam, the soon-to-be former governor, waited until this month to announce a $27.4 million firearm violence prevention center in Virginia. It would “continue the work of reducing violence and making Virginia safe for everyone,” he said . The move is noble. And largely an empty gesture. Northam, a Democrat, rolled the plan into his final budget proposal. His initiative is desperately needed in the commonwealth – and likely will go nowhere in the administration of Republican Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin. The latter is a gun rights supporter who generally refrained from discussing firearms during the general election campaign. Also, the GOP will assume control of the House of Delegates in January. Its members usually oppose gun restrictions, sometimes vehemently. So give Northam half a golf clap for unloading this idea so close to leaving office. He declined to put political capital on the line when it may have made a difference. Northam’s spokeswoman, Alena Yarmosky, pushed back, telling me by email that he signed seven gun-safety bills into law in 2020. That’s when both chambers were controlled by Democrats. The measures included universal background checks, a “red flag” law, and the return in Virginia of limiting purchases to one handgun a month . The proposed center would collect data on firearm violence. It would report findings and provide resources to localities and community-based organizations. A coalition of groups […]

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