WINCHESTER — The attitudes of local elected officials toward gun control are unchanged following the deaths of 12 people in Virginia Beach from a shooting rampage committed by an employee of that city on Friday.

According to wire services, DeWayne Craddock, a civil engineer for the utilities department, used two .45 caliber handguns to kill other government workers in a public office building. At least one of the guns was outfitted with a suppressor (or silencer), which is used to stifle and alter gunshot noise. He also used high-capacity magazines.

Each year, when the General Assembly convenes in Richmond for its legislative session, Democrats propose what they call “common-sense” gun control measures such as banning gun accessories like large-capacity magazines and expanding background check requirements. The legislation is routinely declined by Republicans in House of Delegates and Senate committees. Democrats have also tried unsuccessfully to restore the limit of purchasing one handgun per month, which was repealed in 2012.

State Sen. Jill Vogel, R-Upperville, said in an email on Monday that she was “horrified by what happened” in Virginia Beach but wary of proposals that “would restrict the lawful exercise of Second Amendment rights.”

“This should not be political and it does not change my position on Second Amendment rights,” Vogel said. “The two things that have been suggested are letting localities make government buildings gun-free zones and a limit on magazines. Neither would impact an employee entering the building intent on murdering his colleagues.”

Del. Chris Collins, R-Frederick County, did not respond to calls seeking comment on Monday. Del. Dave LaRock, R-Hamilton, declined to comment when reached by phone.

Del. Wendy Gooditis, D-Clarke County, said she felt mounting “frustration” because of the General Assembly’s inaction.

Gooditis said she believes the commonwealth can limit gun violence while not infringing on gun ownership overall.

“It’s not the same as taking someone’s hunting rifle ... or handgun for protection,” she said of proposals to limit magazine capacity to 10 rounds or eliminate the sale of gun accessories such as suppressors, the use of which can cause confusion and delay emergency response in a crisis. “Why would you need a silencer?”

When a mass shooting takes place in the United States, some gun-rights proponents argue that the real problem is mental illness and that more resources should be allocated for diagnoses and treatment.

But even a robust and well-funded network of public mental health providers wouldn’t be able to guarantee that everyone needing treatment will receive it, said Mike Elwell, CEO of Northwestern Community Services, a publicly-funded behavioral health agency serving the northern Shenandoah Valley.

“You don’t know who is out there not seeking treatment,” Elwell said.

And not everyone who decides to shoot other people is mentally ill, Elwell said.

Elwell used to work in Broward County, Fla., where 17 students and staff members were shot to death and another 17 injured at Stoneman Douglas High School by former student Nikolas Cruz on Feb. 14, 2018. Elwell said he remains close with officials at Henderson Behavioral Health, the largest mental health provider in that county, which reportedly treated Cruz more than a year before the shooting.

Earlier this year, a Broward County judge threw out a lawsuit against Henderson Behavioral Health that claimed it was negligent for not doing more to inform police and the school system that Cruz was dangerous.

“They were not able to forecast the future,” Elwell said. “You just don’t know.”

Preventative mental health treatment aimed at youth “can be very effective,” Elwell said.”But that doesn’t mean you catch everybody.”

Gooditis said that, as of Monday, there was no reported indication that Craddock had a history of mental health issues.

Gooditis said she agrees that the commonwealth needs more resources allocated for mental health services, but they will be most effective coupled with gun control measures.

“I say we need it all.”

— Contact Onofrio Castiglia at

(22) comments


why is no one talking about Chicago where this past weekend I think 55 were shot and 10 killed as a result of criminals who are not supposed to have a gun. That does not fit the anti gun narrative.


Va Beach currently bans guns in municipal buildings. They also ban high capacity magazines and silencers. It didn’t stop this guy.

Spock Here

It never ceases to amaze me that the righteous evilgelicals who posture and pontificate about legally terminating a pregnancy, painting graphic pictures of the suffering of a non viable, non breathing fetus as it's "torn, burned, and cut from the mother" , calling it murder, who do not show the same outrage over the living, breathing human being, who had a heartbeat till a flurry of bullets tore through him or her, blasting muscle, bone, and organs, and refuse to even consider possible remedies other than arming everybody like it's the OK corral.


Spare me your misplaced righteous indignation. Both are horrible events. You can't stop someone intent on killing someone by any means at their disposal. Guns aren't the problem, just like autos or knives or explosives aren't the problem. It's the animals who commit the crimes that are the problem.


Who said we were righteous? We are all sinners, including you. And your ignorance on guns speaks volumes. Maybe you should shoot a gun someday. God forbid you ever need to defend yourself from another fallible human being. Thank a cop. Thank someone in the military. Thank and armed teacher. And yes, there were several states before Florida that already allowed teachers to be armed. Only one incident was reported in those states since 2000:


Here is the racist incoherent ranter again who cant spell and uses improper grammar.
1. It is a suppressor not a silencer. You have to apply for a license, takes a long time to get approval, and have a hefty fee paid yearly
2. Taking firearms fron law abiding citizens will NOT keep firearms out of the hands of criminals. They pay less for their firearms gotten from the street corners than I would at a liscensed firearm dealer.
3. Anyone who owns a firearm should train and become proficient with their firearm hence don't need a large capacity magazine ( not a clip, clips go in your hair). However when you are training or target shooting, a high capacity magazine can be used for learning speed,consistancy, etc.
4. Anyone that wants to kill will find a way. Especially soft targets.
5.look around our surrounding areas. Alot of murders usually gang and drug related. Not because they woke up and said to themselves I'm going to go kill someone today.
6. Mentally unstable individuals do not always give red flags or seek help.
7. Take a real good look at countries where guns laws are so severe or illegal to own a firearm. Criminals still find a way.
8. Everytime there is a mass shooting, immediately it's the firearms fault. Guns are inanimate objects. They cannot kill without a person pulling the trigger. I dont velieve anyone has trained an animal to pull triggers yet.
9. I believe anyone who kills another that is not self defense is mentally unstable.


"Here is the racist incoherent ranter again who cant spell and uses improper grammar." appreciate the disclaimer.


Being facetious. Must be spock and crt friend

Spock Here

He's a bit sensitive


i am all for sensible gun control but it seems this particular incident wouldn't have been avoided with additional legislation. if a shooter doesn't show signs of mental instability prior to murdering others and has legally purchased guns/accessories, we have to accept that mass shootings/suicide by cop is the price our society will continue to pay for the rights afforded us in the second amendment. that being said, we don't do away with laws concerning murder/assault/theft etc just because it's 'going to happen anyway - people who want to break laws will break them'. this is true, but unless winchester star's readership are primarily anarchists, the 'gun laws don't work because criminals' arguments are lazy at best not to mention hypocritical, apathetic and irresponsible.


Nice use of straw man.


poor deflection on your part, no straw man in my comment.


What exactly am I deflecting? Your presupposition that those who believe rights to self-defend advocate anarchy? That we should do away with laws against various crimes because "it's going to happen anyway" -- who said that? Yes, you invented an argument that no one made and pretended like someone did -- it's called a straw man fallacy, look it up!


shrugging - your own comment is a straw man. i never made the comparison 'those who believe in rights to self defend = advocate anarchy". instead of needlessly telling me to research concepts i already understand, perhaps give a full thoughtful read to the post you're responding to before flying off the handle. concerning your question 'what exactly am i deflecting?', obviously, you are deflecting from the actual content of my comment.


More citizens who want reasonable gun control laws need to call and write in to politicians like Vogel to make their opinions known. Pro gun lobbyists get the ear of politicians because they're stuck to them like glue, pulling in big checks to advocate for their employers. Pro-regulation constituents need to organize and speak directly to the offices of their representatives, as well as getting behind candidates with values similar to their own. I suspect if Vogel thought her election depended on pacifying gun control advocates, she would have a change of heart and at least meet opponents in the middle.


Where is "the middle"? You can't define it without creating a vacuum that criminals would exploit. You are too busy attacking the rights of the law-abiding to focus on the actual issues, which is the devaluation of life and the gun grabbers reflexive and predictable reaction to punish everyone else BUT the criminal. It's unlawful to murder people (at least, outside the womb), so this idea of making it more difficult for law-abiding citizens to protect themselves does nothing to keep people safe. "Gun-free" zones are the problem not the guns themselves.


i guess we have a "Middle-Bill-of-Rights" -- kinda like "Middle-Earth"


If the "pro-regulation" constituents could figure out how to get guns away criminals and get criminals and mentally ill people off the streets, you'd be doing something. Otherwise, you are just stopping us "gun toters" from defending ourselves. If that building was a "gun-free zone" didn't work out too well for about 17 people.


gee -- another government facility with no guns. another soft target.

guns save lives:


Maybe, just maybe Del. Wendy Gooditis should read the current gun laws before opening her uniformed talking points mouth. Suppressors are very highly regulated, first you have to apply to have one, then it may take 6 months to a year to get a decision on one. Why is it most democrats do not have a clue about gun laws. Nothing could have stopped the man in VA beach. He was determined to do what he did. Yes it is horrible, but making more laws will not stop those determined to do stupid. Vote her out in November.


has she ever fired a gun?


Yes, I agree that no law could have stopped the shooter initially..but he might have been stopped much sooner if employees had their own personal weapons at their sides. Gun free zones just make people "sitting ducks" and I refuse to work any place where I cannot protect myself from a lunatic intent on murdering people.

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