Listen up, Winchester-area-gun owners, especially if you’re a Republican. Each of us has powerful leverage to affect legislation in Virginia right now. It only takes a few keyboard clicks and quick voicemails.

Oh, and it will also require your conviction that you’re a thinking voter, not a cartoon drawn by addled extremists in Washington and in our state legislature who ignore their own constituents.

The tragic, as we’ve learned again this week, is now commonplace. And when mass shootings occur in Virginia or elsewhere we gun owners are made to seem as if we’re absolutely opposed to firearm safety measures. Those are falsehoods.

Not only most Virginians but most National Rifle Association members and Republicans agree by wide majorities, just as you do, that we need sane gun laws.

But someone forgot to tell this area’s Republican state legislators like Sen. Jill Vogel. She awaits your most pointed encouragements. Ask her November opponent, Ronnie Ross, what his positions are, too. Consider your votes accordingly.

I have found that most NRA members — some have found as many as 7 in 10 — support universal background checks for anyone trying to buy a gun. Don’t trust polls? Good. How about one conducted by the Republican pollster Frank Luntz (he now advises the Trump administration)?

After the Sandy Hook school massacre, of hundreds of NRA members found that 87 percent agree that guns should be kept out of the hands of criminals. NRA members also support, by margins of 63 to 79 percent: background checks for every gun purchase, requiring owners to report to police when guns are lost or stolen, minimum standards for “concealed carry” permits.

A Christopher Newport University survey recently found that Virginians aren’t much different: “Overall support for specific gun control policies show general bipartisan agreement,” their report summarizes.

After the slaughter of 12 city employees in Virginia Beach — the latest chapter in our growing book of tragedies — a special legislative session was adjourned without action after two hours. The 2019 regular session saw dozens of reasonable gun control bills stifled in committees.

Is that really the way you want this conversation to go? Firearms in 2018 — about three a day, including children. During the past 10 years, gun violence has killed more than 600,000 American civilians — more than all combat fatalities in World War II.

Meanwhile, people who pretend to speak for gun owners call folks who worry about mass shootings “colorful,” but are they describing you? Didn’t think so. Make sure your legislators know that you’re ready for gun safety legislation immediately — and you expect them to fight for it.

Its collecting citizen opinions about reasonable gun safety laws to pass along to the legislature.

Richard Keene, a 51-year-old gun owner from Chesterfield, told a reporter that he felt the governor’s special gun-control session turned out to be “a lot of hype for nothing.”

He said, “I don’t feel like the common, normal person, the normal American, is represented anymore ... there is some common ground for the common good that all of us could work toward.”

The take-home word for you and me “work.” Do it now.

Stephen Nash is a visiting senior research scholar at the University of Richmond.

(7) comments


Thete are already background laws in the usa. Enforce them. If i have the funds to buy 3 firearms today does that make me a mass murderer. No. Maybe one is a collector. There are collectors of knives, is that next. Knive violence is on rise too. What about tools. Bet a crazy with hammer or axe could do damage too. The object does not shoot itself, the trained citizen or sickos pull the trigger. Look at Chicago, strictest usa gun laws, most violence and carnage. Point.. if sickos, gangs, etc want to cause harm the will find a wsy

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A knife can't kill 30 people in a minute, and sickos with guns want to kill as many as possible. But, thumbs up and "smile"....talking about sickos


One life has Irreplaceable value, as does each life of any person killed. It is tragic that it takes mass killings of any kind to be able to start discussions of solutions. Unless and until the discussions focus in the right direction, the pain will repeat itself. The true answers will be found in returning to proper boundaries, parenting, and most importantly, Love for our children, coupled with a nurturing society that actually promotes the value of each and every life.


When GOD was taken out of the schools, our nation started to fall apart. No respect for parents or anyone else. Bring back the good ole days when a family actually had dinner together and did for each other, rather than being a, give me, give me. Problems need to be addressed at HOME first, not later in years while sitting in a jail cell. I pray that people start to come back to family values and we can turn all this hate around. Police and EMS are to be respected. Not shot at and killed on a daily basis. Everyone makes mistakes, so lets all remember that and be humbled by the pure fact you are here on earth for a good and rewarding purpose. Be kind, be gentle, be respectful, just plain be nice.


The politicians are afraid of the NRA. Afraid to not support their official positions because the NRA has so much money and power. The NRA organization is the problem here.


What is puzzling and frustrating is that the NRA members, according to the author, want different things than the NRA is lobbying for, or against. WHy is there such a mis-match between what the NRA members say, in polls, and what the NRA is lobbying for? Why don’t you argue that these members should persuade the NRA officials to represent their positions, or.... cancel their membership! Why are these members still supporting an organization that is working AGAINST what they want?

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