Peter’s Take is a weekly opinion column. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.
Last Friday, the Washington Post revealed that the National Rifle Association has committed to spend half a million dollars in negative advertising against Terry McAuliffe in the Virginia Governor’s race.
This NRA announcement prompted McAuliffe to say that he is “a strong supporter of the Second Amendment. I’m a hunter. I own guns. … There are certain individuals who just should not own a gun.” Cuccinelli responded that no new laws are needed because “Virginia has excelled at ‘screening out people with mental illness from gun purchases’ and ‘prosecuting people who attempt to buy guns illegally’.”
Whatever it might have stood for decades ago, the NRA today is simply a trade association of gun manufacturers who want to sell as many guns as possible. The NRA and other extreme opponents of reasonable gun laws are fond of the slogan, “guns don’t kill people; people kill people.” This NRA slogan is worthless in helping us decide whether new laws are needed to reduce gun violence.
We need to scrap the NRA’s slogan, and use our own common sense: a combination of guns and people kill people.
If we could do away with the worthless slogans and extreme partisanship surrounding this issue, it would be easier for folks to sit down together and develop reasonable solutions. We need to keep an open mind to solutions including, but not limited to, new laws that address the role of both people and guns in violent gun deaths.
Advocates of stricter gun laws also ought to be supporting more:
- mental health screening,
- mental health treatment, and
- effective sharing of mental health data
Gun rights advocates also ought to be supporting reasonable:
- restrictions on sales of weapons designed for modern warfare,
- restrictions on bulk sales of massive amounts of ammunition, and
- universal background checks prior to gun sales
Aaron Alexis, the Navy Yard shooter, worked at a series of consulting assignments around the DC Metro area, including assignments in Arlington. Aaron Alexis purchased the gun he used in Lorton, Va..
We all have a stake in what should be done to prevent tragedies like those at the Navy Yard, Sandy Hook or Virginia Tech.
The next tragedy could easily happen in Arlington.
Peter Rousselot is a former member of the Central Committee of the Democratic Party of Virginia and former chair of the Arlington County Democratic Committee.