Gun Control Bills
“Virginia’s (and Maryland’s) Gun Control Bills Won’t Stop Criminals” (according to the Law Enforcement Community)
By Bill Richbourg
As packages of strict gun control proposals are working their way through the respective state legislatures, members of the law enforcement community are beginning to voice their opinions on the impact of these proposals, if enacted.
Nearly a dozen current and former members of law enforcement told The Epoch Times that passing more legislation will do “nothing to stop criminals from committing crimes…” Almost universally, they said that the nation’s focus should be on the root of these problems, including addressing the mental health crisis that has precipitated most of the mass shootings in this country.
The majority of those officers interviewed were against all forms of gun control, including the ban on so called “assault weapons,” although a small minority said they supported background checks and a few other “less overreaching proposals that seem reasonable……”
Sean McGowan, executive director of the Southern States Police Benevolent Association, a group with more than 60,000 members in 11 states, including 6,000 members in Virginia alone, said that the proposals (in Virginia specifically) have caused emotions to run high. Members are convinced that the proposals “will have no impact on crime, since criminals ignore the laws. They ask, why would more laws make criminals all of a sudden decide that they are going to start obeying the law? It’s ridiculous.”
Specifically, one of the more controversial measures in Virginia would ban the owning and selling of “assault weapons.” Kyle Reyes, national spokesman for Law Enforcement Today, an online publication owned and operated entirely by law enforcement, said that the officers he has spoken to indicated that they would NOT prosecute citizens if this bill became law. Reyes reports that it is clear from his conversations with thousands of officers in Virginia and surrounding states that they would rather turn over their guns and badges than confiscate firearms from law-abiding citizens.
The measures currently being forced through the Virginia legislature have, according to Mr. Reyes, awakened a “sleeping giant,” not just in Virginia, but nationally. He reported that his platform reached just under 70 million people last month and that the overwhelming majority, “are incredibly opposed to what’s happening in Virginia.”
Some law enforcement members are speaking out and taking action where they can. To protect the rights of Virginians, Culpepper County Sheriff Scott Jenkins told the Epoch Times that he would deputize citizens as auxiliary deputies to protect their constitutional right to bear arms.
Meanwhile, the number of gun sales in Virginia has increased exponentially. In January, 2019, there were 36,678 background checks conducted under the National Instant Background System, which are mandatory when purchasing firearms at retail stores. In January, 2020, there were 67,699 background checks, a 185% increase according to an analysis of FBI data.
In conclusion, the right of Americans to bear arms is one of our most basic constitutional freedoms. Law enforcement sees these laws, put in place to make people feel good and safe yet “not changing a thing,” as infringing on this freedom.