Someone finally asked Governor Northam the question he’s been unwilling to answer, and it wasn’t a reporter or a legislator.
It was a teenager at Boy’s State who asked: How would the raft of gun control measures put forward by Northam and his fellow Democrats have stopped the tragedy inVirginia Beach?
Northam didn’t have a good answer, according to the Roanoke Times account of the event, at the annual leadership camp put on by the American Legion.
“Northam conceded that his proposals wouldn’t have necessarily prevented the Virginia Beach shooting. But he said the legislation his administration has backed would have helped.”
Democrats have called for the reinstatement of a one gun per month law, universal background checks for all gun sales, a limit on magazine sizes, bans on suppressors and ‘assault weapons’, and ban on guns in public buildings, among other proposals.
The shooter in Virginia Beach purchased both of his firearms years apart, passed background checks for both purchases, passed an intensive background check for the purchase of the suppressor.
Virginia Beach Police Chief James Cervera said laws like those proposed by Democrats wouldn’t have prevented the shooting.
“I don’t think most of that would have mattered in this case,” he told George Stephanopolous earlier this month. “In this particular case the weapons were obtained legally. Everything was done in a legal manner by this individual.”
A number of city employees in Virginia Beach opposed a City Council measure earlier this month that would have asked the General Assembly to ban firearms in public buildings, according to the Virginian Pilot.
“Chris Wojtowicz, who was in Building 2 during last month’s massacre, said he knew most of the victims who died. The public works engineer argued that a ban on firearms would make employees like him less secure.”
“‘I wish that some of my fellow employees or visiting citizens had been carrying that day,’ Wojtowicz told the council. ‘Maybe the shooter would’ve been stopped sooner.’”
For his part, Northam noted that while Virginia Beach may have been the impetus for his call for a special session, gun violence in general is the subject of his ‘gun violence emergency’ legislative package.
“The bigger picture is it wasn’t just about Virginia Beach,’ Northam added. ‘We have had one tragedy after another.’”