Local Commentary

Senator Saslaw’s Richmond Report


 It is summer in Northern Virginia. Along with the heat and humidity comes the we thunderstorms, which seem to be an every couple of days occurrence in our region. Mother Nature appears to be testing our mettle. Although it may seem interminable at the time when there is a power outage, utility workers strive to restore power as quickly as possible. I’d like to thank the men and women that work tirelessly through the heat and hazards to get all of us back on line.

Just like the parades and picnics on the Fourth of July, long awaited previews of the summer movie season has arrived. Last week the nation woke to yet another needless tragedy at the hand of a fully armed mad man. Tomes will be written on the possibilities of why and the probabilities of how this senseless act occurred. It is hard for any of us to comprehend what triggered the grizzly assault on people enjoying the entertainment of a new movie release.

Virginia is an open carry state for weapons. From time to time, you may see someone in the super market or at Starbucks with their gun. We even allow concealed weapons to be carried into bars and restaurants and trust those packing heat will not drink.

I believe in the Second Amendment. Target shooting and hunting are good sport for millions of Americans and we all have a right to defend ourselves. What I cannot understand is why non-military personnel can legally purchase assault weapons. Some 20 years ago, we passed legislation in VA that limited the purchase of guns to one per month. That legislation was enacted because the Commonwealth was the source of most of the guns used in crime up and down the East Coast. And yet, during this time of economic challenges for our citizens when jobs creation should be our priority, one of the most significant measures passed during the 2012 General Assembly was the repeal of the One Gun A Month Act.

In the 2012 Session of the General Assembly, thirty–eight (38) bills came before the Senate that concerned removing any reasonable restrictions on guns and gun owners. As a long term elected official and member of the Senate Courts of Justice Committee, I do not believe those thirty plus (30+) bills will make Virginia a safer place to live. Despite the tragedy we just witnessed, come next January, we can anticipate another round of proposed bills to ease gun restrictions in the Commonwealth.

Let’s hope we have seen the last of what occurred in Aurora, Colorado. May the rest of your summer be enjoyable. 


 Senator Saslaw represents the 35th District in the Virginia State Senate. He may be e-mailed at district35@senate.virginia.gov