A standing room only crowd overflowing the Falls Church City Council’s temporary meeting space at the Community Center Monday night cheered and applauded when the Council voted 7-0 to adopt a strongly-worded resolution “In Support of Gun Violence Prevention.” In the aftermath of the latest mass killing at an American high school on Feb. 14, the F.C. Council’s move followed a rally of over 300 at F.C.’s George Mason High School and drew a strong turnout of citizens of all ages organized by “Moms Demand Action” and a new, just-formed Mason High chapter of “Students Demand Action.”
Resolution co-author Council woman Letty Hardi said, “I’m a mom, and my son said to me, ‘Mommy, why can’t you make a law to stop this.” She said despite the severe restrictions under state law to make any local policy in opposition to state law, she worked with Councilman David Snyder to craft the resolution.
The resolution states the City of Falls Church “calls on the United States Congress and state legislatures, including the Virginia General Assembly, to prioritize to protection of students and local government employees by passing legislation that more effectively regulates access to firearms in the interest of public safety, funds public health research on firearms-related issues, advances mental health support and allows local governments to enact common sense local gun policies.”
Falls Church Police Chief Mary Gavin testified before the vote on the resolution, stating she, also “is a mom,” adding that “the strength of moms is beyond nature,” citing how the formation of Mothers Against Drunk Driving in 1980 “changed the culture’ in America, and a similar mobilization now can do the same. She is on the executive board of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, which, as the resolution tonight stated, “advocates for the adoption of common sense policies to assist in reducing gun violence, including prohibiting the sale of armor piercing ammunition, reinstating an assault weapons ban, supporting state control of concealed weapons and instituting stronger background checks and waiting periods.”
Also testifying Monday were Clara Matton, a senior at George Mason High, who announced the formation of a campus chapter of Students Demand Action after 50 students showed up for a first meeting last week, and Michelle Sandler, the head of the regional Moms Demand Action chapter.
Councilman Snyder decried how “extremists have controlled firearms policy the last few decades” in Virginia, and said the resolution is a “petition to those who have the power to act” in Richmond.