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Addressing Gun Control in Virginia

Sen. Puller addresses the issue of gun control.

(Editor's Note: The following letter was sent by Senator Linda T. "Toddy" Puller to her constituents on Jan. 18. It is also published on her website.)

Thank you to all my constituents who have sent me emails and letters in recent weeks regarding the complex and important issue of gun control and the Second Amendment.

In light of recent tragedies, from Columbine to Virginia Tech to Sandy Hook strong emotions and concerns on both sides are understandable. Legitimate concern over preserving rights of gun owners, however, must be examined carefully along with the issues of mental health and protecting our children. I believe any serious legislation or debate on the issue of guns must directly address keeping firearms away from dangerous citizens and keeping everyone in our society safe and secure.

I believe in responsible gun ownership. I grew up in an Army family, married into a Marine Corps family and I have no desire to take away anyone’s Constitutional rights. In terms of legislation, I have always voted to close the “gun show loophole” as well as promoting safety and education in gun ownership, and I will continue to do so. The technology exists to make it a fairly quick and easy process for running background checks on every gun sale. There is no reason to exempt gun shows.

There is also a clear distinction between hunting and protection of one’s property and family, and the military-grade, assault weapons repeatedly used in massacres around the country that serve no purpose other than in the field of combat. Patriotic Americans desiring to handle automatic weapons should join the armed forces, an honorable act, which I have worked my whole career to support. I believe that while there are specific aspects for states to address, due to the Constitutional nature and national implications of guns and gun control, the President and Congress should take leadership on these issues. Both sides must come together and understand the positions of the other side.

Here in the Commonwealth of Virginia we have had success with Republicans and Democrats coming together under the leadership of former Governor Kaine after the Virginia Tech shootings, as well as with Project Exile under the leadership of former Governor Allen. I am looking to the President for leadership and to Congress to work with him on common sense, comprehensive solutions to protect responsible gun owners, while ending the violence in our communities.

Please continue to contact me on issues of concern. Hearing from constituents helps me better represent the people of the 36th District.

Sincerely, Senator Linda T. Puller

Bill Zaccagnino January 21, 2013 at 03:25 PM
Senator Puller, the first act of the legislature should be to repeal all the gun liberalization laws from last year. We know the previous laws were constitutionally sound. Next, the Commonwealth should make illegal all automatic and semi-automatic weapons along with extended clips. No grandfathering. All collected, all destroyed. This is not an infringement of second amendment rights, but just plain common sense. There will still be an absurd amount of guns around that will continue to make the Commonwealth unsafe. Tell your colleagues to stop kowtowing to the NRA. If the 20 murdered children in Newtown and the 900+ homicides since Newtown aren't convincing enough, I fear for what we have become and what future horrors guns will inflict on the Commonwealth and the Nation.
James Carmalt January 21, 2013 at 04:33 PM
Senator Puller, I appreciate your straightforward concerns concerning protecting the rights of legal, law-abiding sportsmen, firearms owners and any efforts to keep these same weapons out of the hands of the wrong people. It is a most difficult challenge, but there-in lies the answer. Common sense is key to any legislation regarding this subject and certain terms falls under the common sense column. "MilitaryGrade" weapons are a term created by the liberal media regarding firearms that are not as powerful as most hunting rifles. The term "automatic weapon" is so over-used by the left's media that it's insulting to those of us that are law-abiding gun owners. "Automatic weapons" are already banned and illegal to use unless you are properly licensed or a law enforcement officer equipped to use them. Semi-Automatic rifles and hand guns are legal to use, and a source of great enjoyment to most sportsmen, hunters and competitive target shooters. There was never any "automatic assault weapon" used at Sandy Hook and to base any legislation on a tragedy that has been incorrectlly reported by a liberal media firestorm would be sad indeed to the many of us that are proud NRA members and safe gun owners. There are people that don't like guns and they would be absolutely intent on trying to take any type of weapon away from good people. . None of these firearms are lethal unless they are in the hands of the wrong people, let us all work together to see that that does not happen.
David Lizana January 21, 2013 at 05:11 PM
Senator Puller, I appreciate the fact that you put your views out in the open. I do however have concerns over some of the terms used in your letter. The term "gun show loophole" is a misnommer made up by the left-leaning news media, When in fact all of the dealers at the gun shows do perform background checks on anybody the purchases a firearm from them. What happens between two private individuals can take place at any time and anywhere. Automatic weapons and armour-piercing bullets have always been against the law and should be. This country has a long historyof sportsmen using the semi-auto version of the military firearm for hunting,competition shooting, taget practice and home protection. We all know when people start talking about responsible gun ownership is code for restriction of the second admendment rights.Should we not be talking about strenghtening our mental health laws and curtailing the violence coming out of hollywood in the form of violent movies and video games that our children watch and play. I know that hollywood is out of bounds for those of you on the left, because that is where most of your big donors are.
John Q Republican January 21, 2013 at 11:52 PM
Senator Puller, if you and others like you would take a fresh look at our constitution and bill of rights you could not honestly support the president on gun control or any other part of his agenda! How many times do we have to give him a pass when he is out of line. Is he beyond being called down and reigned in?
Vicky Stevens January 22, 2013 at 12:26 AM
I agree with Mr. Lizana in part and think Puller wastes political capital when using media shorthand where she means "person-to-person sales," though I don't think all media are liberal-leaning. You'd hope politicians would strive to improve accuracy in communications on such a volatile issue. On the philosophical side opposing Mr. Zaccagnino's proposal, there is a potential for anarchy stemming from sudden disaster or civil disobedience (hurricane, backpack nuclear bombs in DC) that justifies a homeowner preserving protection from marauding gangs. Recall police non-response in 1968 (14th Street Corridor) or police resources favoring wealthier neighborhoods (Grenta's "wall of blue" in Katrina or the shameful police conduct on the Danzinger Bridge). On the practical side, it is so disappointing when politicians waste oxygen on cheap shots that aren't going to happen while ignoring an achievable goal -- a renewed commitment to investigate and prosecute ALL the tens of thousands of convicted felons and fugitives from justice who lie on ATF Form 4473 in attempting to secure guns.

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