Two Virginia Senate bills addressing gun control, part of the numerous gun regulation bills moving through the Virginia legislature, were defeated Monday.
Senate Bill 1429, proposed by Sen. George Barker, D-Fairfax, would have allowed law enforcement officers to seize guns from those who demonstrate a danger to themselves or others. The second, Senate Bill 1108 — submitted by Sen. Linda Puller, D-Prince William — proposed that men who do not pay their child support payments should not be permitted to buy guns.
University Democrats Financial Officer Brett Curtis, a first-year College student, said these are fundamental issues which need to be addressed.
“These are common sense gun laws,” Curtis said. “They are something that we need to pass.”
Democrats emphasized these bills do not encroach on Second Amendment guarantees surrounding the right to bear arms — however, College Republicans Chairman Mac McClure said having the right to own a gun increased people’s trust in their government.
“[The right to own a gun is] one of the most important rights to have in a democracy,” said McClure, a third-year College student. “It is something that has become a very American thing to do — … the usage of guns has been here as long as we have been here.”
McClure said though the bills were meant to add to public safety, he thought they ultimately would not achieve this objective.
“These are measures that are limiting people’s ability to get guns,” McClure said. “Are they measures that are going to protect people? I don’t think so.”
Curtis, said that though Second Amendment guarantees are important, legal regulation is necessary.
“Gun ownership has always been a part of being a member of our country,” he said. “But at no point should you need an automatic rifle to protect yourself. With gun ownership comes gun responsibility.”
Other arms-related bills — which have yet to go to the floor — would institute regulations addressing concealed weapons and gun purchases per month. Curtis said he strongly believes the lack of mandatory background checks when buying a gun from third-party dealers — such as gun shows — is a large problem.
“It’s not the issue of having a concealed weapon, but moreover having the weapon to begin with,” Curtis said.