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EDITORIAL: Take the hint, Mr. Youngkin

Gov. Glenn Youngkin had a chance to enact common sense gun legislation — and, of course, he blew it

<p>Youngkin’s weak attempts to justify his veto demonstrate that he has put gun rights and arbitrary justifications over the basic right of students to be safe on school grounds.&nbsp;</p>

Youngkin’s weak attempts to justify his veto demonstrate that he has put gun rights and arbitrary justifications over the basic right of students to be safe on school grounds. 

After the murder of Devin Chandler, Lavel Davis Jr. and D’Sean Perry last year, Governor Glenn Youngkin made a visit to Grounds, honoring the lives lost in a powerful demonstration of empathy. As students who lived through this violence, we wondered what would be done to prevent such tragedies in the future. Now, however, Youngkin seems to have forgotten the suffering of this community and the empathy he expressed for it  — he recently refused to sign two bills promoting gun safety. And in doing so, he has brutally reminded us that nice words are no substitute for tangible action. This Editorial Board, simply put, is disappointed about Youngkin’s dangerous decision to block critical steps towards ending the epidemic of senseless gun violence in Virginia.

As legislation from a newly Democratic Virginia General Assembly is starting to pass through the Governor's desk, Youngkin has signed 64 bills so far this month. Many of these bills are bipartisan, including ones which codify same-sex marriage and end legacy admissions in the state. Given Youngkin’s commendable bipartisan efforts so far, one might think that he would also recognize the need for common sense gun legislation that does not unreasonably violate professed Second Amendment rights. Yet, legislation aimed at protecting lives through stricter gun regulations was somehow absent from the mix of bills the governor enacted. In fact, Youngkin vetoed legislation that would have banned Virginians convicted or accused of domestic abuse from possessing firearms, or from transferring possession of their firearms to other members of their household or those under 21. While this bill represents a sort of common sense gun legislation, it was his second veto which is ultimately more disturbing. 

Youngkin also returned a bill to the legislature which would have required school boards to notify parents who own guns about their responsibility to keep firearms away from children and the best practices for doing so. This bill was a direct response to last year’s Newport News, Va. shooting which was perpetrated by a six-year old boy. This bill would have provided important preventative instruction to parents, while also protecting the Second Amendment right to bear arms that conservatives love so much. Despite this, Youngkin decided against this exceptionally useful piece of legislation. Instead, he transformed this bill into yet another performance for his theatrical culture war against “wokeness” by sending the bill back to the legislature with the recommendation that they add more wording about protecting parental rights, specifically in relation to sex education. 

Mr. Youngkin, if you can explain to us how gun safety measures are in any way tied to sex education in schools, we are all ears. But until then, we will simply remind you that while you wage a silly war — against supposed wokeness and in support of your dubious obsession with parental autonomy — students’ lives are at risk.  

Neither of these bills would have prevented the violence that occurred here on Grounds. For that, more comprehensive gun legislation is required. But these bills would have prevented some instances of gun violence, a cause for which our experiences lead us to express unconditional support. To prevent further harm to any and all communities, we can only reiterate what we have said again and again. Youngkin, your vetoes will do no more than further erode our trust in your willingness to put the lives of Virginians above your own questionable, partisan agenda.

The Cavalier Daily Editorial Board is composed of the Executive Editor, the Editor-in-Chief, the two Opinion Editors, the two Senior Associates and an Opinion Columnist. The board can be reached at


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