On Wednesday, what seems like a whole lot of nothing happened when the General Assembly convened for a special session called by Gov. Ralph Northam in response to the Virginia Beach shooting at the end of May. Northam proposed a package of gun-control legislation.

After less than two hours, the special session was adjourned until November — after elections.

Republican lawmakers were vocal since the session was called about thinking it was politicizing the tragedy for the governor’s own gain, according to multiple reports. Maybe they were right, maybe they weren’t. But now we have lost the chance to have prompt political discourse around the issue.

Republicans did assign the state’s bipartisan crime commission to study policy proposals that might have prevented the shooting, according to the Associated Press.

“Quite frankly, we need to take a little bit deeper look at these issues and actually do something rather than stage manage a vote in which we’re just trying to embarrass each other,” state Sen. Mark Obenshain said in an AP report.

He makes a good point, and it’s smart to look at the issues at hand to get a full-scope of what could be done to stop another version of this tragedy from happening in the future. But part of “looking into it” could have been having discussions and debates in the political setting of the General Assembly.

Whether you’re pro- or anti-gun control, this wasn’t really a victory for either side or anyone who falls in between. Clearly in this country we have a problem with massacres. Maybe it’s a gun issue. Maybe it’s a mental health issue. Maybe it’s something completely different. Maybe it’s a combination. If we’re going to find out, both sides need to make sure we have real discussions and investigations that go beyond the stereotypical ideas of what each party will or will not do.

Assigning the crime commission to study policy proposals could be a pivotal step, and that could have been positively compounded with political discussions and debates on both sides of the aisle. While there may have been conflicting views on the origin of the session being called in the first place, it still was an opportunity to actively engage on the issue.

Richard Keene, a 51-year-old gun owner from Chesterfield, said it all turned out to be “a lot of hype for nothing,” in an interview with the AP.

“I’m a little disappointed in everyone, actually,” he said. “I don’t feel like the common, normal person, the normal American, is represented anymore. It’s frustrating.”

(20) comments


DANT, excellent points and you will never hear the truth from gun grabbers!


Mike: I like these editorials way better than the old ones, so I guess it's in the eye of the beholder!

Mike Muterspaugh

Well of course you do LV. They are left leaning blather. They are also poorly written. But, hey, as you say it's in the eyes of the beholder and their political affiliation. And I have to say, I thought I was making such progress with you over the last 5yrs. and then you backslide. [wink]

Mike Muterspaugh

R B Tate-I am chagrined and repentant R B. I promise to do better in the future and not disappoint Ms. Sheridan and offend her delicate sensibilities. I will try and refrain from using "incendiary" language. (probably not) I will now go set in the corner for at least 1 hr.

R B Tate

We all do a little backsliding from time to time, Mike. Keep the faith. And perhaps this oldie would help her understand those of us that have not attained perfection. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6voAw66Bxko

Mike Muterspaugh

RB-HAHAHAHAHAHAH. Just played it. I'm still laughing.

Mike Muterspaugh

Hopefully the 12 year old that now writes the editorials for the DNR (or the WVLR-West Virginia Liberal Rag-take your pick) will soon go to summer camp. The structure and content of the editorials is embarrassing. None of the proposals from "coonman" would have stopped the Va Beach shooting. The chief of police admitted as much. And to use to word "massacre" is asine and incendiary. All killings are horrible, but we do not have a "massacre" epidemic. " There has been a rash of heavily publicized mass shootings in recent years. But those incidents, while tragic, are a tiny sliver of America’s gun homicides. Mayors Against Illegal Guns, analyzing FBI data, found that fewer than 1 percent of homicide victims in 2010 were killed in incidents where four or more people died. A Congressional Research Service (CRS) report from 2013 identified 78 “public mass shootings” between 1983 and 2012, which claimed 547 lives. For context, 11,622 people (more than 20 times the mass shooting toll over three decades) died in gun homicides, (which includes suicides and gang shootings) in 2012 alone — and murder is, in general, on the decline, so that number was higher in the 1980s and ‘90s. “While tragic and shocking, public mass shootings account for few of the murders or non-negligent homicides related to firearms that occur annually in the United States,” CRS concluded. Some analyses find that mass shootings are, contrary to popular perception, fairly stable over time. James Alan Fox, a criminologist at Northeastern University, has found that the number of mass shooting victims, perpetrators, and incidents didn’t change much from 1980 to 2014" Every proposal that "coonman" proposed has been debate ad nauseum. Having legislators and polarized citizens yelling at each other would not have served any purpose. Having the crime commision to study, and hopefully with reasonable bi partisan input, see if any reasonable measures, that do not trample on law abiding citizens rights will mediate/reduce (you will never stop all murders) future mass shootings. This editorial is garbage.


The information in your response has motivated me to look more deeply into this issue. The insults, on the other hand, make me want to turn away. Incendiary language only makes our problems harder to solve.

Mike Muterspaugh

What a delicate flower.

R B Tate

The scolding was for your own good, Mike.


Over half the violent felonies in this country are committed by a 13 percent segment of the population. And it ain't the Norwegians. That's a factoid you won't hear "Coonman" utter..

Harvey Yoder

What a great common sense editorial. Instead of acting like a bunch of fourth graders, why not at least have take taken the opportunity to have some good adult conversation about gun violence--rather than just having some blue ribbon panel do all our thinking for us, no that such a panel should be ruled out.

Duck Runner

There have been firearms in this country for hundreds of years yet the mass shooting phenomenon is relatively recent, the question is, what has changed in society?


DR: That is a question I really want to know the answer to. How is it that confrontations that used to involve punches now sometimes involve shootings? Why is it that we now have more frequent and severe instances of people "going postal?" Is it just copycat stuff? Have more people just gone nuts?

I actually agree with all you gun nuts about questioning the effectiveness of new gun control legislation -- I doubt it will have the effect its supporters claim -- but I also want our legislators to take an honest look at the problem and talk like adults. In this, I agree with the editor that we missed an opportunity in Virginia.


The answer to your question, LVW, is that as you liberals have successfully taken the concept of God out of everything, from schools to public discourse, worship of self has increased. As worship of self has increased, respect for the lives of others has decreased. This being the case, people are more willing to pick up a gun and kill someone with it, simply because they disagree with them. Liberalism is a lie straight from the bottomless pit, and it is pure evil.


I believe society has become much more confrontational -- we are much more likely to insult, challenge, punch, and otherwise engage each other. Another bit change is the availability and lethal nature of firearms. It's difficult to massacre a large group of people when you have to reload after every shot.

Mike Muterspaugh

Sheridan-At the risk of being "confrontational" Ms Sheridan, your last sentence is asine. It's hard to kill a group of people with a horse and buggy instead of a large van. You couldn't kill 3000 people in 2 towers if we didn't have airplanes. And we have had repeating firearms in this country since about 1850. And there are millions of them. Most in the hands of law abiding citizens who wish to protect themselves and their loved ones from those that would do them harm and are armed with repeating firearms. One more time-if you eliminate private ownership of repeating firearms (or firearms in totality) only the evil doers will have them. BECAUSE they do not obey the laws. You really need to get a grasp on reality.


You evidently have no clue about firearms.....


We don't have a massacre problem we have a suicide problem but they don't scream gun control when 75% of firearm deaths are self inflicted no instead they bunch those statistics in with the other 25% (massacres are less than 1%) to promote a gun confiscation agenda!


There's a proposal for that, but you may notice the Republicans came at Northam with incarceration, a blank check. He took it on the chin and time marches on and sometimes it seems everybody is confused. They aren't.

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