2 Henrico delegates offer different plans for reducing gun violence
Two Henrico delegates agree measures need to be taken to lessen gun violence, but offer different approaches to regulation.
Del. Joseph Morrissey, D-Henrico, is focusing on a bill that would ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines that hold 20 or more rounds.
HB 2207 would make the import, sale, barter and transfer of assault firearms a Class 6 felony, and the import, sale, barter and transfer of high-capacity magazines a Class 1 misdemeanor, respectively. Law enforcement officers and military personnel would be exempt from this legislation.
“To me it’s an absolute no-brainer to ban these assault weapons,” said Morrissey, who has served as a delegate since 2008.
The federal ban on assault weapons expired in 2004, and now Congress is considering reintroducing this legislation in the wake of recent mass shootings.
President Obama and Vice President Biden spoke on Wednesday encouraging Congress to pass legislation to help reduce gun violence including: stronger background checks, bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, increased safety measures at schools and greater access to mental health services.
“I think Virginia ought to act now,” Morrissey said. “There is no use, legitimate use, for these automatic rifles and high capacity magazines, save causing mass carnage and destruction.”
The gunmen used these weapons and magazines in the mass shootings at Virginia Tech, Aurora, Colo. and Newtown, Conn.
“There is no place for these weapons except for perhaps on the battlefield,” Morrissey said.
These guns are not used for sport, for target practice or for defending yourself, he said.
“A blind person, pointed anywhere near it, could hit a target with 100 shots,” he said.
Del. John O’Bannon, R-Henrico, does not believe that the best route for reducing gun violence is through changing the current laws regulating firearms, but instead the focus should be on offering more help to people with mental illness.
“Virginia’s already had one terrible disaster in a school at Virginia Tech,” he said, “and we actually learned a lot from that. We responded and did some things to try to improve the way we handle folks who have mental heath issues, mental illness. And I really think we have a lot more opportunity to make things safer and reduce the chance of that happening in that venue.”
Gov. Bob McDonnell put together a school safety task force with a group focusing on education and another focusing on mental health. O’Bannon is a member of the mental health portion of the task force under Bill Hazel, Virginia secretary of health and human resources. The group is meeting this afternoon.
HB 2207 was assigned to the House Militia, Police and Public Safety subcommittee #1, which was set to meet Jan. 17.
Citizen Staff Reports 10/12/2015
HandsOn Day 2015, which will feature 1200 volunteers serving more than 65 nonprofits in Greater Richmond, will take place Oct. 17 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Among the projects in Henrico or surrounding communities that need volunteers are: installing GardenFest lights Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, distribution center assistance at Feedmore, pumpkin carving with residents at SupportOne, work and play at Housing Families First, paint for independence at Heart Havens, spruce up the shelter and clean sweep at Harbor House at Safe Harbor, pinwheel project at REAP and Kidney Walk prep at National Kidney Foundation Serving VA. > Read more.
Citizen Staff Reports 10/12/2015
Virginians who want to plant beneficial plants for bees, butterflies and hummingbirds have a new resource at their fingertips. The online Virginia Native Plant Finder now lets users search for native plant species that benefit pollinators. The tool, which is managed by the Virginia Natural Heritage Program, is free and easy to use; searches can be completed on desktops, tablets or smartphones.
Native plants are those that grow where they evolved; they have traits that enable them to adapt to local conditions. The Virginia Native Plant Finder lets users create their own custom native plant lists by selecting from dropdown menus. > Read more.
Growlers to Go has opened its second area location – in Short Pump, next to Trader Joe's.
Unlike the flagship store on the Boulevard in Richmond, this location is equipped with a Tasting Room, offering customers the opportunity to drink pints or tasting wheels as well as order snacks on premises. > Read more.
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