Fear mongering on guns serves no one

There are several things to comment about Sixth District Republican Chairwoman Jennifer Brown’s Jan. 9 Community Viewpoint entitled “Gun laws would make Virginia less safe,” but I will focus on the theme in the heart of her argument.

The gun issue is a complex one, but it is hard to deny the particular gun issue in the United States as one mass shooting after another occurs in our churches, schools and synagogues, not to mention randomly on our streets with readily available guns. The NRA, Republicans and Jerry Falwell Jr, locally argue that more guns for citizen self-defense is the answer, but we see that counties with fewer guns seem to have a much better situation. I will leave that complicated argument to another time, and common sense.

The issue is the big lie from the NRA and the right that the modest proposals from the new Virginia Democratic majority in the General Assembly will cause law enforcement to come to your door and take guns. To quote Brown: “If gun owning citizens don’t relinquish their guns then they will have law enforcement come to their homes, seize their firearms and arrest them.” Does anyone really believe this, or is this a chant said in unison by the right? Is it not reasonable to have background checks or to ban military-style assault weapons that have no sporting purpose?

Here is an uncomfortable fact for the NRA and the right: The majority of Virginians and Americans support reasonable gun control measure that in no way take away your right to own guns. This is not an alternative fact, it is a fact. This is why the changes are coming, directly as a result of the public will expressed in recent Virginia elections. The NRA lobby can and does own many politicians, but things are spinning out of their control.

This “they are coming to take your guns” is reminiscent of the pitch against former President Barack Obama. Gun sales spiked hugely after his election and reelection, yet nobody came for guns, despite the rhetoric from the right. What happened? Could it be a hoax? I am an independent who has owned a gun or two all of my adult life, and I have never felt threatened by common-sense gun proposals. I still don’t feel threatened. Stoking of unfounded fear seems to the the political tactic of the day, certainly from the right.

We can have common-sense gun control measures and be the country that we know. Nobody is taking guns from law-abiding people. Think about that when you hear fear mongering claims such as the ones expressed in this Community Viewpoint.

WALKER SYDNOR

Lynchburg

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