Monday, January 20, over 22,000 gun rights activists, including members of the Ohio Patriot Network and the Virginia Citizens Defense League, gathered in the Virginia capitol of Richmond at a pro-gun rally to protest several proposed gun control bills. So what is it about these bills that have them so up in arms?
- Limiting gun purchases to one per 30 days
- Expanding background checks on gun sales
- Allowing localities to ban guns in certain public areas, events, and buildings
- Implementing a red flag bill, or Extreme Risk Protective Order, allowing authorities to temporarily remove guns from anyone deemed dangerous to themselves or others
- Banning dangerous weapons such as assault weapons, high-capacity magazines, bump stocks, silencers, and suppressors
- Reporting lost and stolen firearms to law enforcement within 24 hours of disappearance
- Prohibiting those persons subject to final protective orders from possessing firearms
- Enhancing the punishment (Class 6 felony) for allowing access to loaded, unsecured firearms to a child up to age 18
A well regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed
The 2nd Amendment of the United States Constitution
Many gun-rights advocates believe that the Second Amendment of the Constitution is a God-given right and that any gun law is an illegal infringement upon those rights. Another claim is that guns are not the problem, the violent people behind them are the problem. While many pro-gun advocates do not necessarily promote gun violence, they do want the right to protect themselves and their family. Of course, there are also those who are simply looking to incite violence and unrest.
I will NEVER allow our great Second Amendment to go unprotected, not even a little bit!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 20, 2020
In 2016, there were 38,658 gun-related fatalities in the United States. In the open-carry state of Virginia, there were 1,049. In the U.S., the number of murders by domestic extremists, all linked to right-wing movements, rose from 37 in 2017 to 50 in 2018. Guns were responsible for 42 of those deaths.
Prior to the rally, not wanting a repeat of the fatal clashes that took place at the 2017 rally in Charlottesville, and due to the threat of impending violence initiated by neo-Nazi groups, Governor Ralph Northam called a state of emergency. All weapons were banned from within Richmond’s Capitol Square, although that didn’t stop many activists outside of the square’s perimeter from packing rifles, handguns, ammunition, even sniper rifles along with their attachment accessories like 1000 yard spotting scopes and deer hunting scopes. This could, by the mere sight of the range of firearms, cause some people to feel threatened. Fortunately, Monday’s rally concluded peacefully.
Although the gun advocates have sincere concerns about their rights, the proposed gun laws are supported by the majority of Virginia voters, from 54 percent to 86 percent. Since both Democrat and Republicans approve of some form of gun control, doesn’t a compromise seem reasonable? As a charter member of the United Nations, the United States has a responsibility to promote the organization’s Sustainable Development Goals. Number 16 advocates for Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions, which “promotes peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provides access to justice for all, and builds effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.” What does this mean for both gun rights and gun control advocates? If we’re going to aim at anything, shouldn’t it be that justice, peace, and humanity unite us, not divide us?