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Northern Virginia Lawmakers Say Gun Control Remains a Tough Fight

Sen. Dick Saslaw says it's tough to get a bill offering more stricter controls on guns through the Virginia General Assembly. Sen. Adam Ebbin agrees.

Trying to get more stringent gun control legislation through the Virginia General Assembly is something of a losing battle, according to at least two state lawmakers representing Northern Virginia.

Sen. Dick Saslaw (D-35th) lamented that he’s tried multiple times to tighten up Virginia’s gun rights, but to little avail.

He told audience members of a state legislative forum held at Alexandria’s City Hall that three years ago he introduced a bill after a man shot and killed two police officers before shooting and killing himself.

Saslaw said in response, he introduced a bill making it illegal in Virginia to bring a gun onto police grounds. The Senate then narrowed that measure by making it illegal to bring a gun into a police station. House members ultimately killed the bill.

“When you can’t get a bill through to ban private citizens from bringing guns to the secure area of a police station…,” Saslaw said, throwing up his hands exasperatedly. Saslaw serves on the Senate Courts of Justice Committee, which is responsible for legislation dealing with public safety. He also unsuccessfully fought against the repeal of the one-gun-a-month law, which limited handgun purchases in Virginia to one per 30 days for an individual.

What would it take to see more stringent controls, asked Saslaw. If someone with a gun acting irrationally goes into the building near I-66 and Route 50 (the headquarters of the National Rifle Association), “you might get sensible gun control,” he said.

Saslaw added that of the 39 gun-related bills making their way through the Virginia state house last session, the NRA was involved in just four of them.

The Virginia Citizens Defense League was the voice involved in most of them, Saslaw said. The senator described the league’s members as pulling out of the NRA and forming their own group because they saw the NRA as too liberal.

The nonprofit Virginia Citizens Defense League is dedicated to advancing the fundamental human right of all Virginians to keep and bear arms as guaranteed by the Second Amendment and Article 1, Section 13 of Virginia’s constitution, according to its website.

Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-30th) said he intends to introduce a bill during the upcoming session that would require people to report stolen guns, although he also noted that gun-control legislation never quite sails through the chambers.

Saslaw also recounted that he received an email from an army captain who called Saslaw an idiot for trying to put more stringent controls on gun use and said the captain wrote “I’d never dream of walking down the streets of Kabul without a gun.”

Saslaw said people need to realize that Fairfax County is not Kabul.

“These people, where are they coming from?” he said, adding, “Certainly not from Northern Virginia.”

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John Wilburn December 11, 2012 at 02:58 AM
Is Saslaw serious?! Does he really think that a bill banning carry in police stations would have prevented two murders by threatening the killer with a trespass charge? Also note his not so thinly-veiled hope that someone will walk into the NRA headquarters and shoot the place up. His political career is worth more than life itself to him. Unreal.
James schroff December 11, 2012 at 03:50 AM
“These people, where are they coming from?” he said, adding, “Certainly not from Northern Virginia.” That shows how smart Mr. Saslaw is. The group he's talking about was started in NOVA . DA
Pourshot December 11, 2012 at 12:05 PM
Actually I am a Benefactor Life Member of the NRA, GOA, JPFO, SAF, and others. I have not removed myself from the NRA at all. Note to "Banjo" Dick Saslaw: Not Northern VA?? Read the web site -- The Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL) was founded in October 1994 as the Northern Virginia Citizens Defense League (NVCDL). The group experienced enormous growth in membership statewide and was incorporated as VCDL in May of 1998. If you ask why I call Sen. Saslaw "Banjo" I will tell you. A couple of years ago the VCDL showed up with about 600 people. With the exception of maybe 5 folks in jeans and 2 in camo, everyone was dressed in a very upper business-wear manner. Yet "Banjo" was overheard, in an elevator, telling the person next to him "We must be discussing gun laws today. Half the cast of Deliverance is in town. So *THAT* is how the Senator views ALL gun owners. It is a shame his district does not show him the door!
T Ailshire December 11, 2012 at 04:03 PM
Mr. Saslaw bemoans citizens carrying firearms onto police property? Um, that's the citizens' property, sir. And may I point out that citizens MAY NOT carry into the *secure area* of a police station. And yes, I am a life member of the NRA, and unwilling to infringe my rights.
Jake December 12, 2012 at 04:04 AM
"If someone with a gun acting irrationally goes into the building near I-66 and Route 50 (the headquarters of the National Rifle Association), “you might get sensible gun control,” ~Saslaw The only gun control this would create would be the kind were the legal gun owner would use their firearm with two hands to stop the bad guy in his tracks BEFORE he had the chance to hurt anyone. This would only reinforce the fact that legal carry everywhere works to stop crime, and gun free zones do not. Gun free zones only create helpless victims, because criminals do not obey laws and prefer to commit their crimes where there is little to no resistance.

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