The Truth About Guns in Virginia

Katie Pavlich
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Posted: Aug 27, 2015 12:30 PM
The Truth About Guns in Virginia

Since Wednesday's horrific double murder of journalists Alison Parker and Adam Ward in Roanoke, Virginia, anti-gun activists have pounced at the opportunity to call for more gun control and exploited the tragedy within hours of its occurrence. Keep in mind the following statements were made before the facts were in about how the killer obtained his firearm. 

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe

"There are too many guns in the hands of people that shouldn’t have guns.” 

“There is too much gun violence in America.”

"I've advocated for background checks."

Hillary Clinton

"I believe we are smart enough. We are compassionate enough to figure out how to balance the legitimate Second Amendment rights with preventative measures and control measures so that whatever motivated this murderer, who eventually took his own life, we will not see more deaths–needless, senseless deaths."
"We have got to do something about gun violence in America."
"And I will take it on."

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest

"This is another example of gun violence that is becoming all too common in communities large and small all across the United States."
“While there is no piece of legislation that will end all violence in this country, there are some commonsense things that only Congress can do that we know would have a tangible impact in reducing gun violence in this country.”

Bloomberg's Everytown via email: 

While details are still unfolding, it appears that a disgruntled former station employee shot and killed Alison Parker, 24, the reporter, and her cameraman, Adam Ward, 27. Parker was interviewing Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce Director Vicki Gardner during the morning newscast when the shooting occurred. Gardner is currently in surgery after being shot in the back. Video of the incident, which was being carried live, can be found here. (NOTE: GRAPHIC FOOTAGE)
“First and foremost, my heart goes out to the families and friends of Adam, Alison and Vicki. They were shot this morning while at work, simply doing their jobs. The few seconds of horror that was broadcasted on live TV gave us all a glimpse into the reality of gun violence in America. As a survivor of the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting, it was incredibly difficult to watch,” said Colin Goddard, Virginia Tech shooting survivor and Senior Policy Advocate for Everytown for Gun Safety. “It should not be normal in this country that people are shot and killed while doing their job, or studying in class, or watching a movie. Leaders in the Commonwealth and in our country can no longer sit idly by while more Americans are gunned down. It is time that they act to protect Americans and do more to keep guns out of dangerous hands. We deserve better.”

A few things to start. First, McAuliffe's implication that Virginia doesn't have background checks is absolutely false. In fact, not only does the Commonwealth require background checks for guns sales but requires two forms of identification and lengthy paperwork before a purchase. Further, we still have no idea how the killer obtained the gun used in the crime, so all of the statements (which are really policy positions) above were made with zero relation or knowledge of the situation. 

Second, McAuliffe, Clinton, the White House and Everytown have no interest in taking away guns from certain people, but instead want them taken away from all people. 

Finally, it's important to point out that although every crime carried out with a firearm is a tragedy, there isn't a "gun violence epidemic" as the anti-gun activists claim. In recent years, gun sales in Virginia have exponentially increased while crime, including crimes carried out with firearms, have significantly decreased. 

Gun-related violent crime continues to drop in Virginia as the sales of firearms continue to soar, a pattern that one local criminologist finds interesting “given the current rhetoric about strengthening gun laws.”
Major gun crime collectively dropped for a fourth consecutive year statewide, while firearms sales climbed to a new record in 2012 with 490,119 guns purchased in 444,844 transactions — a 16 percent rise over 2011, according to federally licensed gun dealer sales estimates obtained by the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
The proliferation of guns occurred as the total number of major reported crimes committed with all types of firearms in Virginia dropped 5 percent, from 4,618 offenses in 2011 to 4,378 last year, according to Virginia State Police data.
Looking back over seven years, total firearm sales in Virginia have risen a staggering 101 percent from 2006 to 2012, while gun-related crime has dropped 28 percent during that period.
“This appears to be additional evidence that more guns don’t necessarily lead to more crime,” said Thomas R. Baker, an assistant professor at Virginia Commonwealth University’s L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs who specializes in research methods and criminology theory.

Gun control activists have no choice but to exploit tragedy surrounded by emotion. After all, in a sober setting their arguments about why more gun control is needed or details about how new measures will prevent violence, never add up. 

Regardless, shameless efforts to promote gun control in the wake of tragedy should be strongly condemned and refuted.