Virginia Beach Shooting (copy)

A makeshift memorial rests at the edge of a police cordon in front of a municipal building that was the scene of a shooting, Saturday, June 1, 2019, in Virginia Beach, Va. DeWayne Craddock killed 11 employees and a contractor before engaging in a protracted gun fight with police officers. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

There are certain things in life that are always true—like water is wet, and fire will burn. Equally as reliable is Democrats’ belief that all societal problems can be solved with government education, politics and government regulation.

The problem is, that mentality is not widely shared, because it is antithetical to the American experience of liberty and the Bill of Rights. So, the Democrats wait—they wait until there is an outrageous tragedy so they can rush to the people and say, “Look, only government can save you.”

Rahm Emanuel, President Obama’s Chief of Staff, said it best: “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. And what I mean by that [is] it’s an opportunity to do things that you think you could not before” (Wall Street Journal, November 19, 2008).

As a case in point, this past week Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, a Democrat, called for a special session of the General Assembly to address the issue of gun control in the commonwealth. This announcement came on the heels of a horrific mass murder where an employee of the City of Virginia Beach used a legally purchased firearm to kill a contractor and 11 co-workers last week.

There is no doubt that the governor is using this tragedy to play to his left-wing base in an election year. He desperately wants to move beyond his “blackface” scandal because his party has no energy going into the election.

It should be noted while the Governor has called the General Assembly back to Richmond, he has not recommended any legislative fixes for what he calls “gun violence.” By the governor not putting forward any ideas for his special session, he believes he will be able to use the issue in this year’s election. The Governor is not interested in passing anything to do with gun control because it’s not really about government regulation of guns this year; it’s about winning the General Assembly in 2019, and government regulation of guns next year.

There is no doubt that extreme gun control advocates will be lobbying the General Assembly for ban on suppressors, subjective mental health evaluations on law-abiding gun owners, or a ban on high-capacity magazines. Again, the remedy for democrats and their allies is to regulate law-abiding gun owners.

The Republican majorities in the Virginia house and senate would be wise to not play into the Governor’s political games. They might want to push for mandatory minimum sentences for criminals who use guns in the act of a crime and constitutional carry which is the legal carrying of a handgun, either openly or concealed, without a license or permit. Constitutional carry does not eliminate lawful restrictions already placed on people prevented from owning a sidearm.

The most glaring issue about the murders in Virginia Beach Municipal Complex was that the shooting took place in a “gun-free zone” because city employees are prevented from carrying firearms while at work. Maybe the General Assembly needs to offer a preemption of local governments to allow municipal employees to carry firearms to work for personal protection.

But in the end, the best thing to come out of the Governor’s special session would be absolutely nothing. The Democrats have lost any high ground by allowing their Governor and Attorney General remain in office after their “blackface” scandals and overlooking the Lt. Governor’s sexual assault charges. Trying to use the deaths of 12 people to advance the Democratic party in an election year is disgusting and should be rejected by Virginia voters in November.

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Jon Russell has served on the Culpeper Town Council for two terms and chairs the Culpeper Republican Committee. His opinions represent his personal views only.