In response to the Sunday, Dec. 15 column by Jon Russell, “Virginia Democrats are picking a fight with law-abiding gun owners,” I would like to point out bills may be changed or tabled during the legislative process. All members of the legislature may pre-file bills, which is normal.
The Division of Legislative Service vets a member’s proposal for constitutionality, then drafts if for signature. It is assigned to a standing committee for deliberation. They study, discuss and vote on the bill in public session. If approved, the bill is sent to the other chamber to go through a similar process. When passed by both chambers, the bill is sent to the governor, and if approved, becomes law.
Russell mentioned Sheriff Scott Jenkins in his article. The sheriff said if the commonwealth tries to take Virginia residents’ guns away (for which, by the way, there is no pending legislation), he will deputize thousands of gun owners in Culpeper so they can keep their guns.
Despite the tone of this rhetoric, Jenkins then said on Fox and Friends this week that those he would deputize “will be properly vetted through a normal process. Everything from normal background checks that we do for other deputy sheriffs, as well as psych [evaluations]. It’s not just a blanket policy of swearing-in anyone who is interested.”
Why, that is exactly what 80 percent of Virginians want. Comprehensive background checks and red flag laws--meaning, Sheriff Jenkins is vowing to implement the policies that most gun safety activists support.
If Sheriff Jenkins refused to implement a red flag court order, after which the subject of that court order killed himself or others, the sheriff could be prosecuted for neglect of his duty, or certainly could be the subject of a potentially large civil suit.
Russell misrepresents the legislative process, provides no solutions to preventing gun violence and fails to recognize the majority who want reasonable gun safety measures.