By Pat Mullins
Let me start off this policy discussion with full disclosure: I’m a strong supporter of the Second Amendment, but I’m not a big gun guy. I never hesitate to speak up for the right to keep and bear arms, but I’ve owned just a few firearms in my life, and I don’t shoot regularly.
Nonetheless, Ken Cuccinelli’s stance on the Second Amendment and gun violence is one of the biggest reasons I’m proud to support Ken over Terry McAuliffe. Said simply, Ken’s views on guns and the ways to prevent tragedies say quite a lot about the strength and integrity of the man, and what kind of governor he will be.
Ken Cuccinelli is a strong supporter of the Second Amendment. He’s got an A rating from the National Rifle Association. Ken understands that the right to Keep and Bear arms is just that, a right, and shouldn’t be tampered with except in extraordinary situations.
Why does Ken support the Second Amendment? First, it’s in the Constitution. Ken strongly supports the liberties given to us by God and secured by our Founders in the bill of rights. Second, Ken Cuccinelli believes in doing things that work.
To explain that, I need to talk about Terry McAuliffe’s position on guns for a minute.
Terry’s stated plan for Virginia is to bring back Bill Clinton’s gun laws. Remember the “Assault Weapons” ban? Terry wants to bring it back to Virginia. Magazine limits? You bet. Terry McAuliffe has suggested that the new raft of gun laws passed in Colorado would be a model for Virginia, and that he’d like to see them implemented here.
And then McAuliffe said that he would bring back the unpopular one gun a month law to Virginia. We’ve been there and done that. It did not change crime statistics one bit.
The former DNC Chairman claims that he wants to keep Virginians safe. I’ll take him at his word there. So do these kinds of gun laws work and take “military style” weapons off the street? No.
For starters, ask anyone at any gun store if “military style” weapons are available. When they stop laughing, they’ll explain that “military style” weapons have been strictly regulated since 1986. Getting one is extremely difficult, requiring intensive background checks and a sign off from the local law enforcement agency.
So what did the ban accomplish? Not much. It made some “scary looking” features on rifles illegal. No pistol grips, and the hand guards on the barrel to prevent burn injuries were banned because the gun control advocates did not know what they were. If you wanted to shoot more than 10 rounds at a time, you had to change magazines. That’s about it.
Law abiding Virginians had to deal with more and more restrictions, while criminals continued to do what they do best: flout the law, and steal, lie, and forge their way to whatever they sought.
If stricter gun laws made places safer, then Chicago and Washington, D.C., would be low-crime utopias. But instead, we see the opposite. In fact, so many people have been shot and killed in Chicago in recent weeks that the Governor of Illinois has offered to send National Guard troops in to patrol the city.
Quite the opposite is true, and we’ve seen it here in our own Commonwealth.
Over the past year, gun sales have gone up 16 percent, while violent crime has dropped 5 percent. It is not the first time we’ve seen this effect. In 2010, Democrats warned that our restaurants were about to become shooting galleries when the law changed to allow concealed carry permit holders to carry weapons into places that served alcohol, provided they didn’t drink themselves.
In the first year, gun related crimes in bars dropped 5 percent, and even the staunchest opponents of the law had to admit that they were wrong.
Here is my point: Terry McAuliffe’s plans to combat gun violence do nothing but make him and other gun control advocates feel better about themselves. It attacks a fundamental liberty for no real gain in public safety. More importantly, he fails to address the issue of reducing the risk of an individual with mental illness of harming himself or others.
Contrast that with Ken Cuccinelli’s record: respect the Second Amendment, and work to improve mental health treatment. Ken has been working to help the mentally ill his entire career.
In the end, it boils down to this:
New gun laws don’t stop tragedies. Working with individuals with mental illness stops tragedies.
Finding better ways to provide treatment options, and helping families who fear their loved ones may slip through the cracks stops tragedies.
Enforcing the gun laws we have on the books now vigorously stops tragedies.
Ken Cuccinelli is committed to stopping gun violence, and he’s committed to doing it by taking steps that actually work.
Terry McAuliffe’s entire campaign is dishonesty and hot air, flamboyant style with no substance. His position on the Second Amendment is no different. The choice is clear. Vote for Ken Cuccinelli for Governor.
Pat Mullins is chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia