Hi. This is Delegate Rob Bloxom with a special edition of my Capitol report covering this week’s special session. The Governor called for this session to enact gun control measures within four days of the murders, before the funerals and memorials were even completed and when the investigation was in its earliest stages. We convened July 9 to accept his gun control bills along with dozens of other proposed bills from both Democrats and Republicans. The bills were referred to the appropriate committees, as are all bills. At that point, the committees re-referred all the proposed legislation to the Crime Commission. The Crime Commission is a bi-partisan committee consisting of delegates, senators, representatives appointed by the Governor, and a representative from the Attorney General’s office. It is a commission staffed with four full-time state employees who are non-partisan.
This commission staff will take all the proposed legislation and do a complete analysis and comparison to states that have enacted similar legislation. They will also analyze the entire police report when it is finished. The commission will meet later this summer in order to hear the staff’s report and will also hold public meetings. This is a very similar approach that Tim Kaine took, when he was the governor, after the Virginia Tech tragedy.
The largest debate we encountered July 9 concerned the actual rules. The Republicans felt that there was a need to include a discussion on other important issues concerning gun violence, mainly the area of mental health. On the other hand, the Democrats wanted to limit the issue to gun control without any consideration of other outside factors.
As I am sure you have read in the news, Governor Northam has admitted more than once that none of his gun-related proposals would have prevented what happened in Virginia Beach. For this reason, it sickens me that politics had more to do with this trip to Richmond than anything else. It is my hope that the Crime Commission brings viable solutions back to us, solutions that will help prevent tragedies such as what happened to our Virginia Beach May 31st.
I continue to be honored to represent you in the 100th District, and will keep you updated on future developments concerning this issue. Thank you.