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Del. Ken Plum: More Than Enough

by Del. Ken Plum February 22, 2018 at 10:15 am 21 Comments

This is a commentary from Del. Ken Plum (D-Fairfax), who represents Reston in Virginia’s House of Delegates. It does not reflect the opinion of Reston Now.

“Enough is enough” is a slogan adopted by many advocates for action to end gun violence, but with 290 school shootings in the U.S. since 2013 clearly we are to the point that the shootings that have occurred in schools and numerous locales are more than enough.

Last Wednesday started off as a usual day at the legislature with the added feature that it was Valentine’s Day with lots of red decorations in the hallways and an abundance of chocolate available. It was also the first day of Lent with ashes offered at several nearby churches.

The day took a sharp turn in the late afternoon as the news media brought early reports of another instance of school shootings; this time at a school in Parkland, Florida. The timing was critical in that the General Assembly had over the past several weeks defeated with minimal debate and consideration more than 30 bills intended to reduce gun violence. My bill for universal background checks was among those.

The process for considering these bills was the same for all of them regardless of their approach. In the House the bills were assigned to the Militia, Police and Public Safety Committee and then to a subcommittee on guns composed of six members–four of whom have perfect NRA ratings. The outcome of the hearings is predictable. The advocates make many good and passionate arguments on behalf of common sense gun violence prevention legislation.

The NRA representative states the organization’s opposition along with someone from the Virginia Citizens Defense League with little argument or comments. The vote is always two for and four against. As important as the bills are to many people they are defeated; four members of the House of Delegates with their minds already made up decide for all 100 members of the House. There are few voting records to check because most members never get the opportunity to vote on gun regulation issues.

The strong concern among members of the press and on social media makes it clear that the legislature is going to have to respond to gun violence issues. Unfortunately, the schedule for introducing new bills in this session has passed; otherwise bills would have been introduced in response to the Florida shootings. Legislators would have had to confront the reality that there has been more than enough gun violence.

New York Times article offered some direction as to how legislatures might proceed. An article “How to Reduce Mass Shooting Deaths? Experts Say These Gun Laws Could Help” first appeared on October 5, 2017. It found that there is no way to eliminate the risk of mass shootings, “but there are a handful of policies that could reduce the likelihood of such events or reduce the number of people killed when such shootings do occur.” These include denying purchases by anyone convicted of certain felonies, universal background checks, limiting the sale of certain types of weapons and ammunition, and waiting periods for purchases.

In the next cycle of elections, positions of candidates on gun violence will play an even greater role in who gets elected. If minds of incumbents do not change, voters are likely to change their elected officials. The public has had more than enough.

  • Ken Bum

    Ken you have “More Than Enough” of these commentaries.

  • OneReally

    Ken P your favorite cards are as follows:

    “Take my guns”
    “Take my money”
    “Expand medicare”

    If someone doesn’t agree with you then it’s the same old language.

    “The NRA representative states the organization’s
    opposition along with someone from the Virginia Citizens Defense League
    with little argument or comments. ”

    You try to belittle people you small insecure man. 😉

  • 40yearsinreston

    Dear Mr. speaker (with a small ‘s’) what are you doing about it it ?
    Commenting on the process without trying to introduce bills etc is just moaning

    Why wait for another opportunity to try ?
    Too busy ?

    Not trying is no longer an option

    • Willie Reston

      Reading is not your strong suit, is it?

  • Willie Reston

    Once again, we’re all seen as expendable cannon fodder by the Christian Conservative terrorists on the NRA dole.

    • OneReally

      I hope the moderator sees your comment and deletes it as hate speech.

    • 40yearsinreston

      they are fake christians

  • Mike M

    I want my M- sixteeeeeeen!

    How many shootings with handguns? Ken is afraid of AR-15s because they are scary looking in the movies? Has Ken ever heard of a semi-automatic pistol? Does Ken realize that most of those gun laws would not have prevented the crimes he mentions? I really don;t think Ken cares about facts and results at all. Ken deals in emotion. It’s what motivates his base.

    Every time people get bold about curtailing the Second Amendment how many people like me think, “I ought to get another butt stock for that second AR and another 800 rounds?” I should have invested immediately before the predictable political exploitation began. Colt will have a very good year.

    • 40yearsinreston

      Colt’s patent on the Armalite Assault Rifle expired in 1977

      AR-15 is a Colt trademark

      • Mike M

        My point was Colt will make a lot of money. Did you miss that?

        • 30yearsinreston

          Both St Ronnie and GWB supported a Assault rifle ban
          La Pew and the NRA didn’t say anything till they realized what a money spinner they stumbled on

          Did you miss that ?

      • The Constitutionalist

        False equivalency.

  • 40yearsinreston

    The solution is that only muskets circa 1776 should be allowed
    That should satisfy the strict constitutionals

    • Mike M

      And will Freedom of Speech be restricted to the language of that day?
      Do you think the founding fathers had any sense of the future.?
      Psst. The Constitution is younger than 1776, but adopted language from even earlier documents.

      • 40yearsinreston

        I thought you were smarter than to fall for the self serving rhetoric of a pack of hypocrites who don’t care about anything except for their pay packets
        If you believe that the second amendment is under attack because of restrictions on assault rifles and these people will defend it, I have a bridge I want to sell you
        Psst . the bridge is located in NYC

        • Mike M

          You have said nothing substantive. Weak insults.

    • The Constitutionalist

      Actually, strict Constitutional scholars just about all agree that the amendment is written discussing military arms. That means, the average citizen of this country should be lawfully able to arm themselves any way the state military does.

  • LifeBeginsAtConception

    Hey Ken.

    How man children were killed by guns in 2018 and how many were murdered via abortion. I’ll hang up and listen

    • 40yearsinreston

      false equivalence

  • Elisabeth Springer

    The point about automatic firearms is that they are used to kill people. A hunter uses a rifle or a shotgun. A person who wants a firearm for self-protection gets a hand gun. In my view, there is no good reason to own an automatic weapon. Even if one would want to own a firearm for target practice, that is no reason to buy an automatic weapon either. Those weapons should only be in the hands of law enforcement or the military, who are people trained to use them.
    Having a process before someone can buy a firearm makes perfect sense to me. Background checks are needed to find out if people have been convicted of a felony, are mentally ill, or very young, and they should not be allowed to own them.

    • The Constitutionalist

      Background checks are already mandatory in the state of Virginia. Stop listening to the uneducated masses who have only have their political agenda in mind and either 1, buy a firearm and see for yourself, or 2, do some research.

      Automatic weapons are not legal and haven’t been since the 80’s. The weapons that were grandfathered in are insanely expensive and run in the tens of thousands, at least.

      When it comes to home or self defense, A handgun is useful for one thing: to fight your way to your shotgun. A shotgun is useful for one thing: to fight your way to a rifle.

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