PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — More swimming pools, more police and fewer extended gun magazines. These were just a few of the wide-ranging ideas discussed when Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax toured the Dale Homes section of Portsmouth on Tuesday afternoon.
Fairfax will preside over a special session of the General Assembly next week, called by Gov. Ralph Northam (D) in the aftermath of the Virginia Beach shootings to discuss gun violence.
Portsmouth School Board member De’Andre Barnes invited Fairfax to Dale Homes, a city housing community where Barnes grew up and where his cousin, Kemon Battle, was shot dead in December at age 12.
“We shouldn’t be burying any 12-year-old, and we shouldn’t be sending any 14-year-old or 13-year-old for doing the crime,” Barnes said.
Fairfax says next week’s special session of the legislature has several items on the agenda.
“(We will be discussing) reinstating one gun a month, universal background checks and banning assault weapons, including suppressors,” Fairfax said. “These are things that even as recent as the shootings in Virginia Beach, we saw some of those come into play.”
Everyone involved says kids in Dale Homes — and there are plenty of them — need more to do.
“It’s sad that you see kids out here playing, and the next thing you know you see kids running,” said resident Nicole Edwards. “(With July 4th coming) I’d rather hear firecrackers, than hear gunshots.”
But Wicks says he wants political leaders in Richmond to know they also need to fund more police officers.
“What are we waiting for, a body to be laying down in the street?”
We asked Fairfax about his recent resignation from the law firm where he worked — as well as the calls by Republican lawmakers for hearings into the allegations against him of sexual assault. He said investigations have shown no wrongdoing and he wants to focus on the business of the people of Virginia.