Community members discuss gun laws before Virginia’s special legislative session

Virginia Politics

RICHMOND, Va. — About 60 bills are on the table for Governor Ralph Northam’s Special Session on gun violence Tuesday.

The Eastern Shore Democrat called lawmakers back to Richmond following the shooting in Virginia Beach that killed twelve people.

Roughly a dozen of these proposals are directly from the Governor’s office and are being backed by Democrats, including reinstating a “One Handgun a Month” policy. Some ideas Republicans have brought to the table, they say, that will prevent gun violence by coming down on criminals.

The issue of gun control is on the minds of many Virginians, as the Governor’s administration, as well as the National Rifle Association (NRA), held roundtables across the Commonwealth throughout the past few weeks.

Haywood Hair Image, a Richmond barber shop, was filled with concerned citizens one day ahead of the special session. They spoke with leaders, such as Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney and Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran, about the legislation at hand.

One man, speaking directly to Mayor Stoney, brought up that he doesn’t think it’s a good idea to restrict weapons from parks or city buildings. Richmond’s city council approved an ordinance banning weapons from these areas, following shooting over Memorial Day Weekend that killed a 9-year-old girl. It would go into effect if state lawmakers approved legislation that gives localities the authority to decide where guns can be in public spaces.

“I would rather for my man that’s armed, concealed, to protect me,” he said.

On the other hand, Sheila Green Hall lost her son, Omar Green, last month in a shooting outside a Richmond shop. A debate around her family’s kitchen table is whether or not she should carry a weapon. Green Hall says two men robbed her at gunpoint while driving her taxi.

“Everybody is worrying about their rights but don’t take away our rights to either, to be able to live in America and not worry about getting your head blown off,” Green Hall said.

When it comes to the special session, Green Hall says lawmakers need to think about the purpose to why they’re being called.

“To think this is supposed to be common sense – common sense gun laws,” she explained. “Why is it not common sense to you?”

Another issue Green Hall sees might not be able to be addressed by lawmakers themselves, but instead around a kitchen table. She sees young people are having trouble dealing with their emotions and are pulling a trigger instead of talking with their problems. Community activists leading the barber shop talk say it doesn’t matter what party people belong to.

“We have to work across both sides of the aisle,” Clovia Lawrence, “Miss Community” of Radio One, said. “We don’t want more people to die on our streets because we can’t come to a conclusion in reference to what we should do.”

Many of the bills that will be discussed Tuesday have been brought up before in the Capitol, but never came to a full vote with all 140 lawmakers. This is also an election year, so all eyes are on Richmond to see where lawmakers officially stand on these pieces of legislation.

We are still learning details about how everything will happen during the special session. It will officially begin at noon Tuesday.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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