Citizens remain divided on gun measures ahead of special session

Local News

Citizens across the Commonwealth are divided when it comes to stricter gun laws.

Governor Ralph Northam is calling the gun violence in Virginia an emergency — scheduling a special session on the topic is scheduled for July 9.

However, some individuals says they don’t think laws for licensed gun owners are the answer for curbing gun violence.

E.L. McGuire attended an active shooter training seminar in Lynchburg Wednesday evening. It was not his first class.

He has taken active shooter trainings seriously after a member of his church received a threat on the church’s answering machine.

“When we’re there, we want to take care of the flock the best we can and still have a welcoming church,” McGuire said. “And that’s getting tougher and tougher to do.”

Despite the concern, McGuire says he feels safer knowing what to do in a wort-case scenario. He believes tighter gun restrictions will solve the issue.

“No, I don’t think [tighter gun control legislation] that has any bearing on it whatsoever. I mean, one gun is all it takes.”

Anna White was a first time student. In the end, she says it comes down to the person, not the policy.

“I would say I just think it’s really important to take personal responsibility,” White said.

Marko Galbreath, the course’s instructor, says the best way to win a fight is to avoid one in the first place and being aware of your surroundings. More laws won’t help future situations.

Galbreath argues armed trained professionals are still necessary sometimes.

“In Dallas – at the federal courthouse – just on Monday, we had good guys stop a bad guy who was on the attack,” Galbreath said.

A roundtable discussion on gun control was held in Abingdon, Va. Tuesday. Many of those who attended opposed Governor Northam’s call for gun control measures.

Attendees voiced their concerns on how the proposed bills would limit their ability to protect themselves. Others asked the state to focus on those with mental health and drugs issues — claiming those people should not have guns, not educated citizens.

“Clearly the majority of this room felt that we were trying to take their right to defend and their second amendment right away,” said Virginia Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran . “None of these pieces of legislation takes their right to defend themselves away.”

Northam’s administration scheduled six roundtables in the state of Virginia leading up to the special session on July 9.

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