Gun control was a big issue in Virginia’s November elections; a gunman killed 12 people in Virginia Beach in May. Gov. Northam called a special legislative meeting on gun control soon afterward, but Republicans, who then controlled both chambers, ended it in 90 minutes.
Northam proposed modest gun-control measures in the special session, and Democrats say they plan to introduce tighter background checks and ban the purchase of some types of guns when they take office in January. “Yet what is popular in Virginia’s fast-growing cities and suburbs, where well-educated and immigrant newcomers have settled, is anathema in rural areas,” The Economist reports.
“The problem is the people who have moved into the cities,” Gary Colvan told The Economist at a recent Augusta County meeting on a “sanctuary” proposal. He said city dwellers didn’t understand that guns aren’t just a cultural issue, but that rural Virginians may need to protect their families. “Out here a police officer can be half an hour away,” he told The Economist. He said mass shootings pained him but that armed citizens make for a safer country.