We must do more


6/7/2019, 6 a.m. | Updated on 6/10/2019, 11:02 a.m.
What does it take to tighten gun laws in Virginia? How many people have to die before the Virginia General ...

Until he leaves office, Gov. Northam will have to bear the scrutiny of Virginians questioning his motives in light of his past. But while he remains in office, we believe he is taking needed critical steps to move Virginia forward, particularly when it comes to gun violence.

The vigils and memorials for Markiya Dickson and the victims in Virginia Beach cannot bring back the dead. But they can help change the hearts and minds of the unmoved and hopefully spur the legislature to action.

It has been 12 years since the mass shooting at Virginia Tech in which a gunman killed 33. More than 1,000 Virginians perished from gun violence in 2017. Virginia communities logged 391 homicides in 2018, with 18 of them occurring in Virginia Beach. Richmond has had 25 homicides so far this year, including many by gun violence. The slaughter on college campuses, at municipal centers, schools and movie theaters and on the streets and playgrounds of our communities should not become our new normal.

On Monday, nearly 100 people stood outside the Williamsburg office of Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment holding signs demanding tougher gun laws. Sen. Norment, a Republican, has helped the GOP sandbag gun control efforts led by Democrats.

Many in the crowd were women and members of Moms Demand Action, a group seeking “gun sense in America.” Jeanette Richardson, who saw her son die in the street in Newport News about 15 years ago, was with the protesters, many of whom also have lost loved ones to gun violence.

“I’m asking for (Sen. Norment) to hear the voices of these people who are locked into a perpetual scream for the rest of their life,” she told The Virginia Gazette. “When you lose someone to this type of random violence, there’s never going to be peace of mind.”

She said while she knows Sen. Norment has never listened before, “I just want him to hear and feel — this is a life sentence for this community.”

It’s long past time for our state lawmakers to take action.