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Letter: Trying to Hijack the Debate

To Editor:

The Great Falls Citizens Association’s planned debate on Oct. 8

with Delegate Barbara Comstock and Kathleen Murphy had to be

cancelled this week when four gun control groups threatened to

demonstrate “before and during” the debate and said they would

“demand” answers to particular gun issues. This debate had been

designed to answer questions that Great Falls citizens had submitted

beforehand. The GFCA debate team made clear that there would

have been a gun question, but that wasn’t good enough for these

single issue groups who wanted to hijack our debate and make it all

about their issue.

So let’s take one of the questions they “demand” to have an answer

on: the public disclosure of concealed carry permit holder information.

Like the newspapers in New York that disclosed all the names

and addresses of concealed carry permit holders last year, these

gun groups want to be able to publish and identify the names and

personal information of everyone who does and does not own a gun.

In other words, they would like robbers, burglars, as well as your

neighbors to know whether you have a gun.

Delegate Comstock’s challenger, Kathleen Murphy, in the only op-

ed she has written throughout the campaign, attacked Del. Barbara

Comstock for supporting the Virginia bill passed this year that

prohibits the clerk of the Circuit Court from disclosing the personal,

identifying information of handgun permit holders. The bill was not

at all controversial and sailed through both houses of the Virginia

General Assembly on a broad bi-partisan basis, passing 76-23 in the

House and 32-8 in the Senate.

Both Democrats and Republicans recognized that disclosing the

personal information of handgun permit holders is a horrible idea.

This bill was largely in response to the situation in New York where

a newspaper published the names of all permit holders. How did

this work out? Just ask the person in New York, whose house was

broken into after his address was disclosed and his two handguns (in

a safe) were stolen, his two permits taken and his house ransacked.

Ask policemen and judges, who routinely anger dangerous

criminals and fear for their safety. Ask women who have restraining

orders from violent stalkers or ex-spouses who feel the need for

protection. Moreover—and contrary to what Ms. Murphy and the

gun control groups have claimed—such information, if needed by

law enforcement, is readily available, with no need to release it to the

public. This common sense bill was widely supported by

Democrats in Northern Virginia, including Sens. Barbara Favola

(who represents Great Falls), Adam Ebbin, Dave Marsden and Chap

Petersen and Dels. David Bulova and Rob Krupicka. The bill was also

supported by Democratic lt. governor candidate Ralph Northam and

by the 2009 Democratic gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds (who

also happens to have an “A” rating from the NRA.) It should be noted

that Kathleen Murphy has supported all of these Democrats and

she did not attack our Senator Barbara Favola or any of these other

Democrats for having the same position on this bill so her cynicism

and hypocrisy, along with those groups supporting her who similarly

only attack Republicans, should be seen for what it is. This kind of

partisan posturing and ill-informed policy knowledge is rampant in

Washington, D.C. but we don’t need it in Richmond.

David J. Brown,

Great Falls