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Letter: Trying to Hijack the Debate

To the 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