Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Surovell’s Farmers Market Rhetoric: Divisive and Inflammatory

Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Surovell’s Farmers Market Rhetoric: Divisive and Inflammatory

Sen. Scott Surovell’s (D-36) latest anti-gun rant was over the top. (Opinion, Assault Weapons at Farmers Markets? Mount Vernon Gazette, 09.12.19, page 11)

I’ve met Mr. Surovell and for the most part he seems to be an intelligent and conscientious representative who is concerned and thoughtful. However, his recent invective against four citizens of the Commonwealth acting within the law is a striking example of how far we as a nation have drifted from civility.

I totally agree with Mr. Surovell that “the current President has lowered the bar for socially acceptable political conduct.” Unfortunately, Mr. Surovell’s histrionics stoop to the same low.

There is no excuse for vilifying people acting within the law — no matter how forcefully Mr. Surovell may disagree with them or the law. The senator need look no further than his own rhetoric to find a low bar of political conduct.

Given recent tragedies, showing up at a farmers market with rifles of any kind was not smart. Neither was describing these firearms as “Assault Rifles.” Nor was characterizing a legal action you don’t agree with as “outrageous,” “extremely dangerous,” fostered by a “small minority” intent to “threaten, intimidate, and terrorize” a community.

Mr. Surovell, who I believe is a lawyer by training, needs a lesson in firearm rights. Firearm rights have nothing to do with “terrorism, bullying, or intimidation.” Firearm rights are, in fact, guaranteed under both the constitutions of Virginia (Art. I, § 13) and the United States (U.S. Const. amend. II).

Apparently Mr. Surovell is not interested in bridging the huge gap between those who believe the Second Amendment is a right and those who wish to see this right ended. His mind is closed. Our state senator’s parting advice to those he disagreed with was: “Go home and stay away.”

That advice solves nothing. A legislative leader should not respond to conflicting views with inflammatory rhetoric. We have enough of that at much higher levels.

Guy Philbin

Fairfax County Resident