Dueling factions of the ever-contentious Second Amendment debate squared off in Richmond on Monday at the annual Lobby Day in the Virginia State Capital. One side featured the Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL), a pro-Second Amendment organization, and another the Virginia Center for Public Safety (VACPS), a group that seeks to reduce gun violence.
“We are out here fighting for a right that needs to be defended,” said Cam Edwards, a VCDL speaker from Farmville.
Among the gun control measures the VCDL are opposing include an assault weapons ban and another to restrict where concealed carry holders are permitted to carry their weapons.
“We are fighting for our fellow Virginians who want to be safe, who want to protect their families, who will not, will not, give up their right to keep and bear arms to do so,” Edwards said.
On the other side of the gun control debate, Elizabeth Paul, a University of Virginia student, spoke on behalf of VACPS and encouraged state representatives to act following an on-campus shooting at UVA that killed three people in 2022.
“We ask lawmakers to say enough is enough and pass these commonsense, life-saving bills,” Paul said, who spoke at the VACPS rally,” Paul said.”Just last year my friends and I were huddled in the library for just over 14 hours,” Paul said to a group gathered at the Bell Tower. “We didn’t know where the active shooter on our campus was. We didn’t know if our friends were safe. We didn’t know if we would make it through the night,” Paul said.
Any movement one way or the other on the gun control issue in Virginia would entail support from both parties, with the Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin likely to veto any legislation brought forth by the Democrats who control both chambers in the Virginia General Assembly.
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