Gun politics are all about gun sales

January 21, 2019 5:10 am

Let’s picture your child on the first day of classes next September. Now, let’s picture your child’s teacher.

We’ll call her Ms. Becker, because it sounds like a good name for a teacher and because that was my high school homeroom teacher’s name.

Now, picture Ms. Becker packing heat, say a 9 mm Glock. She’ll be wearing it in a holster strapped around her hips.

She could, theoretically, have it stashed in her handbag, but that would defeat the purpose of a teacher bringing a gun to school. It would be difficult to get the weapon out and use in defense of the children, should an evil person with a gun of his own burst into the room intent of doing harm.

In that case, Ms. Becker would be overcome before she could get the gun out of her purse.

Same problem if she put it in her desk drawer with the latest SOL crib sheets.

Nope, to be effective, Ms. Becker would be wearing the gun in a holster, no doubt about it. Picture, for example, Sen. Amanda Chase, R-Chesterfield, who lately has been parading around the Virginia General Assembly packing a handgun on her hip. Or think Sharon Stone in The Quick and the Dead, though it’s hard to picture Ms. Becker looking like Sharon Stone.

So, Ms. Becker walks in, stands at the front of the classroom, and says, as teachers have said everywhere since the beginning of education: “Good morning students.”

“My name is Ms. Becker.” Then she draws her Glock and adds, “Say hello to my little friend.”

This notion that it would be a good idea to arm school teachers keeps popping up around the country. Recently, the Lee County School Board voted to allow teachers to carry guns. Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring has said they can’t do that because it’s against the law.

But setting the law aside, is this really practical? How would it work?

Surely the school board has considered the unintended (one hopes) consequences of having teachers walking around schools carrying guns. The teachers are the source of learning, and students look up to their teachers and emulate them almost as much as they do their parents.

So what are the children learning from their teachers?

We don’t know all of the consequences that might arise from arming teachers. But we do know a couple: there will be more gun sales as the teachers take up arms; and there will be more gun sales as the students grow up and follow the example of their teachers.

Meanwhile, back at the Virginia General Assembly, Sen. Dick Black, R-Loudoun, has introduced legislation that would allow guns into places of worship during services.

Again, let’s picture your pastor, or priest, or rabbi, or imam up in the pulpit with a chunky .44 Magnum, which is, as we know, what Dirty Harry called “the most powerful handgun in the world.

How would this work? Would he put the thing down in front of him where all his worshipers could keep an eye on it? Would it be in a holster?

He couldn’t wear it under his cassock, if he was that variety of preacher, because that would cause untold fumbling around if he needed to pull it out to protect his flock.

Maybe he could duct tape a holster to the side of the pulpit.

It should be pointed out that Black’s legislation doesn’t limit this new right to bear arms to preachers.

Rather, everyone in the place could be packing heat. Now there’s a good idea.

And, by the way, preachers enjoy a social standing similar to teachers. People, especially children, look up to them and often seek to emulate them.

Another win for the gun industry.

So goes the gun debate. Every year the Virginia General Assembly is presented with a list of gun bills. One side proposes laws that would restrict or eliminate the need for guns; the other side would expand excuses for more guns.

Among the restrictions that was up this year was a revival of the one-gun-a-month law, which is dear to my heart. Back in 1992, when I was on the special projects team at the Richmond Times-Dispatch, we wrote a series of stories that exposed how people were able to buy literally trunks full of guns that were then resold for big profits on the streets of New York and Washington and other cities. Virginia was fueling the spiking murder rates around the country.

The one-gun-a-month law was passed. Murder rates declined, but the law was repealed in 2012. It should be brought back. There’s no reason on earth a person should need to buy more than one new gun a month.

The restrict-guns crowd — let’s call them Democrats — proposed legislation that would ban assault weapons, require owners to report lost or stolen guns to the police and would make it a felony to leave loaded guns around children. They also proposed a number of laws that fall under the broad category of closing the so-called gun show loophole. They would have required a background check before any gun sale, not only for sales from licensed dealers.

Another piece of legislation would have banned undetectable firearms — guns made with 3D printers, for example.

Many of the Democratic proposals have already been defeated by Republicans in committees or subcommittees.

The more-guns crowd — let’s call them the National Rifle Association or the Virginia Citizens Defense League — would make it easier for firefighters and EMTs to carry concealed weapons into schools; would approve Black’s proposed guns-at-worship bill; and would make it easier to sell service weapons to auxiliary police officers.

Their laws would increase the number of guns floating around in society.

And then there’s my personal favorite: a bill that would allow property owners to shoot nuisance animals from inside a vehicle. State code defines nuisance species as “blackbirds, coyotes, crows, cowbirds, feral swine, grackles, English sparrows, starlings or those species designated as such by regulations.”


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Gordon Hickey
Gordon Hickey

Gordon Hickey is a lifelong reporter and editor who worked for more than 20 years at The Richmond News Leader and Richmond Times-Dispatch covering law enforcement, courts, and politics. He also served as Gov. Tim Kaine's press secretary and most recently was director of communications at the Virginia State Bar.