Kaine, Legislators, Meet in Charlottesville to Address Gun Violence
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - People in central Virginia are discussing what can be done to prevent gun violence in the commonwealth. U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, state legislators, and advocates for change met on Monday morning for a roundtable.
The gun violence discussion comes on the heels of the deadly Virginia Beach shooting and Governor Northam's announcement of convening a special session of the General Assembly on July 9.
Elected officials, including Kaine, State Senator Creigh Deeds, Delegate David Toscano, and the Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security spent more than an hour hearing from concerned people at the Water Street Center. Primary concerns included allowing localities like Charlottesville to be able to place restrictions on guns, better mental health access, and restricting guns from municipal buildings.
"[Governor Northam's special session] gives us is an opportunity to show them you don't have to feel helpless," Senator Kaine said. "We will act to keep our communities safer and there are steps we can take that will work and are overwhelmingly popular."
Kaine says universal background checks are one of those popular ideas that gets bipartisan support.
"We don't have to do everything, we just need to do something and then success can build on success," Kaine said.
Burnley-Moran Elementary School teacher Carol Busching spoke up during the discussion to express her frustration.
"This could very likely happen here and we need to be ready and we don't know how to be really ready," said Burnley-Moran Elementary School teacher Carol Busching.
Busching shared how she keeps a filing cabinet by the classroom door to prevent an active shooter from barging in and how lawmakers should be part of school lockdown drills.
"There's no way an adult can be in that situation and not have their eyes open to just how important this is and how something needs to change with a real sense of urgency," Busching said. "It's just a question of how do we make them safe? How do we make sure everyone gets a voice?"
Attendees of the discussion seemed hopeful that change could happen during the July 9 special session. However, many questions remain about how Democrats can get any legislation out of subcommittees that are generally controlled by Republicans