‘The weapon is part of the violence’
On Aug. 11, I attended the Senior Statesmen of Virginia’s Candidate Forum in Charlottesville featuring the two primary candidates for the 5th Congressional District seat, Tom Garrett (R) and Jane Dittmar (D). The podcast of this event can be found at the Senior Statesmen website, seniorstatesmen.org.
Below are excerpts from the candidates’ responses to a question concerning gun violence and the second amendment:
Garrett: “When … you learn that long guns, for example, what some people would brand ‘assault weapons,’ I think you’re four times more likely to be killed with a knife. You’re twice as likely to be killed by hands or feet. Time and a half more likely to be bludgeoned than to be killed by these weapons so, ultimately the problem I don’t think is guns. The problem is violence … So, until we can crack down on knife murder and bludgeoning murder and hands and feet murder, I don’t think vilifying an object, an inanimate object, is necessarily the solution . . .”
Dittmar: “To protect the
second amendment, we’ve got to do something and we need to do it in this next Congress. We need to have universal background checks. We need to make sure that people who shouldn’t own guns are not allowed to buy them. Now, there are a lot of guns out there. There is a gun for every person in America. So, it’s not as if we are going to be going out and getting those guns, but, in the future, we do not want to sell to people who have certain types of mental illness, a proclivity towards violence, particularly under protective orders, and anybody who we’ve identified as a terrorist. “
On June 12, Omar Mateen carried an assault-style rifle Sig Sauer MCX into the packed Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, and started shooting, killing 49 people and wounding at least 53 others.
Mr. Garrett obviously does not understand that the weapon is part of the violence. Such a brutal massacre would not have occurred if Mateen’s weapons had been limited to a knife, hands and/or feet.
JEANNINE “JJ” TOWLER