To the Editor:
In her recent Patch blog post, Kathleen Murphy chastised Del. Barbara Comstock for supporting a bill that prohibits the clerk of the Circuit Court from disclosing the personal, identifying information of handgun permit holders. But the bill sailed through both houses on a broad bi-partisan basis, passing 76-23 in the House and 32-8 in the Senate. It was widely supported by Democrats in Northern Virginia, including Sens. Barbara Favola, Adam Ebbin, Dave Marsden and Chap Petersen and Dels. David Bulova and Rob Krupicka. Other Democrats who supported it include Luke Torian, Onzlee Ware, Lynwood Lewis, Algie Howell, Joe Johnson, Jeoin Ward and Johnny Joannou. Ralph Northam, who is running for the Democrat nomination for lieutenant governor, voted for the bill, as did the Democrat gubernatorial candidate in 2009, Creigh Deeds. It is clear that not only is Kathleen Murphy out of step with mainstream Virginia, she is to the left of some of the most liberal Democrats in Northern Virginia!
Disclosing the personal information of handgun permit holders is a horrible idea, as representatives of both parties recognized. Just ask the person in New York, whose house was broken into after his address was disclosed and his two handguns (in a safe) were stolen, his two permits taken and his house ransacked. Ask policemen and judges, who routinely anger dangerous criminals and fear for their safety. Moreover, if such information is needed by law enforcement, it is readily available, with no need to release it to the public.
If Ms. Murphy is concerned about the deaths of innocents, why doesn’t she address mental health issues and the grotesque culture of violence promulgated by Hollywood and glorified by the media? A 41-page report, “Youth Violence: What We Need to Know,” includes studies by an advisory committee to the National Science Foundation (NSF) that show that exposure to violent media is a significant risk factor in shootings and also "one of the easiest risk factors to change.” The report also finds that shooters are generally "at the early onset of severe mental illness," or are in its full thrust, and often go undetected or untreated.
Del. Comstock co-patroned HB 1609 that expands mental health treatment for students in higher education institutions and improves coordination among schools, mental health facilities and hospitals. The bill passed overwhelmingly, 99 -0 in the House and 40-0 in the Senate. This is the kind of leadership needed in the General Assembly, not the demagoguery offered by Ms. Murphy.
Anne C. Gruner