(Great to see Sen. McEachin posting here, welcome to a great progressive Democrat! – promoted by lowkell)
A bill that I introduced this year, which outlawed open carry of guns while drinking alcohol, failed in committee yesterday. Last year, this bill garnered unanimous support on the Senate floor. This year, Republicans hypocritically voted it down in committee.
I am outraged at the hypocrisy of my Republican colleagues. Last year, this bill passed the Senate with a 40 to nothing vote. Last year, we could come to the common sense agreement that guns and alcohol don’t mix. Last year, we put the safety of Virginians ahead of a powerful gun lobby and political ambitions.
This year, apparently all that has changed. Virginians still recognize that guns and alcohol don’t mix. It is still illegal to imbibe alcohol while carrying a gun with a concealed carry permit . It is still ridiculous that, somehow, it makes more sense to drink while carrying a gun openly. The only thing that has changed is Republican control and Republican partisan politics overcoming common sense and prioritizing the safety of Virginians.
This is not about the Second Amendment. This is not about trying to reduce or eliminate or in any way harm gun ownership. This is very simple. This is about keeping guns and intoxicated individuals apart. This is about reducing potentially fatal accidents or alcohol fueled crimes.
The NRA agrees that guns and alcohol don’t mix. Their own safety rule number five says to never drink alcohol while carrying a gun. All that this bill was trying to do was codify an NRA directive.
Something is very wrong here when a bill that had unanimous support, a bill that reflects NRA thinking is suddenly opposed by the very same people who supported it last year. It is terribly disappointing that my colleagues would not put Virginians and their safety first, even as they have done in the past.
Senator McEachin represents Henrico County in the Virginia State Senate, and chairs the Senate Democratic Caucus.