The weekend after the primary, Senator Obenshain and I had our first debate here in Virginia Beach. And during that debate we reveled some pretty stark differences between him and me:
Senator Obenshain would take a woman’s right to choose away. I would defend Virginia’s women’s right to make their own decisions.
Senator Obenshain would restrict access to common forms of contraception; I believe he has no place in any of those personal health decisions.
And Senator Obenshain voted against the landmark bipartisan Transportation bill, put together by the Governor and Democrats and Republicans in the General Assembly. Senator Obenshain joined Attorney General Cuccinellli and opposed it. I joined the Governor, Lt. Govenor Bolling, Democrats, and Republican legislators to support it.
This morning, because of our concern for public safety, I’d like to discuss another fundamental difference between Senator Obenshain and myself.
It’s revealing that this very weekend, in Blacksburg Virginia, the Virginia Citizens Defense League is holding an event just a few minutes from the location of the Virginia Tech gun massacre that claimed the lives of 33 students and faculty. It’s almost impossible to imagine the insensitivity and arrogance of this group, which prides itself on being more radical than the National Rifle Association. But there’s more. They’re going to hold a gun raffle. And not just any gun, but a Glock 19, the very same make and model of the gun used in the Virginia Tech shooting.
The members of this group wear stickers that say: guns save lives.
(Note by Lowell: Obenshain wears the same sticker – see photo above. More on the “flip”.)
They oppose universal background checks to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the dangerously mentally ill.
This group supports legislation that allows people to bring guns into bars.
They oppose every sensible gun law that both respects the rights of gun owners and helps protect the public from gun violence. In the Virginia they want, we’ll have more and more guns, and won’t be able to keep them out of the hands of criminals and the dangerously mentally ill.
My opponent, Senator Mark Obenshain, supports their positions. He opposes universal background checks and sponsored legislation to allow guns in bars.
Senator Obenshain is proud of his endorsement by the Virginia Citizens Defense League. He smiles while wearing his sticker saying “guns save lives.”
I believe that we can and must do something to keep guns out of the hands of people who are criminals or are too sick to be trusted with them. All of you in this room are entrusted with protecting Virginians from criminals; prosecuting those who break the law; punishing and removing the violent from our streets… and you do it very well.
We all support the legal right to bear arms. But we have to take measures, sensible measures that prevent some crimes from happening in the first place.
So there is a clear contrast, between Senator Obenshain and me. He stands with the gun auction in Blacksburg today, and I stand for saying enough is enough: we’ve got to keep guns out of the hands of the criminals and the dangerously mentally ill.