Home 2013 races Mark Obenshain Has Consistently Opposed Background Checks on Gun Buyers

Mark Obenshain Has Consistently Opposed Background Checks on Gun Buyers


From the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence:

Richmond, VA—During an off-year election in Virginia in which the governor's race has captured the overwhelming majority of media attention, the radical gun record of Republican Attorney General candidate Mark Obenshain has slipped largely under the radar. In truth, Mark Obenshain's votes and prounouncements on the gun issue are every bit as extreme and disturbing as those of gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli.

Obenshain has represented the 26th District (Shenandoah Valley) in the Virginia Senate since 2004. In the decade since,he has voted against expanding background checks for gun buyers a startling 12 times. Several of these votes were cast after the horrific mass shooting at Virginia Tech in 2007, in which 32 people were killed and 24 wounded.

A January 2013 Quinnipiac poll found that 92% of Virginians supported requiring background checks on all sales of firearms at gun shows, a reform that Obenshain has opposed repeatedly.

While making it clear that he will not support any new measures to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous individuals, Obenshain has also deliberately misrepresented Virginia law. At a June 15th debate with Democratic candidate Mark Herring, Obenshain claimed, “I wouldn’t be able to give my hunting rifle to my son without a background check.” As Obenshain is well aware, private sellers making such transfers of firearms in Virginia are not required to conduct a background check or maintain any record of sale.

Obenshain has also bragged about the endorsement he received from the radical pro-gun group Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL), saying he was “proud” to have their support. VCDL made headlines in August when they raffled off a Glock 19 handgun—the same weapon used in the Virginia Tech massacre—at a event in Blacksburg, just minutes away from the VT campus.

“As a survivor of gun violence, it is offensive to see Mark Obenshain campaign in the Commonwealth wearing a 'Guns Save Lives' sticker,” said Lori Haas, a Virginia State Director for CSGV whose daughter Emily was shot and wounded at Virginia Tech. “His attempts to portray himself as a moderate couldn't be more disingenuous, and Virginia voters will see through this farce when they go to the polls on November 5th.” 

  • This fascinating graphic by VPAP demonstrates how badly both Dems and Teapublicans want to win the Virginia AG’s office. Why is that? Perhaps because it’s got a huge amount of power over literally EVERYTHING that goes on this state? Yeah, that. 🙂

  • From the Mark Herring for AG campaign:


    Herring, Maddow discuss Obenshain’s record of telling women what they can and cannot do with their bodies

    Last night, Democratic candidate for Attorney General Mark Herring appeared on The Rachel Maddow show to discuss the Attorney General race in Virginia. Both Herring and Maddow focused on Mark Obenshain’s abysmal record on women’s health issues.

    Watch the video here.

    “Ken Cuccinelli has used the Attorney General’s office as a platform to launch ideological crusades, launching the attack on women’s rights,” Herring said. “My opponent, Senator Obenshain, would be a continuation of that.”

    “With Ken Cuccinelli doing as badly as he is in the polls, it’s not surprising to see the campaign against Mark Obenshain trying to tie him to Ken Cuccinelli. That said, it’s not that hard to do,” Maddow said during the segment.

    Maddow noted Obenshain and Cuccinelli’s shared extremism on women’s health issues, drawing attention to Obenshain’s SB 962, a 2009 bill that would have required women to report miscarriages to the police. Under that bill, she said, “a miscarriage not reported immediately to law enforcement could put a Virginia woman in jail for a year. The state senator who introduced that bill … is the guy who’s now running as the Republican candidate for Attorney General in the state of Virginia.”