It hasn’t taken long for anti-gun Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam to start talking about new gun control in the wake of Friday’s shooting in Virginia Beach that took a dozen lives, in which the identified killer reportedly used legally-purchased .45-caliber handguns.
Northam ran in 2017 on a platform that included gun control, Chapelboro.com recalled. He wanted more gun laws adopted by the General Assembly, but the Republican-controlled assembly blocked the legislation. He reportedly hinted over the weekend at “executive action” on guns, but did not elaborate.
Identified as DeWayne Craddock, a public employee with a 15-year record with the Virginia Beach Department of Utilities, the killer left no known motive for his rampage. He died after exchanging gunfire with responding police officers.
Authorities say Craddock bought one of the handguns in 2016 and the other last year. He reportedly had some extended capacity magazines. One of the pistols was fitted with a suppressor, and there are already indications from the media that this will become a talking point.
According to CNN, “While investigators search for answers, Mayor Bobby Dyer has tried to quell both sides of the gun control debate. He said he wanted to avert a ‘knee-jerk reaction’ and the ‘bipartisan bureaucratic malpractice.’”
“There’s a lack of civility,” Dyer reportedly observed. “There’s a lack of mutual respect. There’s a lack of willingness to understand each other.”
Was Northam listening? In a statement on CNN, the governor said, “We lost 12 lives…If you look at the commonwealth of Virginia, we lost over 900 lives over the past two years to gun violence, gun-related accidents. So I will make decisions in the upcoming days but we need to look at our laws: are they safe, do they keep people protected in the Commonwealth of Virginia?”
The question now is what proposals Northam might offer that could have prevented the Friday attack, and others that might be on the horizon? Since Craddock legally purchased the two guns recovered by investigators at the scene long before he showed up and opened fire, he had to have passed background checks. This may not have been a spur-of-the-moment act.
CNN also reported that when Northam offered his legislative package, he called it “gun violence reforms.” Rights activists call that “camo-speak,” because it masks what is really gun control.
Investigators still haven’t figured out a motive. USA Today reported that Craddock, who was a public works employee in Virginia Beach, submitted his two-weeks-notice on Friday, not long before the shooting began. The newspaper quoted City Manager Dave Hansen, who described Craddock’s job performance as “satisfactory.” He apparently did not face any disciplinary actions at the time he submitted his notice, which seems to contradict a story that appeared in the New York Post.
Already, gun prohibition lobbying groups have been busy, sending out email messages in an effort to capitalize on the tragedy.
This weekend, anti-gun billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety will kick off Wear Orange Week end as part of its National Gun Violence Awareness Day activities.