Letter: Erica Garman, Ashburn

The Loudoun Board of Supervisors recently considered endorsing a red flag law for Virginia.

Red flag laws, sometimes referred to as extreme risk protection orders, allow concerned family members or law enforcement to petition a court to temporarily remove firearms from an at-risk individual. Following adequate due process, a person deemed a danger to himself or others may be temporarily prohibited from purchasing or possessing a gun. 

The Board is now in the process of gathering more information on proposed red flag laws to determine if they will vote to throw their support behind such legislation in the 2020 Virginia General Assembly.

Board chair Phyllis Randall has been an outspoken advocate for red flag legislation. Loudoun constituents who want sensible changes to our current gun laws want to see her re-elected, and welcome other gunsense candidates vying to join the Board.

One person dies by suicide, on average, every seven hours in Virginia according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. It’s the second leading cause of death in the state among 15-34 year olds. According to the CDC, death by firearm is the most common method of suicide.

Utilizing data from the Virginia Violent Death Reporting System, Loudoun Moms Demand Action discovered that:

  • In Loudoun, 296 people died by suicide from 2007 to 2016
  • In Loudoun, 142 people used a firearm to die by suicide over a decade
  • In Loudoun, on average, someone dies by suicide with a gun every 26 days

If a loved one is contemplating suicide, experts advise to stay with the person and encourage him or her to seek professional help. Ensuring that he or she doesn’t have access to a firearm is another common-sense way to avoid tragedy.

Seventeen states have now adopted red flag laws, and those which have had them the longest, like Indiana and Connecticut, have seen a significant decrease in firearm suicides. From 2005-2015, Indiana saw a 7.5 percent decrease in firearm suicides since its red flag law went into effect. Connecticut has seen a 13.7 percent decrease in such deaths.

Please contact your local board and state representatives and let them know you would like to see a red flag law enacted in the Commonwealth. 

Better yet, vote for the commonsense gun reform candidates on your ballot Tuesday, November 5 and re-elect Phyllis Randall as chair of the Board of Supervisors.

Erica Garman, Ashburn

3 thoughts on “Letter: Erica Garman, Ashburn

  • 2019-10-23 at 8:30 am

    “Board chair Phyllis Randall has been an outspoken advocate for red flag legislation. ”

    Then Chair Randall is an outspoken advocate of stripping Virginians of their Due Process protections and civil rights.

    Randall doesn’t care about actual people. Instead, she cares about advancing her party’s political agenda to suppress the freedoms of The People. Randall has already been jacked up once by a federal judge for denying the First Amendment right of free speech of a Loudoun county taxpayer. What evidence is there she’s capable of grasping any other civil right?

  • 2019-10-23 at 12:52 pm

    If you want to prevent suicides, then come up with a plan to address mental health through education. Or, how about social workers who can be requested to assist/support families with a member suffering from mental health. Im with Chris on this. “Red Flags” is signaling an infringement on people’s property/due process rights. You can’t take people’s property without probable cause that crime has or will be committed. With all ideas that involve government enforcement, your heart might be in the right place, but your ideas end up causing harm to others. So, stop pretending you know what is best for everyone, and allow Loudoun residents to make their own decisions.

  • 2019-10-25 at 10:10 am

    “Common sense gun legislation” is a favorite phrase of the Left as they continue in their attempts to chip away at our 2nd Amendment rights.

    The so-called Red Flag Laws, however, not only infringe on our 2nd Amendment rights, they infringe on our 4th Amendment rights as well. As noted by Chris above, such laws strip a person of their right to due process. What’s to keep an anti-gun family member, neighbor, or co-worker from reporting someone to the police simply because they themselves don’t like guns, or simply because they don’t like the other person?

    Mental health is a real concern in this country, and there is definitely a lot more we need to do as a society to address the problem of suicide. Let’s not try to solve one problem by creating another.

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