Supervisors Mark Gun Violence Awareness Day in Another Split Vote

Supervisors on Tuesday passed a resolution marking National Gun Violence Awareness Day on June 3, following what has become an annual debate on the county dais.

County Chair Phyllis J. Randall (D-At Large) first brought a resolution marking the day, which was first recognized in 2015, the previous board in 2016. After backlash from Republicans, she attempted to avoid a political battle removing reference to The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence and the Loudoun County Chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, but the Republican majority on the board at the time stopped it nonetheless—preventing even discussing the resolution with an unusual motion to table the resolution indefinitely.

But the observance returned to the county boardroom with the new Democratic majority, passing resolutions in 2020 and 2021, and now with another split vote this year.

This year’s debate was overshadowed by the most recent headline-grabbing mass shooting of 13 Black people in a grocery store in Buffalo, NY on May 14 by a teenaged white supremacist, armed with a modified civilian version of the military AR-15. It was also the first day of the trial of the man accused of shooting a sheriff’s deputy and two loss prevention employees in a Sterling Walmart, hospitalizing the deputy for 42 days and multiple surgeries.

Supervisor Juli E. Briskman (D-Algonkian) said she was “really sad and disappointed that one of our colleagues decided to be petty and pull this item off of consent,” a package of non-contested items that the board passes at the same time typically by unanimous consent. She cited the much higher rate of gun death and homicide in the U.S., as well as polls showing broad support among Americans for measures like background checks and an assault weapons ban.

The resolution’s two opponents, Supervisors Tony R. Buffington (R-Blue Ridge) and Caleb E. Kershner (R-Catoctin), argued the resolution was really a step toward more gun control.

“I’ve never seen a gun load itself, pick itself up, point itself at anything and shoot itself. Humans do that for guns,” Buffington said. “They use guns and they do that. Humans are violent. You change this to Human Violence Awareness Month. I’m happy to agree with it and sign on to it.”

“Guns are not really the problem. Evil is the problem. Evil is with us constantly in this world and will continue to be constantly,” Kershner said.

“To use an analogy, we could suggest that, you know, cars killed millions of—thousands, hundreds of thousands of people every year. A car has never once started itself and run over somebody, or gone out on the road and driven recklessly or driven while under the influence. No, it’s people who have made unwise, wrong or evil decisions,” he added.

Randall said she agreed with the car analogy.

“So how about we treat guns like we treat cars?” she said. “Let’s register them. If you’re going to operate—have a gun, let’s license you.  If you’re going to sell your car from one person to another like you sell your gun from a person to another, let’s put that in the books. If we’re going to make that example of cars and guns, let’s treat guns like we treat cars. Why not?”

She also disagreed that “evil” was the problem.

“Is the assumption Americans are more evil than anybody else in the world? Because we certainly have a lot more gun violence than anybody else,” she said.

She said the difference in America is the prevalence of gun ownership.

“We’re not inherently bad in this country. We don’t have more people with mental health issues in this country—and by the way, mental health issues are not the reason this happens. None of that’s true. But what’s true in America is, people are dying from guns at a much higher rate than anything else. So if you take everything else and assume everything else is even, we assume we’re not more evil…. the only variable is the guns, then you know what, the problem is the guns,” she said.

Supervisor Sylvia R. Glass (D-Ashburn) said she had recently spoken to a friend from Buffalo, whose grandmother and sister live two blocks from the grocery store site of the shooting and who shop there frequently. She said her friend is heartbroken, and she is devastated for the people who lost friends in the shooting.

“I don’t know them personally, but I just can’t imagine losing a husband, or your grandmother, or someone from your church who you looked up to. And the comments that I’ve heard, I’m sure those would not be said to those families,” she said.

Supervisor Matthew F. Letourneau (R-Dulles) once again abstained on the resolution, as he has in years past. But, he said, he didn’t want to abstain without acknowledging the sentiment.

“I do completely stand against gun violence, as we all should. I question the efficacy of the Board of Supervisors passing a piece of paper and acting like we’ve actually done anything, and that’s what we do here,” Letourneau said.

The resolution passed 6-2-1, with Buffington and Kershner opposed and Letourneau abstaining.

17 thoughts on “Supervisors Mark Gun Violence Awareness Day in Another Split Vote

  • 2022-05-19 at 5:02 pm
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    Traditionally, I always thought the main point of the 2A was to have a well defended population to ensure no foreign invader every took over the USA. We have evidence of that from WWII where records showed the Japanese did not want to invade the mainland because Americans were too heavily armed.

    But, having watched the federal/state/local governments go off the rails during the pandemic, I now think the main point is to ensure Americans can fight off a tyrannical government. The biggest threats to my freedom can be found on Harrison Street, Richmond, and D.C. That’s sad, but true.

    PS The article is incorrect. While 13 people were shot, 11 were black and 2 were white.

  • 2022-05-19 at 5:17 pm
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    “But what’s true in America is, people are dying from guns at a much higher rate than anything else.”

    Ummm, Who wants to tell her?

  • 2022-05-19 at 5:49 pm
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    No one expects gun violence to magically end due to passage of Tuesday’s resolution. But it’s a step in the right direction. We can’t sit back & do nothing. Mass murders have occurred in a beauty shop, night club, student nurses’ dorm, synagogue, movie theater, supermarket, LA Fitness center, elementary school & outdoor music festival. I hope all Loudouners will observe National Gun Violence Awareness Day on June 3.

    • 2022-05-22 at 10:40 am
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      Well, apparently you do… because if anything this resolution is a step in the absolute wrong direction. If you look at any of these mass murders, the one thing they have in common is that they occurred in so-called “Gun-free Zones.” They never seem to occur in places where people are or could be armed with some kind of firearm. “Gun-free Zones” do not make us safer… they hurt us because they force people to be sitting ducks. This is yet another of the big lies perpetrated by the Democratic Party. The reality is, the average gun owner is far more of a law-abiding citizen than average. In order to own, never mind carry, the person has extra restrictions placed on him or her. Go look it up in the laws… both at the federal and state levels. What are Democrats afraid of? Ultimately I think they want the restrictions because they are afraid of what they might do… not what everyone else might do.

      Now, if you want to show me a gun that will pick itself up off the table, load itself, aim and fire with absolutely no human intervention of any kind, I will then show you a gun that needs to be banned.

  • 2022-05-19 at 6:10 pm
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    I am glad there are two supervisors that have some common sense. The BOS has tried to drag Loudoun into the gun fray for years, we really do not have those problems and if the Commonwealth Attorney would prosecute the people that break laws and not cut deals and let them go we would be in a much better place. There are thousands of gun laws on the books and ATF fails to enforce those, adding more laws is not the solution, put the bad people in Jail. Buta touting that she has 50% less population in the jail when crime is rising is not a good scenario.

  • 2022-05-19 at 6:25 pm
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    Blade violence represents the single biggest threat of violence in Loudoun.
    And yet there is total and absolute silence from the virtue-signaling Left.

  • 2022-05-19 at 6:38 pm
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    What a waste of time. This means nothing. Does the BOS think the criminals that illegally have guns are going to take a day off. We already have gun registration and permits to carry a concealed handgun for law abiding citizens so they can protect themselves from mostly repeat offenders that liberal justice keeps turning loose.

  • 2022-05-19 at 11:03 pm
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    I hate the car analogy as it’s stupid for the reasons Randall states. In addition, owning a car isn’t a right it’s a privilege. So the 2 are not in the same category.

    I have 2 weapons, one in my house and usually one on my person. Both are register and the one on my person is legally concealed. I don’t understand why people open carry and claim it’s for protection. If the criminal knows you’re carrying they’ll shoot you first. Me, I’ll wait for my opportunity to draw from surprise and hopefully get the upper hand. Either way, if attacked someone is going to get seriously hurt. As for Briskman she can draw her middle finger at the armed criminal and we’ll see her in the paper again.

  • 2022-05-20 at 8:07 am
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    So Buffington and Kershner stick to their pro-death stance. No surprise, these ideologues can’t think of a reason everyone shouldn’t have simple access to assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. The NRA death cult will be pleased to see they’re doing the heavy lifting for them here in Loudoun.

    • 2022-05-20 at 1:28 pm
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      Please tell the class about Loudoun’s intentional death statistics by weapon type?

      Go ahead, we’ll wait…

  • 2022-05-20 at 1:25 pm
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    Gun control laws. Illinois has some of the most stringent gun laws in the country. You can read how well that works in Chicago.

  • 2022-05-20 at 3:42 pm
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    Until the infantile gun lovers and the less than intelligent “right” ignoring any sort of gun control, because of their ridiculous rant about their Second Amendments, this out of control gun killing will only continue. Another shooting outside a Chicago McDonalds’s today; it won’t end until the NRA and people who prefer to look the other way or admit that the Second Amendment had nothing to do with AR15’s etc. The Second Amendment as written was about flintlock rifles, pistols etc. Not semi-automatic weapons of mass killing. The “right” and their childish view that they would not even agree to closing gun show loopholes, doing some sort of background checks is abominable. The GOP and their lackies have the blood of every death and injury on their hands. There is a gun shop in Lovettsville that often has disparaging signs out front that only serve to illustrate his lack of compassion and what it means to be an American. He is an embarrassment to Loudoun County. The right will never be viewed as being pro-American as long as they push guns as the only way to be. Sad commentary.

    • 2022-05-21 at 11:42 am
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      Sedona brings up Chicago… Educate yourself Sedona on what the real issue is in a once great American City. Start with the Cook County DA. Check out her prosecution rate on gun crimes.

      I know you won’t, because you get off on vitriol, more than actually solving a problem.

  • 2022-05-20 at 5:55 pm
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    Ah the ignorance comes out on this issue. The facts are the cities and states that have strict gun laws have greater violence, for instance Buffalo, New York. Second, if the government would support the gun laws on the books we wouldn’t need this. Third, a Virginia Concealed Carry Permit does not allow you to carry in schools, places of worship and government buildings. Most of the gun violence occurs in these three places. I have owned guns for 40 years and never committed a crime so why treat me like a criminal?

  • 2022-05-21 at 10:29 am
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    Guns are not the problem. Mental Health is the issue, funding was cut years ago and the mental health system has never recovered. What are we doing about drugs? Newsflash, an AR 15 is NOT an assault rifle. It stands for ArmaLite Rifle and are NOT assault weapons or assault rifles. An assault rifle is fully automatic, a machine gun. Automatic firearms have been severely restricted from civilian ownership since 1934.

    Someone referring to an AR-15-style rifle an assault weapon has been duped by a political or media agenda. Only

    The only real way to define what is an assault weapon is politically, as in how a Federal or State law chooses to define them.

  • 2022-05-21 at 11:20 am
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    The Chair of the BOS analogy is spectacular. A specifically listed right is not a right unless it is registered. While a privilege specifically not listed is a right. Using her logic let’s register all “rights” not specifically listed.

  • 2022-05-29 at 4:01 pm
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    Still waiting for a journalist to ask the question: If the door required equipment to break down did you at least try to look through one of the four windows of each classroom to ascertain the actual status? If not why not????????????????????

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