Things to Do - WHATEVER IT TAKES (and the fight for common sense gun laws)


One morning, during our vacation at Smith Mountain Lake, my sister in law went to the grocery store. Or at least tried to go to the grocery store. She came home letting us know that "town" (if a small shopping center even constitutes a town) was shut down due to a shooting. Um, what? Let's remember, Smith Mountain Lake is in the middle of farm country and we were there off season, we aren't talking about a "busy" place. Within the next hour, the internet was abuzz with reports that two local newscasters had been shot and killed during a live broadcast. And the killer was still at large. The kids were scared and wanted to lock all the doors. And despite being uneasy ourselves, we told them not to panic. And we meant it.

Because the thing I've realized is that dangerous people with guns are a big problem. And, lately, they seem to be everywhere. Panic isn't the answer. Do you know what is the answer? LAWS THAT ATTEMPT TO KEEP GUNS AWAY FROM DANGEROUS PEOPLE! Granted, you can't always stop pointless acts of violence, but better gun laws could stop SOME pointless acts of violence.

Look, WE ARE GUN OWNERS (along with crossbow and muzzleloader owners). Dan hunts. Venison is yummy. I have no problem with guns. They help feed my family. I also think laws involving waiting periods and licensing laws are important, as are mandatory background checks for all gun sales (VA does not require background checks on private gun sales).

This isn't a slippery slope. And it isn't a 2nd amendment problem. We all agree that free speech has limits - you can't defame people, you can't yell fire in a crowded movie theater, etc. Every "right" has limits. Otherwise there would be anarchy. Or we'd live in a country where classrooms full of children routinely prepare for "bad guys" by locking themselves in closets. Oh wait, we live in that country. LET'S MAKE IT BETTER, PEOPLE!! Seriously, MAKE IT BETTER!!!

I've been a big fan of Moms Demand Action for awhile now and I post regularly about their campaign on my blog. But Smith Mountain Lake made me realize that I need to do more. So a friend and I attended their rally on the mall (while babysitting the cutest toddler ever). And I will remember in November which which state and federal candidates support common sense gun laws.

And guess what? At the rally I received a free t-shirt (that I now wear everywhere). And stickers. And saw people of all ages/ethnicities/backgrounds trying to make a difference. So please, check out Moms Demand Actions' website and when an event comes to your community, make the time to go.

Because things need to get better. They just do.



  1. Wonderful post Darcy - thank you for presenting a balanced side to the argument. I'll be checking out Moms Demand Action!

  2. Thank you, I live in Roanoke and after Virginia Tech, well, we are just a bit broken by what has happened out here. Whatever It Takes

  3. Vester Flanagan purchased two 9mm handguns in the month prior to the shootings from a licensed gun shop. He filled out the forms correctly, was submitted for, and passed the background check. Having no criminal record, nor any medical history of mental illness I don't see how the "Common sense" gun laws being advocated here would have prevented an evil man from doing evil things. Sure, former colleagues and employers said (After the fact) the guy was a problematic -but nothing rose to the level of getting him checked in to a mental health facility or charged with any crime.

    So tell me how mandating "universal background checks on private firearm sales" fixes this? -It does not. Universal background checks ONLY work with a universal gun registration program. And that my friends is 2/3 of the way down the slippery slope to banning and confiscation of all guns.

    I am sorry about what happened. I understand the emotional response of trying to make sense of it and do something to "fix" it. I will tell anyone that there is no cure for the evil residing in some people's hearts.

    When someone comes to me with a solution to this situation which actually applies I will listen.

  4. Anonymous - I actually find it very sweet that you took the time to write a well-thought out response on my blog (though arguably the use of a generic pseudonym won't get us very far in this conversation). And you are completely right that universal background checks on private firearm sales won't solve the Flanagan problem, though I disagree with you on whether or not it will HELP solve the general problem. But you lost me at your slippery slope argument (if a random statement can even be considered an argument), why would gun registration lead to the banning of all guns? I'm serious, WHY?? And regarding solutions that don't help, have you read this - http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/govbeat/wp/2015/06/12/gun-killings-fell-by-40-percent-after-connecticut-passed-this-law/

    1. So I guess my reply was too cogent and on point? You deleted it?!

    2. I swear, I haven't deleted anything (well, at least not yet). Maybe it just didn't post?

    3. Alright. It was rather lengthy -But I will try to recreate it here.

      I believe we can agree to disagree on the point of whether universal background checks help to solve the general problem.

      The claim of the Connecticut gun law reducing gun killings by 40% is suspect at best. I submit the following analysis: http://newsbusters.org/blogs/tom-blumer/2015/06/14/washpost-hypes-studys-synthetic-claim-1994-connecticut-gun-law-saved

      We could endlessly go back and forth about each mother's sources, methods and statistics -but at the end of the day I think anyone with a rational brain in their head realizes you can make studies and statistics say anything to support your position.

      You ask a very specific and reasonable question about why registration leads to confiscation. I take that to mean you accept the premise that universal background checks necessarily include a registration component. History is replete with registration programs leading to confiscation, many times with crimes against humanity close on their heels.

      Turkey 1915, Russia 1929, China 1935, Germany 1939, Cambodia 1956, Guatemala 1964, Uganda 1970, Australia 1996.

      And to combat the fallacy of "It can't happen here!" : https://reason.com/archives/2013/12/11/how-government-officials-sealed-the-doom

      I will stipulate that murderers, even mass murderers, will use firearms in future crimes.

      But I will follow it up with a fact, some people will take the emotional response natural to such horrific crimes to advocate and push for policy changes which would have had no effect on the crime. You have done that very thing with your post here. (Would you consider editing it to remove the reference to this crime since the change you propose doesn't fix it?)

      After you get universal background checks / registration there will be gun killings. One will rise to the level of people screaming for change. The only change left is the confiscation of all those legally registered firearms.

      I will not surrender my right to self defense given to me by nature or nature's God.

  5. You are spot on Darcy. In the states that require background checks for all handgun sales, there are lower rates of gun violence across a variety of groups: 46 percent fewer women are shot to death by their intimate partners, 48 percent fewer on-duty law enforcement officers are killed with handguns that are not their own, and the rate of gun trafficking is 48 percent lower. What happened in SML opened people's eyes to do #WhateverItTakes to stop any gun death that they can - and a background check on all gun sales is simplest, most effective way to do that. The two don't need to be related, the simple fact that two people were shot, live-on the air in AMERICA is what should be making every American say I will also do #WhateverItTakes to stop anything like this from ever happening again. Bravo for having the courage to do so!



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