Del. Bob Marshall, R-Prince William, speaks on the floor during the House session at the Capitol in Richmond, Va., Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2010. Marshall contested accurate reporting of his comments during a press conference. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Virginia, with its bona fide purple state status, should make for an interesting place to watch the gun debate this year.
Sen. Mark Warner has already come out in favor of the assault weapon ban. Gov. McDonnell did not, but suggested the possibility of teachers being armed in the classroom (which Rep. Gerry Connolly said was “outrageous.”)
Now, Del. Bob Marshall is giving McDonnell’s suggestion some muscle, and submitted a bill that would require Virginia schools to have an armed staff.
To be clear, Marshall’s legislation wouldn’t just allow teachers with a concealed carry permit to bring them into the classroom, but would require school districts to designate staff to do so. As part of the legislation, the Department of Criminal Justice Services would certify that designated staff to carry these weapons.
“This is a very modest proposal,” Marshall said on Fox News. “Why do you call 9-11? Because you want someone wth guns to come and defend you, that’s what I want to do here. But I want it preemptive not reactive. “
Marshall is no stranger to controversial stances. In May, he tried to block the appointment of an openly gay lawyer as a General District Court judge and was the author of the state’s “personhood” bill last year.
But it looks like he will have some support on this proposal, the Post reported.
“I would be very supportive of the idea that properly trained teachers could carry concealed firearms,” said Sen. Richard H. Black (R-Loudoun). “There's no way you’d have 20 innocent children gunned down if you had teachers who could help to defend themselves.”
The Virginia legislature is split, and the Richmond Times-Dispatch warns that we should expects lots of talk about changes to the gun laws, but not much actual change.
Consider that some of the state's most recent gun-policy decisions have moved in the direction of becoming more permissive rather than restrictive. This year, Virginia lawmakers repealed a state one-handgun-a-month law and again struck down attempts to broaden criminal background checks before sales.
The General Assembly's partisan composition - Republicans have a two-thirds majority in the House of Delegates and functional control of the evenly divided Senate - remains static, as do many members' views.
Watch Marshall on Fox News:
IN OTHER NEWS
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* Bolling says no to armed teachers
* Democratic Senators push to make “New Columbia” Nation’s 51st state
* Woops, Cuccinelli sends an email to supporters with George Allen’s email address
* Gov. O’Malley says assault weapons “play no purpose in a civil society”
* Think tanks recommend that Maryland charge $500 million for casino license