In 2000 the great Delegate from Manasaas, Harry Parrish introduced this bill:
"Possession of firearms by persons voluntarily admitted to a mental institution. Prohibits persons voluntarily admitted to a public mental health facility pursuant to § 37.1-65, or to a private mental health facility, from purchase, possession or transportation of firearms. Under current law, this prohibition only applies to persons involuntarily committed to such facilities."
Exactly the legal loophole that the killer at Virginia Tech used. Never again should a member of the legislature be allowed to claim that no one knew about this loophole. Harry Parrish is now deceased but this bill should serve as a reminder of his legacy.
While legislative action can not prevent every nutjob from doing something it can prevent them from doing it the easiest and most obvious way, and that can sometimes be enough to stop them. I really wish the public would stop allowing politicians to "scenario" their way out of every tragedy with "other" ways it could have happened if they had taken action. It's long past time for accountability.
So how did the Parrish bill to prevent all mental institution patients from buying guns do?
It failed- 10 in favor and 11 opposed. Even strong NRA supporters like Terry Kilgore voted yes on this commonsense bill.
The only Democrat left in the General Assembly who cast the deciding vote to kill this bill- Johnny Joannou.
I can deal with his anti-tax votes and his rebel personality. I even like how Johnny takes on the arrogance of the Democratic Caucus. But this vote indicates that his public service is focused on what Johnny wants, not what his constituents in greater Portsmouth support. Someone has to be held accountable for the fact that this bill never became law, and it should be Johnny in the Democratic Primary on June 12th.
Vote for Henry Light.
UPDATE: Similar Senate bill from 2003. Nine Senators owe us an explanation.