Stephen Gutowski of the Washington Free Beacon has an incredible story out of Virginia, and I’m glad he could join me as today’s guest on Bearing Arms’ Cam & Co. It turns out that Virginia Governor Ralph Northam and Attorney General Mark Herring quietly refused more than $500,000 in federal grants designed to pay for violence-reduction programs under the federal Project Safe Neighborhoods banner, because it would have meant local law enforcement agencies cooperating with ICE.
A series of Department of Justice memos show that two anti-gun-crime grants were transferred from the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS), which had previously administered the program, in Dec. 2018. The memos say the transfer was necessary after state officials refused to certify that Virginia would comply with federal requirements to share immigration information with federal law enforcement.
Instead, the money was diverted to a non-profit entity. According to the governor’s office that means everything’s working just fine.
“These federal dollars continue to flow to communities to help local law enforcement, prevention, and reentry,” spokeswoman Alena Yarmosky said in an email. “This ongoing program is one way we work to reduce violent crime—the governor has made it clear he supports commonsense gun safety measures to fully address the emergency of gun violence in the Commonwealth.”
What’s this “we”stuff? The governor’s office is doing nothing with these federal dollars, so it’s not a part of this ongoing program. Governor Ralph Northam and Attorney General Mark Herring decided to take a stand in opposition to Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, even at the expense of proven public safety programs. One member of Republican leadership says it demonstrates that for all the support for gun control laws by Northam and Herring, they’d rather protect illegal immigrants from ICE than to protect people from violent criminals.
House of Delegates Republican majority leader Todd Gilbert said the administration’s decision to refuse the grant undermines the ability of the state to combat gun crime. Gilbert said the move shows that Northam—who vetoed a bill banning sanctuary cities in March—is more committed to protecting illegal immigrants than he is to curbing gun crime.
“Attorney General [Mark] Herring and Governor Northam have said the loss of lives in Virginia to guns is an emergency, yet they’re willing to walk away from grant funding for a program that has been proven to work,” Gilbert said. “They’re willing to put politics above saving lives. These programs work. They save lives, particularly those of young, African American men.”
Stephen Gutowski and I also talk about the upcoming elections in Virginia. Every seat in the state legislature is up for grabs, and gun control groups are already flooding the airwaves and the Internet with ads. Everytown for Gun Safety is spending well over a million dollars targeting a dozen or so suburban swing districts, and Giffords just made a $300,000 ad buy in the state as well. Democrats are running on gun control in Virginia this year. We’ll see if any candidates have anything to say about their party’s leadership picking politics over public safety.
Also on today’s show we feature an armed citizen story from Pennsylvania, a suspect in a mass murder in Kansas who received two years probation when he could have been sentenced to nine years in prison last year, and a New Jersey cop in the right place at the right time to lend a helping hand to a lady in need.
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