Youngkin Wants Focus on Criminals, Not Guns

AP Photo/Steve Helber, File

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin is a master of dancing around the issue of guns. As a Republican, he’s not likely to support gun control, but a lot of Virginians do. What’s more, the media in the state does as well, and they want to pin him down on the issue.


Only to see the governor dance out of their trap yet again.

However, sooner or later, they figure he’s got to come down one way or another. The subject is too contentious for him not to.

And, in a manner of speaking, he has.

While Monday was Lobby Day and a lot of people, including our own Cam Edwards, were there, Youngkin had already offered his thoughts on it a few days earlier.

While Democrats have the majority to pass legislation, their majority is not large enough to overcome any veto Governor Glenn Youngkin, a Republican, may issue.

During his State of the Commonwealth speech, Youngkin’s only mention of the topic was to say Virginia already had among the strongest gun control laws in the country.

“Therefore, I’m asking you: allow us to hold accountable those criminals that commit crimes with guns by lengthening and making more severe the penalties in order to keep them off the streets,” he said in his speech to state lawmakers.

Now, I’m pretty sure a lot of anti-gunners are going to disagree with the governor about whether Virginia has some of the strongest laws in the nation or not.

When you look at them, though, there are a whole lot of states with tougher gun control on the books than the Old Dominion State.

That is not a criticism of Virginia, either. I respect it.

But the takeaway here should be that Youngkin has his eyes firmly set on the people who perpetrate so-called gun crime rather than the law-abiding people who have done nothing wrong. This is the right approach.


However, we need to also be realistic when evaluating such a proposal.

Long sentences don’t generally act as a deterrent to crime. Every two-bit bad guy out there thinks he’s too smart to get caught, only to find out that he’s stupid enough to do everything short of hold his driver’s license up to the liquor store’s surveillance camera.

So they’re not intimidated into walking the straight and narrow path.

But longer sentences do remove these people from society for a longer period of time, thus depriving us of these individuals and their “contributions” for a longer period. Since the vast majority of crime in any city is carried out by a fairly small portion of the population, removing more of them for longer is going to have an effect sooner or later.

What I hope is that Virginia will also explore ways to keep people from committing crimes in the first place. Penalties are fine and good, but prevention means no one has to deal with any of it. That could be a bigger win for everyone.

Either way, I’m glad Youngkin has made it clear that he’s not interested in gun control. Virginia deserves better than that.

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