by Jon Baliles
The Richmond Police Department held its annual crime review briefing this week and the numbers were positive on the surface, a little mixed in total, and almost miraculous considering the force has more than 150 vacancies.
Mark Bowes writes in the Times-Dispatch that “The good news for the city of Richmond from a crime perspective last year was a 37% drop in homicides (from 90 to 57) and a 17% reduction in robberies of persons.” The numbers of reported rapes, aggravated assaults and commercial robberies rose in 2022 over the preceding year, but overall violent crime was flat, [Acting Police Chief Rick Edwards] said, dropping about 1% from 1,099 reported offenses to 1,087.
However, a more disturbing trend was the 33 incidents of shootings with more than one victim (80 people total in 33 shootings – recall the one shooting last summer on Broad Street with six shooting victims). That was up from 31 multiple shootings in 2021 with 68 victims. Also, the number of non-fatal shootings increased from 244 in 2021 to 256 last year.
“The numbers would have been even higher,” Edwards said, if not for police initiatives during the final quarter of the year that reduced by 12% the number of shootings during that three month period. They dropped from 69 to 61. “We were on track to have a much higher increase in non-fatal shootings,’ the chief said.”
Continue reading →
by James A. Bacon
The story of the six-year-old school shooter in Newport News generates endless attention. It seems indicative of so much that is wrong with our society today.
Law-enforcement authorities are rightly focused on the question of how a six-year-old child (a) managed to lay hands on a gun that his parents claimed to have stored out of his reach; and (b) how he managed to bring the gun into school and evade a search of his knapsack. Guns and young children don’t mix any better than guns and alcohol. Though the remedy is less than obvious, it should be clear to all that America has a gun problem.
America also has a violent-child problem, and the solution to that is even more opaque.
The violent-child problem is national in scope, as The Wall Street Journal makes clear in a front-page article today. “Violence among children has soared across the country since 2020, a stark reversal in a decades-long decline in juvenile crime,” the newspaper writes.
In the U.S., homicides committed by juveniles acting alone rose 30% in 2020 from a year earlier, while those committed by multiple juveniles increased 66%. The number of killings committed by children under 14 was the highest in two decades, according to the most recent federal data.
In Washington, D.C., 214 children were arrested for firearm-related crimes in 2022. Sixteen juveniles were shot to death last year — most by other juveniles. Continue reading →
by James C. Sherlock
I have a loaded 9 mm semiautomatic handgun in my house for defense against home invasion. Never take it out of the house except to the range.
It is locked up but readily accessible, even in the dark by a 77-year-old.
If my kids were still at home I would still have that loaded gun here, locked up. I would also not be 77.
Virginia Code § 18.2-56.2.
A. It shall be unlawful for any person to recklessly leave a loaded, unsecured firearm in such a manner as to endanger the life or limb of any child under the age of fourteen. Any person violating the provisions of this subsection shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.
The Virginian-Pilot reports Sen.-elect Jennifer Boysko, D-Herndon, will introduce a new bill:
Boysko said her bill would require unattended firearms to be stored unloaded in a locked device or cabinet in homes with residents under the age of 18, or in homes where there was a reasonable expectation that a minor would be present.
It would also require ammunition to be kept in a separate locked device.
Raising the age from 14 to 18?
It will be controversial, especially in rural areas and among a lot of other gun owners. Camel’s nose under the tent. That sort of thing. And they will be right about the nose part.
But if she wants that provision, I recommend not packaging it with the rest of the changes she proposes. Continue reading →
Happy and Sean Perry
by James A. Bacon
In a news conference yesterday the parents of D’Sean Perry, one of three University of Virginia football players slain in a mass shooting last month, called for changes to gun laws and faulted UVa for failing to boot their son’s killer off campus. Said D’Sean’s father Sean Perry: “(We want) to make sure another family will never, never go through this again.”
According to CNN, the Perrys said they wanted unspecified reforms to “gun laws” (CNN’s words), although it was unclear from the article what remedies they sought. “The red flags were there, and (the suspect) was still able to purchase a firearm,” said D’Sean’s mother, Happy Perry. Here’s the background provided by CNN: Continue reading →
by Kerry Dougherty
Someone please ask the knee-jerk lefties who joined the Greek Chorus of “we must do more to end gun violence” last week just what “we” — the government, I suppose — could have done to prevent the massacre of six Walmart employees in their Chesapeake break room last Tuesday.
An assault weapon ban? Uh, no. That wouldn’t have prevented this. He used a pistol.
One gun a month? Nope. The shooter only bought one gun.
Short of a total ban on firearms, which would have to include confiscation of every weapon in the country, there is no law that would have saved these innocent lives from this homicidal maniac.
That’s the sad, but awful truth. Continue reading →
Photo credit: Foxinterviewer.com
by Jim McCarthy
Bacon’s Rebellion recently hosted a series of articles exhaustively parsing the procedures and policies at the University of Virginia regarding threat assessments in preventing violence related to the killing of three students and wounding of two by a colleague. The examination included the possible human failures that contributed to the event. Under state legislation, institutions of higher education in the Commonwealth had been tasked to produce policies and procedures designed to afford safety to campus communities, including intervention somewhat similar to “red flag” laws. The UVa shooter had been previously identified to campus authorities as “possessing” a firearm; upon inspection, a cache of arms was discovered in his dorm room. Cause and effect? Broken procedures and policies? Negligence?
There is no arithmetic or mathematical equation that governs or can predict cause and effect in human behavior. Unlike gravity, laws and rules of society and its organizations are essentially the overt expression of norms of behavior functioning as guides and generally will succeed because they are accepted by most as necessary to civility and peace and safety. When these guardrails fail, the effects can be deadly. Continue reading →
by Kerry Dougherty
On Wednesday morning I woke up at 4:00 a.m., planning to head to the radio studio for four hours of happy holiday banter with my co-host, Mike Imprevento.
Then I glanced at my phone.
A news blast from The Wall Street Journal: “Six Killed in a Shooting in a Chesapeake, Va. Walmart.”
The killing occurred at approximately 10 p.m. Tuesday. That’s what I get for going to bed early.
I rubbed my eyes and stared at the screen. It seemed unbelievable. SIX DEAD? IN CHESAPEAKE?
We met with our producer, Lee, in the studio at 5 and the three of us knew we would be doing a very different sort of show from what we’d planned. Fewer holiday ha-ha’s. Our neighbors were dead and dying. Tidewater would be in shock when they woke up.
When I checked local news, it was exactly as I expected: reporters contacted the usual suspects — local Democrats — and they denounced “gun violence.”
So predictable. As if a gun acted alone. Continue reading →
by Jon Baliles
By most accounts, the city’s gun buyback event on August 20th was a success. The city spent $67,500 in gift cards to 160 people who turned in 475 firearms, and then had to shut down even though there were more people in line.
Organizers with the Robby Poblete Foundation said they are not against the Second Amendment. “We are against senseless gun violence,” said Pati Navalta, executive director of the foundation. “We are for gun safety.”
Glenwood Burley, a retired Richmond police officer, said the line of cars was “unexpected” and considered the event a big win.
“Any gun that you can get out of someone’s bedroom, that someone may break-in and take somebody’s life with it next week, this is a win for everyone in the city,” Burley said.
Opinions vary widely on the effectiveness of such events from being a media stunt to every little bit helps, and research remains unclear whether such events have real effects on reducing gun violence. Continue reading →
Photo credit: Mother Jones
by Dick Hall-Sizemore
The Halifax County School Board is planning to hire a private firm to provide security at all county schools, in addition to school resource officers (SRO).
That is the world brought to us by a gun-crazy society with its no-compromise embrace of the Second Amendment, aided by a compliant Supreme Court.
As reported by the News and Record (South Boston), the proposal calls for four school security officers (SSO) to patrol the high school, along with the school resource officers (SROs) from the sheriff and town police departments, as well as the stationing of a guard at each elementary school for the first time. Continue reading →
by James A. Bacon
What role has the availability of guns played in the surge in violent crimes in Virginia over the past two years?
The graph above summarizes the data from the 2021 Crime in Virginia report. Over the two-year period, the number of firearm-related crimes increased 10.9%, while the use of all other weapons — from fists, feet, and teeth to knives, clubs and automobiles — increased only 1.9%. That indicates that Virginia’s bad guys were not only committing more crimes in 2021 than two years previously, but they were more likely to brandish or shoot firearms when doing so.
The data show clearly that guns are a growing problem, not a receding problem, in Virginia criminality. But the implications for public policy are anything but clear. Continue reading →
by James A. Bacon
After a spate of mass shootings, gun control has moved to the top of the Democratic Party agenda. Here in Virginia, we got a reminder this morning of the omnipresent threat that gun-wielding thugs pose to public safety. Police arrested two illegal immigrants who were allegedly plotting to shoot up a July 4th celebration in Richmond. The duo was found in possession of two rifles, a handgun, and 223 rounds of ammunition.
Oh, brother. Not only do we have to worry about political radicals, Jihadists, mentally ill teenagers, and suicidal middle-aged men, now we can add homicidal illegal immigrants to our list of worries!
As the rhetoric about guns inevitably heats up, it is worthwhile reviewing the firearms-related data in the 2021 Crime in Virginia report. There were 6,102 firearms among the 17,456 weapons catalogued in crimes last year, or 35% of the total. Continue reading →
by David Toscano
It has been [a month] since the shootings in Buffalo, New York and Uvalde, Texas, took 31 lives and once again crystallized the need for more effective measures to combat these outrages. It is not clear whether Congress can summon the will for even the most minor of reforms, but our leaders need to transition from “thoughts and prayers” to real policy change if we are ever to combat the scourge of gun violence in this nation. Virginia Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner recently called on Congress to enact the “Virginia Plan” of gun violence reforms, based on major changes made in the Commonwealth in the 2020 and 2021 legislative sessions.
Virginia Has Seen Its Share
Virginia has neither escaped the carnage of mass shootings nor the heated debates about what to do about gun violence. The 2007 massacre at Virginia Tech left 32 dead, and another 12 were killed during the 2019 shooting in Virginia Beach. Neither involved AR-15 style weapons (the killers used semiautomatics, but they were pistols). The Virginia Tech tragedy prompted creation of a government commission that brought only minor change. But Virginia remained a strong gun-rights state into the 2010s.
The school shootings at Parkland drew further attention to the issue. The Republican Speaker of the Virginia House grudgingly convened a special committee to address school safety, but then prohibited it from discussing guns. Following the Virginia Beach shootings in 2019, Governor Northam called a special session on gun violence; Republicans adjourned it in 30 minutes with no action. Continue reading →
by Bill O’Keefe
After each mass shooting there is an outcry for Congress to do something. In 2021, there were almost 21,000 murders involving guns and almost 700 mass shootings (those involving four or more victims).
There has been no responsible action at the Federal level because Congress seems more interested in political food fights then in taking action that can make a difference. Henry Clay once observed that politics is not about ideology; it’s about governing, and if you can’t compromise you can’t govern. Congress in the existing political environment can only compromise by accident.
The fact that Congress is paralyzed is no reason for states to avoid taking action. In the last few years, the Virginia General Assembly has passed several gun laws. These laws, which created a backlash in a number of counties, imposed universal background checks on gun sales, created extreme risk protective orders that allow authorities to temporarily seize guns from people deemed dangerous, required gun owners to report lost or stolen firearms, restored the former one-handgun-a-month law and boosted penalties for leaving guns accessible to children. Continue reading →
by Dick Hall-Sizemore
In an interesting development, one of the so-called “progressive” Virginia prosecutors has identified a direct link between someone committing misdemeanor offenses and later committing violent felony offenses.
The misdemeanor offenses that are predictors are gun offenses. After tracking violent case histories, Ramin Fatehi, the commonwealth’s attorney for Norfolk, as reported by WAVY TV, “found it was often a pretty straight shot between low-level gun misdemeanors and violent gun felonies.” This applied both to folks pulling the trigger and those being shot.
Fatehi mentioned a number of gun misdemeanors, but said that a leading predictor was carrying a concealed weapon without a permit. In the several examples of violent crimes involving guns that he cited, all the perpetrators or victims had prior gun misdemeanor charges. Some of these charges had been dismissed or set aside. Continue reading →
by James C. Sherlock
The FBI National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) is much discussed and little understood by the general public.
In an effort to help, this article will inform readers about the NICS Indices, what information is kept there and how it gets there. The information here about the NICS is quoted or adapted from the FBI descriptions of the system it runs.
Then we will look at Virginia background checks specifically.
You will find that the utility of the data used for such checks, and thus who is sold or is not sold a gun by a licensed dealer, varies a lot.
It depends to a great degree upon the prosecutorial philosophy and policies of the Commonwealth’s Attorney where the buyer was raised and has lived since reaching adulthood. Continue reading →