Saturday, January 25, 2014

Blacksburg/Roanoke leaders urge Sen. John Edwards to support universal background checks

Virginia Democrat Senator John Edwards is last holdout on universal background checks for gun purchases.

Virginia Democrat Senator John Edwards is last holdout on universal background checks for gun purchases.

Senator John Edwards feeling the pressure.

This week, a group of elected officials, faith leaders, and community organizations sent a letter to Virginia state Senator John Edwards (D-21st) calling on him to support universal background check legislation for gun buyers during the current legislative session in Richmond.

“Responsible, commonsense legislation such as universal background checks would only prevent dangerous people from obtaining weapons,” the letter states.  “89% of Virginians support this legislation, and we know that it will save lives and prevent criminals, domestic abusers, and other dangerous people from purchasing a gun … In the wake of the Newtown massacre, and the 27 other school shootings that have happened in our nation since then, we must do more to ensure the safety of Virginians, especially our children and educators … As a leader for our region we are proud to support, we ask you to support universal background checks in the 2014 Virginia General Assembly session.”

The letter, which can be read in its entirety here, was signed by the following parties:

  • Virginia state Delegate Sam Rasoul (D-11th)
  • Blacksburg Mayor Ron Rordam
  • Every member of the Blacksburg Town Council (John Bush, Michael Sutphin, Krisha Chachra, Cecile Newcomb, Leslie Hager-Smith, and Susan Anderson)
  • Roanoke City Councilmember Sherman Lea
  • Reverend Gene Edmunds of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Roanoke
  • The Montgomery County Democratic Committee
  • The Blue Ridge Coalition Against Gun Violence, comprised of Organizing for America, Southwest Virginia Chapter; Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense in America, Southwest Virginia chapter; Plowshare Peace Center; the Roanoke Chapter of the NAACP; and the Progressive Action Network of Roanoke

As a member of the Senate Courts of Justice committee, Senator Edwards could vote as soon as Monday morning on SB 520, a bill introduced by Senator Donald McEachin (D-9th) that would require universal background checks on all firearms sales.

“Sadly, hardly a day goes by where our news does not have a story about another school shooting,” said letter signatory and Roanoke City Council member Sherman Lea. “As a parent of a teacher and grandparent of 3 students, it breaks my heart to see so many students and teachers being shot. Therefore I want to do everything I can to support common sense gun control legislation. The last poll I read had over 85% of all Americans supporting universal background checks. I urge Senator Edwards and all members of the Virginia General Assembly to vote in favor of SB 520.”.

View the letter online at

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Crime, Politics, State Politics

Tags: , , , ,

Comments (3)

Terry Huxhold

January 25th, 2014 at 10:15 PM    

Was disappointed that Sherman Lea was the only member of Roanoke City Council that signed this letter. It is an issue that is just plain common sense.

Mary Croft

January 25th, 2014 at 10:26 PM    

Many thanks to Councilman Sherman Lea, for his support in this important effort. I was happy to see that all the members of the Blacksburg Town Council signed, as well as Mayor Ron Rordam. I would have liked to see some other members of our Roanoke City Council's name on the letter as well as Mayor Bowers'. I wonder why they wouldn't sign? Especially Mayor Bowers…he IS one of the mayors who signed on to Mayors Against Illegal Guns, yet he didn't respond to several attempts by various people to sign this letter.

Freeda Cathcart

January 27th, 2014 at 4:54 PM    

I signed the letter. Was I the only candidate for Roanoke City Council to do so?

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