Happenings in Richmond

Published 9:57 am Thursday, January 23, 2020

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We’ve just completed the second week of the 2020 General Assembly Session, and I wanted to provide a quick update on what’s been happening in Richmond.

As you have no doubt heard, there’s a great deal of controversy surrounding the Second Amendment here in Richmond, and the House of Delegates will soon be considering gun control legislation.

Governor Northam declared a state of emergency on Wednesday, banning guns from Capitol Square in advance of Monday’s Lobby Day. Very quickly on Thursday, a metal fence was erected all-around Capitol Square. Several streets around the Capitol will be closed on Monday, making it difficult for visitors and concerned citizens to have access to the Capitol Grounds. Everyone must enter through metal detectors during the duration of the State of Emergency, which is from Friday the 17th through Tuesday the 21st.

Lobby Day has been a peaceful affair for decades, and the tens of thousands of Virginians we expect to see on Monday expect the same. In the limited briefings we’ve been given by the Governor’s team, they acknowledge that 99.9% of those who will attend are peaceful Virginians simply seeking to assemble and petition their government for the redress of grievances.

Hundreds of people visit the Capitol during the General Assembly to support or oppose issues that are important to them or their groups. Never has there been such a limit placed on visitors. This not only infringes on their Second Amendment Rights but also their First by not allowing people the freedom to express themselves. Limiting the First and Second Amendment rights of Virginians isn’t something to be done lightly.

My office has received hundreds of calls and emails from gun owners and other concerned citizens, and rest assured, I continue to be a strong supporter of the Second Amendment and will vote to protect our rights on the Public Safety Committee and on the floor. My office staff and I will be at the Capitol early on Monday morning to continue the work you sent us to Richmond to do.

It has been such a pleasure to see so many people from the district visit us in Richmond this week. If you happen to be in the Richmond area during this year’s General Assembly session, please stop in and say hello.

Visiting this week was a great group of gentlemen representing the American Legion from South Hill; Lewis Wells, Tom Hart, Claden Connell, Paul Doucette, Raymond Walker, Phil Arrington and Cecil Hodges. We also had several groups representing schools in the 61st District; Tamesha Grimes, School Superintendent from Nottoway, Wendy Tillett and Latesha Anderson, Cumberland School Board members, Chip Jones, assistant superintendent for Cumberland schools, Charles Berkley, school superintendent from Lunenburg, School Superintendent, Paul Nichols from Mecklenburg was joined by School Board Members, Lindell Palmer, Wanda Bailey and Gavin Honeycutt. Other visitors included Timmy Belcher from Amelia, Clark and Morgan Wade from Amelia, David Wells from Victoria, James Humphrey from Amelia, Donald and Sherri Raynor from Cumberland, Keith Loehlein from Amelia, Chris and Betty Rankin from Cumberland, Keith Oulie from Cumberland, Brent Lane from Victoria, Stevie Oter from Cumberland, Tom and Lyn Emory from Chase City, Randy and Emma Buck from LaCrosse, Brandon Tibbetts from Amelia, Hilton Lester and Leo Henderson from Cartersville, Rhonda Holder from Keysville, Tom Tanner, with the Mecklenburg Board of Supervisors, and Lauren White from Blackstone.

Del. Tommy Wright can be reached via email at DelTWright@house. virginia.gov or (804) 698-1061.