Tommy Wright: Hope for the best, prepare for the worst

Published 12:30 pm Thursday, May 18, 2023

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Tommy WrightA ruling handed down by a Federal judge in Virginia found that Federal laws blocking those under age 21 from purchasing handguns are unconstitutional.

Current Federal law allows adults to purchase long guns if they pass a background check, but handgun purchases are barred unless the buyer is age 21 or older.

Writing in a 71-page opinion, U.S. District Court Judge Robert Payne held that since adults under 21 have the right to vote, join the military, and serve on a jury, there’s no reason they don’t have the right to buy a firearm.

“If the Court were to exclude 18-to-20-year-olds from the Second Amendment’s protection, it would impose limitations on the Second Amendment that do not exist with other constitutional guarantees,” he wrote.

The decision draws on the Supreme Court’s decision in Bruen, which held that restrictions on the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms must be based on historic rules in place at the time the Amendment was ratified.

“Because the statutes and regulations in question are not consistent with our Nation’s history and tradition, they, therefore, cannot stand,” he wrote.

The decision sets up a conflict with other Federal courts, which have upheld the ban for those under 21.

The Department of Justice has said it will appeal the case. It will likely be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court at some point in the next few years.

While this is a welcome development for Second Amendment supporters, it could well add fuel to the fire for those who support gun control.

Thus, it is important to note that, until the Supreme Court rules on this case, nothing is final and likely will not be for years to come.


Last week Governor Youngkin announced his administration is funding an active-shooter training program, known as ALERRT, or Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training. The goal is to teach first responders and interested citizens the best way to deal with an active shooter to save the most lives.

The Boy Scouts have a motto that has served them well since their inception: Be Prepared. That’s good advice not just for scouts, but for everyone.

ALERRT program trains first responders and other Virginians in the best ways to deal with an active shooter situation.

People learn CPR and other life-saving skills to be prepared for unlikely but tragic situations should they happen, ALERRT training is no different.

Active shooter situations are rare in our day-to-day lives, but when they do happen, they can be devastating and result in multiple deaths.

Training first responders and civilians on how best to react will save lives.

Preparing for a disaster doesn’t mean giving and accepting them.

Republicans have always and will always work to keep firearms out of the hands of dangerous people and expand mental health services to reach those in crisis before they make a tragic decision.

Fires and tornadoes are dangerous and rare events for which most Virginians have some level of preparation. If there’s risk, it makes sense to be prepared.

As your delegate, I will continue to advocate for your second amendment rights. I have never infringed on your right to bear arms and I never will. If Democrats are going to let dangerous felons out on the streets, then Republicans will continue to push for more ways for Virginians to protect themselves.

Also, Monday, May 15 was Peace Officers Memorial Day, when we remember and honor those who died to protect and serve. God Bless.

Del. Tommy Wright can be reached via email at or (804) 698-1061.