My letter to the editor in the June 8 edition of The News-Gazette, which circulates in Rockbridge County, Lexington and Buena Vista:
I’m not currently a gun owner. But I know that many good people of many political persuasions own guns, and I have no problem with responsible owners having firearms for hunting, recreation and protection.
Which brings us to our Sixth District Congressman Ben Cline.
In an interview on WRVA radio the day after the Uvalde massacre, he repeated the worn-out talking points that Congressional Republicans use to avoid enacting serious gun violence prevention measures.
Cline proposed posting retired police officers at schools. A retired police officer fired at the racist mass murderer at the supermarket in Buffalo on May 14, but the murderer was wearing body armor and the retired officer was among those killed.
He said, “Let’s talk about mental health counseling.” But as far as I can tell, Cline has never done anything in Congress to provide resources to woefully-underfunded mental health services.
And other countries have mental health problems too. But ours is the only country where horrors like those in Buffalo and Uvalde happen on such a regular basis.
Cline talks endlessly about protecting “Second Amendment rights.” But as the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said, the Second Amendment “is not unlimited. [It is] not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.”
Does Cline believe this? His position on “gun rights” is so extreme (more extreme than most gun owners) that when he was in the House of Delegates, he bragged about his endorsement by the Virginia Citizens Defense League— which believes the National Rifle Association is too soft.
He actually opposed issuing a new Virginia license plate with the message: “Stop Gun Violence.”
Cline shouldn’t be allowed to go unchallenged. He needs to be asked specifically why he opposes universal background checks for gun purchases. (Does he support any background checks at all?) Why is he against red flag laws to temporarily remove firearms from people who are a clear threat to themselves or others? Why does he oppose limits on high-capacity magazines? Does he support any restrictions on private arms ownership at all? How about fully automatic weapons? Grenade launchers?
Where does he draw the line? Does he draw it anywhere?
And after Buffalo, Uvalde, Tulsa, etc., etc., this is all that Cline can say: