Richmond – Following a pattern set by other Virginia Republicans, the GOP candidate in HD-87, Bill Drennan, pivoted on a question about gun violence by suggesting women who get abortions are criminals.
In a forum on Friday, Drennan answered a question (36:10) about gun violence prevention with, “How about this: I’m going to propose commonsense restrictions on the constitutional right to an abortion. How about ankle bracelets?”
Drennan is not the first Virginia Republican to pivot away from the important issue of gun violence with an attack on reproductive rights. Last year, following the horrific mass shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, Delegate Nick Freitas (R-Culpeper) ranted on the House floor that “the abortion industry” was somehow responsible for gun violence.
Virginia Republicans’ opposition to both reproductive rights and gun violence prevention goes beyond just rhetoric—it is fundamental to their legislative agenda.
The Republican majorities have implemented burdensome and medically necessary restrictions on reproductive rights, including a mandatory ultrasound and counseling, as well as Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) laws. In 2017, Republicans in the General Assembly sponsored legislation designating the anniversary of Roe v. Wade the “Day of Tears” to shame women who have exercised their right to an abortion. In 2012, they pushed the infamous transvaginal ultrasound bill that would force women to undergo an invasive procedure before accessing an abortion.
Yet while Virginia Republicans have imposed restrictions on reproductive freedoms, they have refused to consider any legislation to prevent gun violence. In the twelve years since the mass shooting at Virginia Tech, gun laws in Virginia have only become more lax. Republicans in the General Assembly have consistently defeated commonsense legislation like universal background checks, red flag laws, bans on high-capacity magazines, and practical training requirements. This year, following the tragedy in Virginia Beach, Republicans voted to adjourn the special session after less than 90 minutes without considering a single in committee or on the floor. Shortly afterward, House Republicans were rewarded by the gun lobby for their inaction with a $200k donation from the NRA.
Regarding the abrupt adjournment, House Republican Chris Head (R-Botetourt) said, “We came up with a strategy that would neutralize the issues.. We needed to make it go away.”
On Monday, the NRA released grades for General Assembly candidates, and unsurprisingly scored House Republican candidates highly, including:
-Randy Minchew (A)
-Roxann Robinson (A)
-Tim Hugo (A)
-Rich Anderson (A)
-Kirk Cox (A)
-Chris Jones (A)
-Chris Stolle (A)
-Rocky Holcomb (A)
-David Yancey (A)
-Rob Bloxom (A)
-Glenn Davis (A-)
-Paul Milde (AQ)
-Ian Lovejoy (AQ)
-Garrison Coward (AQ)
-Colleen Holcomb (AQ)
The Democratic nominees in each of these districts received “F” grades due to their support for commonsense gun violence prevention laws.