Two more instances of guns and their control have come up in the last several days -- one tragic and one political
On Saturday, Nick Clavier, 32, was driving his children, ages 9, 8, 6 and 4, on Hull Street Road in Chesterfield County. They were on their way for an afternoon of fishing.
Clavier had a concealed carry license and a handgun in the car. For some reason, police concluded, the loaded weapon, which was stashed under a seat, went off. The bullet struck Clavier in the head and killed him. No one apparently touched the gun. It just went off. The children were unharmed.
In an unrelated case, state Sen. William M. Stanley (R-Franklin), a powerful member of the General Assembly and a major opponent of gun-control changes, immediately sought police protection when he got a message from Andy Parker, the father of a Roanoke television journalist who was slain by a gunman on camera while doing an interview this summer.
The message said: "I’m going to be your worst nightmare, you little bastard.”
When police contacted Parker, he said he doesn’t have a gun and that he meant the statement in a political sense, not as a real physical threat.
On this morning's "Ask the Governor" show, broadcast on the Virginia News Network, Gov. Terry McAuliffe called Stanley's reaction a "political stunt."
"Come on, Bill, you're tougher than that," McAuliffe said of Sen. Stanley. "Man up." He told host Jimmy Barrett that Parker should have been smarter about his language, but that he would give him a break considering the circumstances.
Against this backdrop, you have Michael Bloomberg dropping $2.2 million in ads in Virginia races in the crucial 10th and 29th state senate districts promoting gun control. Part of the money is meant to boost Democratic candidate Dan Gecker in his race against Republican Glen Sturtevant.
This crucial race is one of the nastiest and the most expensive ever.
Its tone, in part, can be attributed to the way gun laws in pro-gun Virginia are changing. They had been made in tiny steps and faced a major political block in the General Assembly. But with the many high profile slayings and mass murders in the state or nation, that block is being chipped away a little faster.