Washington COG expected to reconsider gun violence measure
In March the COG's endorsement of a gun-safety resolution from the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) provoked fierce political reactions and threats from member various jurisdictions, including Loudoun County. An independent nonprofit made up of 300 elected officials, the COG aims to address unique regional issues in the District of Columbia, suburban Maryland and Northern Virginia.
The Loudoun Board of Supervisors on March 14 unanimously approved withholding the $250,000 of COG dues for fiscal 2014 until the organization rescinds its endorsement of the IACP resolution, which calls for a ban on assault weapons, closing the “gun-show loophole,” creating a national registry for people who have been convicted of felony firearm violations, prohibiting the sale of armor-piercing ammunition and several other gun-control measures.
The City of Fairfax, Manassas City, Prince William County and Frederick County have taken similar action to Loudoun, threatening to leave to the COG if they don't reverse course on the gun-control resolution.
Since Bulova voted in favor of supporting the IACP's call for action she can reintroduce the measure in accord with parliamentary procedure, something she said she plans to do.
Bulova said she understands both sides of the conundrum; she believes there are strong proposals in the IACP resolution, but at the same time respects the dissenting jurisdictions' stance.
“Elected officials who are members of COG do not agree on everything, but working together we have been able to address many of the struggles we share across our borders,” Bulova stated in an email to a constituent and obtained by the Times-Mirror. “Hopefully we’ll be able to bring this approach to the issues associated with gun violence and safety, mental health and safety within our schools.”
The Fairfax chairman initiated a substitute motion to send the IACP resolution to committee during the March meeting, but that measure failed on a 10-10 vote, something Loudoun County Supervisor Matt Letourneau (R-Dulles) said highlights the stark divide on the issue.
Letourneau and Loudoun board Chairman Scott York (R-At Large) represent the county on the COG. The two oppose endorsing the IACP resolution because they say it shows COG is picking an unnecessary, politically-charged issue rather than dealing with unique regional matters, namely transportation.
Loudoun threatening to leave the COG isn't meant to belittle the importance of gun violence or public safety in the region, but it's a question of whether gun control is a measure the COG can do anything about, Letourneau said. Essentially, it's a state or federal issue, he noted.
The Loudoun board's political standpoint in March came just three days before a local 16-year-old, Caleb Gordley, was shot and killed after accidentally entering the wrong house in Sterling while intoxicated.
Gun violence has been a heated national topic since Dec. 14, 2012, when 26 students and staff members were murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., by a lone gunman.
According to the news site Slate, at least 3,025 people have been killed by guns since the massacre in Newtown.
Jeanne Saddler, COG's public affairs director, said the organization's leadership has considered the input from Loudoun and Frederick counties and the City of Fairfax, and is working to ensure all member jurisdictions remain in the group.