After the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary, horror and outrage prompted lawmakers in Connecticut, Maryland, New York and a handful of other states to implement tough new gun restrictions, says the Washington Post. But since its own tragedy seven years ago at Virginia Tech, Virginia has gone in the other direction. Over the six full legislative sessions since Seung Hui Cho's rampage left 32 dead, it is gun rights, not gun restrictions, that have grown stronger.
Rising-star Republican Todd Gilbert, a former Shenandoah Valley prosecutor and the deputy majority leader in Virginia's House of Delegates, is a big reason why. Gilbert saw the destructive power of guns in criminal hands, and his antidote is keeping them in good hands. Gilbert and his allies have had a series of wins in the years since: They dropped the state's one-gun-a-month limit on purchasing handguns. They allowed concealed firearms in bars and restaurants, and guns in glove boxes.