The footage was taken from a live stream of a January 4 meeting and disseminated widely on social media this week.
Several residents in attendance expressed concerns about proposed restrictions on firearms ownership, which have sparked grass roots opposition throughout Virginia and resulted in 9 out of 10 counties in the state declaring themselves “Second Amendment sanctuaries.”
During a recess, state Sen. David Marsden was caught on a hot mic appearing to ask Virginia House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn if she was “going to stick around for the 10 o’clock gun guys?”
After a brief exchange with Filler-Corn, Marsden can be heard saying, “They’re just like little kids.”
At another point in the video, he is heard saying, “As long as we just don’t respond to them.”
Commenters on social media were outraged by the remarks, which were at first attributed to Dick Saslaw, a Virginia state senator who, like Marsden, is a fierce proponent of gun control.
Marsden has clashed with pro-gun state residents before.
Video uploaded to YouTube recently shows Marsden engaging in a back and forth with gun owners in July.
“The problem we have to solve is the fact that your gun is just temporarily in your control,” Marsden said. “But that gun will go on and you have no ability to control who it goes to or what they’ll do.”
Marsden addressed the topic of gun violence in an op-ed published by The Washington Post in July, dismissing gun rights activists’ fears that their fierarms would be taken away as “irrational.”
“I have been exposed to numerous gun-related incidents that never made the news but convinced me that our possession and use of firearms must be thoughtfully regulated,” he wrote.
“Doing nothing is no longer an option,” Marsden added, in reference to restrictions on firearms possession.
Neither Marsden nor Filler-Corn immediately returned Pluralist’s request for comment.
Virginia gun control
Virginia finds itself in the midst of a fierce ideological battle over the issue of gun control.
The state’s Democrats, who in November seized control of both houses of the state’s legislature for the first time in more than two decades, made gun control laws a focus of their campaigns.
Democrats’ electoral triumph sparked concerns about increased restrictions on firearms possession, which the state’s pro-gun advocates say infringe on their Second Amendment rights.
Several proposals, including an “assault weapons” ban backed by Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam, prompted outrage in a wide swathe of rural localities across the state.
Democrats announced earlier this month they were amending the pending ban on “assault weapons” in the face of political pressure.
An early draft of the bill would have made it a felony to possess any firearm defined as an “assault weapon.” Gun rights groups were particularly concerned by the lack of an exception for those who already possess such weapons.
The move to confiscate guns faced immense grassroots opposition in the state, which has seen an overwhelming majority of its counties declare themselves “Second Amendment sanctuaries.”
One southwestern Virginia county went even further, passing a resolution authorizing funding for the formation of a well-regulated militia.
- Dave Marsden.: Screen grab