Virginia gun control leader takes a wrong turn
By Michael R Shannon
Chris Hurst is a lot like Parkland shooting publicity hound David Hogg. Both have used an association with violence as a stepping stone to advance their career. Hogg parlayed Parkland into a spot at Harvard and Hurst parlayed the publicity surrounding the televised shooting death of his girlfriend into a spot in the House of Delegates.
Naturally, Hurst is very concerned about “gun violence.” His campaign website lists it as a public health menace.
During the Virginia Citizens Defense League rally — when over 22,000 armed, law–abiding citizens peaceably gathered to show their opposition to the leftist legislature’s plan to collectively punish gun owners — Hurst made a big deal out of opening his office to shelter nelly teenagers frightened by inanimate objects.
“I brought pillows and blankets, they brought their bravery and courage to lobby lawmakers when armed militias are outside,” Hurst tweeted.
Afterwards, when nothing happened, Hurst bravely drew a line in the Stainmaster and declared, “We will not be deterred in our mission to save lives.”
Hurst thinks limiting honest people to buying one firearm a month, requiring law enforcement background checks when a private owner sells or loans a firearm and allowing vindictive ex–wives to have the police seize your guns will make Virginia a blue–tinted Garden of Eden.
But “public safety” is your campaign issue it’s more than a little embarrassing to be pulled over in Christiansburg, VA at 2 AM last weekend on suspicion of drunk driving. When the officer approached Hurst’s car, “he noticed that the driver’s eyes were red and he smelled the odor of alcohol coming from within the vehicle.”
Mr. Safety blew 0.085 on the breathalyzer — which is over the legal limit — but the officer didn’t arrest him even though the police report said Hurst’s vehicle swerved repeatedly and exceeded the speed limit.
When news of the drunk driving stop became public, voters learned Hurst has something else in common with Hogg: he’s arrogant and self–righteous, too.
The Roanoke Times quoted Hurst’s curt explanation, “You know, it is what it is. I didn’t get arrested. I didn’t get cited. But yes, I did have a traffic stop and did submit to a Breathalyzer test.”
His defiant stand lasted about as long as you’d expect for a man who thinks teenagers hiding in his office are “brave.”
Now he’s extra special sorry, “This experience has humbled me in a profound way …While I knew the dangers of drinking and driving ahead of time, I displayed poor judgement and made a mistake ...To those I have let down, I am deeply sorry.”
Drunk driving is a big deal in Virginia when a citizen does it. The DMV reports in 2018 there were 278 alcohol–related driving fatalities, which is “the highest number of fatalities involving alcohol since 2010.”
That’s a genuine public safety issue which should be right in Hurst’s steering–wheelhouse so to speak. And it’s an excellent opportunity for Hurst to make a good–faith effort to demonstrate to Virginia’s gun owners that he’s willing to impose comparable “public safety” requirements on himself.
Although in truth the situation between gun owners and Hurst isn’t really equivalent, since Hurst has already demonstrated he’s a menace and law–abiding gun owners are, by definition, law–abiding.
If Hurst isn’t a hypocrite, he should announce he’s installing an ignition interlock device on his car that requires him to breathe into it and prove he’s not tipsy before the car will start. And it should be one of the upscale systems that incorporates facial recognition. That way Hurst won’t succumb to the temptation to have his girlfriend — who was with him when he was stopped — breathe into the device in his place.
Savvy gun owners will say, yeah what if Hurst borrows a car that doesn’t have an interlock?
Good point. And there’s a comparable remedy based on what Hurst is imposing on gun owners.
He can commit to only borrowing a car from a friend or relative once a month, but first Hurst has to be driven to the nearest police substation and pass a breathalyzer test.
It’s cheap, easy and a small price to pay for safety.
Finally, Hurst can buy a burner phone for a neighbor he’s not on good terms with and ask her to keep an eye on him. If he starts bringing too many boxes from the ABC store into his house or he posts pictures of alcohol on social media the neighbor can call the authorities and have Hurst’s car impounded.
Here’s a chance for a gun–grabber who’s crossed the line to impose the same type of sanctions on himself he’s so eager to impose on gun owners. I predict safety or not, it’s a chance he won’t grab.
Michael R. Shannon is a public relations and advertising consultant with corporate, government and political experience around the globe. He is a dynamic and entertaining keynote speaker. He can be reached at mandate.mmpr (at) gmail.com. He is also the author of Conservative Christian's Guidebook for Living in Secular Times (Now with added humor!).