A fiery speech about gun rights brought the Virginia House of Delegates to a halt on Friday, with many Democrats walking out of the chamber and then calling for a recess to try to calm their anger.
Del. Nick Freitas (R-Culpeper) set off the reaction with remarks that began by defending Republican resistance to gun-control measures in the wake of the Florida school shooting, but wound up blaming “the abortion industry” for fostering a broken society and castigating the Democratic Party for segregation and the Japanese internment camps of World War II.
He was responding to recent criticism that Republicans have blood on their hands for failing to act on gun violence. “I would really appreciate it if every time you want to make a powerful point, you don’t project the sins, the atrocities and the injustices that the Democratic Party perpetrated onto others onto us,” said Freitas, who is running for the Republican nomination to challenge Sen. Tim Kaine this year. Four others are seeking the GOP nomination, including Corey Stewart, the chairman of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors, who equates gun control with castration and is holding campaign events at gun ranges.
After Democrats settled down, Del. Joseph Lindsey (D-Norfolk) told the House that “today, I have been offended as I can never recall since being a part of this body. And I have seen many of my colleagues emotionally shaken and bothered by either a lack of concern for facts or just simply playing to the cameras, I don’t know which.”