Testimony to VSCC 8/20/19, Morgan Johns

Morgan Johns’ testimony before the Virginia State Crime Commission hearings on proposed Gun Safety Legislation. Here is her statement:

Links to videos:
August 19th                August 20th

Good afternoon,

 

My name is Morgan Johns and I appreciate the opportunity to speak today.

 

Young people are always looking down at their phones, aren’t they? Scrolling through selfies, sunsets – shooting, shooting, #Gilroystrong,  #Daytonstrong, #ElPasostrong, 34 dead, 64 wounded in one week – we are algorithmically predisposed to look down because we are terrified to look up.

 

I once missed days of school because two students were planning to open fire during an evacuation they’d instigate. They’re still in jail. Earlier this year, I was standing across the wall from shots fired in student housing. A couple of weeks ago, I was threatened to be “shot in the face” on the street.

 

By keeping military-grade weapons easily accessible, you are drafting people like me onto the front lines. It should go without saying that more gun usage means more potential for gun violence. That is kindergarten logic – and if you think that comparison is inappropriate, remember that they are currently being told to lay still and act dead in active shooter drills. That is how you are raising the next generation. 

 

In response to the opposition – 

 

If you claim self-defense as a motive, I would ask – from whom are you actually defending yourself? Chances are, it is an irrational, hate-based fear. Of course your individual life is important, but to protect it against a pretense at the expense of hundreds dying weekly is shameful.

 

Speaker Cox’s original recommendation for Governor Northam to respond to Virginia Beach through our same protocols as Parkland and, more notably, Virginia Tech, is incredibly ignorant to the exponential frequency and normalization since them. Not to mention that those supposed protocols failed to prevent the 11,000 deaths occurring as a result.

 

Today, the opposition itself has stated that universal background checks, magazine limits, and mental illness checks would not have prevented any mass shootings from VT forward – thus, inherently arguing that the only prevention could have been a lack of gun access. As someone said, sober drivers are not to blame for drunk driving accidents – but alcohol is.

 

I have witnessed many such as this, where leaders did just that – hearing – not necessarily listening. Remember that the line separating the two is only ever as wide as the thread used to stitch up a bullet wound.

 

Thank you.

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