Why Did Virginia Reject Government Grants to Help Reduce Gun Violence?

The level of gun violence in our Nation’s last 30 years has been, unfortunately, tragic and historic. We are blessed to live in a country where guerrilla warfare isn’t a way of life and random weekly bombings aren’t simply a part of the landscape. Although there have been weeks, well – gun violence has taken a toll on America.

That violence has stirred nearly every American citizen, resident of the country, and probably many illegal immigrants as well, to implore the U.S. government to do something. To do more. To think outside the box, to spend whatever needed to be spent to find solutions. We all just want to find answers. So that is why the state of Virginia (and their own unfortunate history contending with gun violence) was given a grant from the government for more than half a million dollars, $665,673 to be precise according to one story.

That story went on to report, that of course, the grateful state of Virginia rejected the grant. (Did you have to read that more than once?) That is correct, they rejected, declined or whatever it is you do when you turn away free grant monies.

Our aforementioned story began by saying, “Virginia officials turned down $665,673 in federal funds to fight gun crime… .” Then comes the one big question… no, the one after the expletives. Why?

As the story went on it said that Virginia decided to decline the grant, “rather than comply with federal requirements to share immigration information with federal authorities… .” And somehow that is supposed to explain this decision to refuse help addressing the gun violence problem in Virginia? Because we are protecting who? What? Why?

Based on what little information we have, it appears that the state of Virginia has some type of problem divulging information regarding the immigrants of that state. What could possibly give the government of Virginia any reason to be concerned about allowing the U.S. government access to its immigration records? Are they trying to protect the immigrants? From who, from what? The same government that opens its doors, offers them hope and life in the land of the free? Protect them from that government? Right, that doesn’t make any sense either.

Is it something darker and more unethical going on inside the chambers of Virginia’s leadership? A cheap labor farm system or something worse, what could it be that would prevent a state from accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars to use for fighting gun violence? Our story even reported the official rejection which stated that the “DCJS will not be able to comply with the requirements and the agency has formally declined the awards,” citing a Department of Justice memo. In case you are wondering yes, this decision has created some feedback.

One such source of that feedback came from Todd Gilbert, House of Delegates Republican majority leader who reportedly said, “the decision by the administration of Virginia Democratic Governor Ralph Northam to reject the money hampers the ability of the state to combat gun crime.”

Then Gilbert became a little more pointed and heated saying, “…Northam is more committed to protecting illegal immigrants than he is to fighting gun crime… .” Once again, protecting them from whom?

There is only one other even remotely plausible explanation for the decision to turn down this grant money and it isn’t any better than the others. Is it possible that this decision was strictly a partisan-based judgment? That this grant stems from a piece of Republican-led legislation tied to immigration reform, was that it? Maybe if this had a Democratic President’s signature, the decision would have been different?

Of all the issues and concerns we have in America that deserve our attention, few are louder than the gun violence issue. How awful would it be if progress and solutions to that problem were being held up and delayed because of partisanship? The truth is that we still don’t know what inspired the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services to reject this grant. We don’t know who is trying to protect who from who or from what.

With no other answers or reasoning at this point, however, it is looking like someone may need to start thinking about protecting the people of Virginia from some wayward leadership.

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