Gov. McAuliffe calls for gun control in wake of Alexandria shooting

Gun rights activists called the timing of the governor's comments inappropriate

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (WRIC) — Just hours after the shooting that injured several people during a GOP baseball practice in Alexandria on Wednesday, Governor Terry McAuliffe joined local and federal law enforcement at a news conference. The governor made brief comments before stepping away from the microphone.

“I want to compliment the U.S. Capitol Police for their quick action and through their heroic efforts and others they save a lot of lives,” McAuliffe said.

But when asked if more needs to be done to protect politicians, the governor again made the argument for more gun control.

“I think we need to do more to protect all of our citizens,” he said. “I have long advocated, this isn’t what today is about, but there are too many guns on the street.”

The governor says it’s a serious issue he talks about every day.

“Background checks, shutting down gun show loopholes. That’s not for today’s discussion, but it’s not just about politicians. We worry about this every day for all our citizens,” said McAuliffe.

While McAuliffe said it was not a topic for today, he was still taking heat from gun rights activists.

“It just politicizes something that shouldn’t be politicized, at least not at that stage,” said Philip Van Cleave with the Virginia Citizens Defense League, a gun-rights group.

Van Cleave called the timing of the governor’s comments inappropriate.

“That’s especially inappropriate for him being the governor of the state before you know exactly what’s happened, even if it seems fairly obvious,” said Van Cleave.

Van Cleave says he wasn’t planning to have the gun debate Wednesday, but felt the need to say something in light of the governor’s comments.

“Our argument is strengthened on the pro-gun side by what happened because again it shows the urgency of having someone on scene right then and there who’s armed,” said Van Cleave.

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