It was the latest example of Virginia Democrats being singled out for their support of gun control.
Pro-gun activists have also mocked the Jewish faith of Filler-Corn (D-Fairfax) and Senate Majority Leader Richard L. Saslaw (D-Fairfax). In addition, several lawmakers reported receiving threats ahead of Monday’s rally, which was organized by the VCDL and drew tens of thousands to Richmond, including members of militias and some extremist groups that threatened violence in online postings.
VCDL President Philip Van Cleave had echoed the urgent tone of his supporters about the need to protect gun rights but warned attendees to stay peaceful at the event. Amid a massive police presence, authorities reported one arrest, of a person who refused police instructions to remove a bandanna that was shielding her face.
Van Cleave said Friday that the Instagram account is relatively new and is maintained by an “executive member” of his group. But he said that he is not personally active on Instagram and had not seen the post, which had garnered more than 1,750 likes and drawn several comments critical of Filler-Corn as of late Friday afternoon. Van Cleave added that the photo and caption did not come from leaders of his organization, though it may have been posted by a member, and said there were no immediate plans to take it down or apologize.
The post refers to a 1996 carjacking in the parking lot of Springfield Mall in Fairfax County. Filler-Corn had just put her 6-month-old daughter in a stroller and was getting her 2½ -year-old son out of his car seat when a man came up behind her and demanded her purse and keys.
She managed to pull her son out of the back of the car just as the man got in and drove away, narrowly missing her daughter in the stroller. The incident was the first in a series of carjackings in the area, and Filler-Corn was interviewed by news outlets, without her name being used.
Since being elected to the legislature a decade ago, she has mentioned the incident a handful of times in speeches on the House floor.
Filler-Corn said Friday that she was offended by the VCDL item.
“It’s disturbing. I’m just shocked that this is okay in this day and age,” she said. “They’re literally dealing with my children, and that’s not appropriate.”
As she spoke, a House committee was considering several gun-control bills supported by the legislature’s new Democratic majority and Gov. Ralph Northam (D), including measures to limit handgun purchases to one per month and instituting universal background checks.
Democrats who won control of the General Assembly in November’s elections have promised to pass the measures.
“The bottom line is, we’re going to move forward on legislation today and this session that will save lives, and that’s what’s important,” Filler-Corn said.
Laura Vozzella contributed to this report.