Handguns for sale at a gun shop in Merrimack, N.H. (Dominick Reuter/AFP/Getty Images)

Regarding E.J. Dionne Jr.’s June 6 op-ed, “The gun showdown in Virginia”:

Virginia is a blue state, with all statewide offices held by Democrats. But for gerrymandering, Democrats would control the General Assembly, as well. Nevertheless, over the past few election cycles, the Republican majority in Richmond has dwindled to just two seats in both chambers of the statehouse as pro-gun-safety legislators have replaced them.

It’s time for the Virginia Republicans still left standing to read the writing on the wall and stop behaving as though their districts are impenetrable bastions of conservative values — they clearly are not. The Republican majority has for years thwarted every single attempt to improve gun safety. Just this January, it blocked a bill to ban sales of large-capacity magazines that could have reduced the scale of the Virginia Beach tragedy. There’s little space left in the commonwealth for this kind of take-no-prisoners stance on gun policy, and Virginia Republicans must wake up to this reality if they want to stay relevant. They must get ready to break from their party’s decades-long, monolithic anti-gun-safety voting bloc and prepare to work with Gov. Ralph Northam (D) and their Democratic colleagues to pass the comprehensive gun policy reform that Virginia needs.

Gloria Pan, Herndon

The writer is director of the gun-safety campaign
at MomsRising.

The June 5 news article Deputy who did not confront Parkland shooter is arrested” reported the arrest of former Broward County, Fla., sheriff’s deputy Scot Peterson on charges of criminal negligence stemming from his failure to take reasonable actions to prevent the shooting deaths at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last year. 

It will be determined by the courts whether such charges of negligence for failure to perform one’s duties can be criminally prosecuted. However, if they can be, then the people who truly should be prosecuted for such a failure are the state and national legislators who have failed to take any action to prevent easy access to assault weapons and large-capacity ammunition magazines.

The evidence that their easy availability in the United States leads to countless mass shootings is overwhelming. Mass killings by gunmen in the United States far outpace such shootings in all other modern industrialized countries. Yet our representatives do nothing to stem the availability of these weapons to those who would do harm to us and our children.  

I await their prosecution.  

Martin L. Grossman, Bethesda