A pro-gun advocate isn't surprised that Virginia Democrats have declared war on Confederate statues.
Last week – largely along party lines – the Democrat-led Virginia House and Senate passed measures that would give cities and counties the autonomy to "remove, relocate, contextualize, cover or alter" the monuments in their public spaces. The move was a response to critics who say Confederate monuments distastefully glorify Virginia's history as a slaveholding state.
Democratic Governor Ralph Northam supports the move, as well as a measure advancing through both chambers that lays out a process for removing a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee that Virginia contributed to the U.S. Capitol grounds.
Mike Hammond is legislative counsel to Gun Owners of America, which is based in Virginia.
"To say we're going to whitewash our history because we don't like some of things that some of our predecessors did – I mean, who is blameless under that?" he asks. "George Washington? No, he owned slaves. Thomas Jefferson?"
Hammond points out that these complaints are centered around monuments that were erected in the 20th century, decades after the Civil War had ended and during the "throes of Jim Crow."
"Jim Crow laws were definitely a product of Democrat rule in the South, not Republican rule," he points out. "And so if, in fact, we want to … revisit the sins of all of our ancestors and start trying to whitewash or erase history, I think that's going to be a longer and more complex exercise than our politically correct, liberal friends now realize."
Editor's note: Image above is of a toppled Confederate statue in Durham, NC.