By Jeff Hulbert
Virginia State Senator David Marsden wants you know he is filled with regret after his most recent “listening session” with Second Amendment activists.
Marsden was caught on an open microphone at a hearing this past week disparaging gun rights supporters as childish, and even mentally ill.
Sen. Marsden has now gone public to talk of his deep sorrow, and to offer a heartfelt apology.
He wants to tell you how sorry he is for not voicing his smears LOUDER and EARLIER, before his comments were picked up on a hot mic.
Yes, Sen. Marsden says that rather than have gun rights supporters overhear what he calls “a private conversation” while chatting with now Virginia House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn, Marsden says if he had to do it all over again he should have just told off folks right to their faces that day.
As witnessed by scores of listeners who were tuned in to a budget session livestream, here is that “private conversation” that was overheard this past Saturday:
Sen. David Marsden: Are you going to stick around for the 10 o’clock gun nuts?
Virginia House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn: These people are crazy.
Marsden: Yeah just like little kids.
Filler-Corn: Do you think they will stay calm?
Marsden: Yeah, as long as we don’t respond to them.
Marsden: We will get though this.
The backlash was substantial, to say the least.
Sen. Marsden’s comments— a liberal anti-gun Democrat representing a portion of the reflexively liberal Northern Virginia region that borders the nation’s capital—unleashed a blizzard of scathing phone calls, texts and emails to him coming from citizens from as far away as the Shenandoah foothills and the Tidewater regions that hug the Chesapeake Bay.
So, whether it would be regarded as gutsy or foolhardy, Marsden agreed to explain himself to Vince Coglianese and Mary Walter, the morning hosts on WMAL-FM in Washington DC—a station with a signal reaches well into central Virginia.
From that live program, here is Sen. Marsden, in his own words, recounting the horror that flowed from smearing gun rights folks as childish and/or mentally unstable.
“I got lit up with kind every vulgar, obscene, angry email and text. I’ve been getting calls day and night, obscene, vulgar, threatening phone calls. I mean we’re not talking a couple. We’re talking about well over a hundred”.
Marsden admits he was annoyed that some gun rights supporters at the budget hearings spoke out of turn when they heard the repeated, anguished pleas for more gun control—infringements that would turn the law-abiding into felons.
On the air, Marsden denied using the term “gun nuts” while chatting with House Speaker Filler-Corn, saying that his actual worlds were “this is nuts”—but adding this postscript for the radio listeners: “these folks are acting like children”.
Asked in a follow-up if the Senator regretted using disparaging language—not only earlier in the week—but again right there on the radio, Marsden doubled down.
“In retrospect”, Marsden told the WMAL audience, “what I should have done at some point was just to address the group about their poor, childish behavior at this event. I regret that you get picked up on a mic. I should have said it to them directly”.
Sen. Marsden also refused to back away from recent written comments to some constituents suggesting that he regards agitated Second Amendment supporters as being mentally unbalanced or mentally unstable.
“What I was telling people was that the responses I was getting were from people who show signs of having, uh, mental health difficulties. The vulgarity—I mean people calling me up and saying things about my mother and my grandmother and these kinds of disturbing comments that had nothing to do with the issue….uh, this is very concerning”.
Stretching credulity to the breaking point, Sen. Marsden suggested that the 2A community talks repeatedly about mental illness issues and should share his alarm about the lack of stability of the “gun nuts” dropping agitated texts, emails and voicemails on him.
“There are a lot of people who have mental health issues that are, uh, engaged on the issue and that is a concern to all of us”.
The Senator has been feuding the Virginia gun rights supporters for years. He was an early acolyte of former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s gun control propositions—as voiced though the funded appearances of Moms Demand Action, Everytown, USA and other groups.
Four years ago, Sen. Marsden warmed the hearts of Michael Bloomberg’s minions everywhere with a sign over his office door that read:
“Welcome gun lobby day members. I know you mean well. But if it isn’t too much trouble, stop trying to save our lives….
Too many people are getting killed in the effort.
—-Senator Dave Marsden”
Campaign contribution documents show Marsden and Bloomberg go way back, with Bloomberg stuffing a $25,000 check into Marsden’s campaign coffers in 2011.
Before closing out his unusual “mea culpa” on WMAL-FM, the Senator wanted all to know how much he embraces the Second Amendment when it’s time for getting cash from a bank machine.
“I am favor of concealed carry. I don’t have any objections to that. I think that we are, uh, largely safer at ATM machines because there are a number of Virginians who do conceal carry”.
The ATM posse riding to the rescue! Who knew?
So as not to miss any hot buttons, Sen. Marsden then pivoted to red flag laws in his final minute of the interview. His WMAL hosts suggested, correctly, that red flag laws strip due process in favor of “guilty before proven innocent” provisions.
Once again, the Senator made news when he announced:
When you go before a court you have to have evidence, you can’t just go in and make a claim and have something happen. Uh…but if a judge gives someone an order and says I want you to go to the, uh, mental health service board, say in Fairfax County and that you have completed your treatment then they send in a letter. You don’t have to go back to court and get a lawyer or whatever. You’ve completed what the judge has asked you to do and you get your guns back.
As far as Senator Marsden is concerned, losing your guns (a civil right) is just like losing your driver’s license (a privilege) and getting it back by going to driving school.
Someday, maybe the Senator can diagram the “Gun Owner’s Mental Illness Loop” that seemingly has no end.
Citizen obtains gun ===> becomes obsessed and agitated about losing it ===> thus becomes mentally unfit to possess it ===> is pacified by having the firearm removed ===> only to become mentally agitated again by regaining possession of said firearm.
Or something like that.
Marsden seems to have the solution to this conundrum, but he has yet to be overheard revealing it on a hot mic.
Fear not, though. The 2020 Virginia General Assembly is just now being called to order and that place is infested with microphones.
Jeff Hulbert is the founder of Patriot Picket.