2020 Constituent Survey


Delegate Stephen E. Heretick


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1. Some states have taken steps to legalize recreational marijuana for adults. Supporters of legalization say it increases revenue for state and local governments, reduces prison populations, provides medical benefits, and expands individual freedom. Opponents say clinical data has not proven marijuana’s safety and they fear an increase in both car accidents and youth usage of marijuana. Do you believe that recreational marijuana should be legal for adults 21 years of age and older in Virginia?
2. Casino gambling is not currently legal in Virginia, but recently, there have been proposals to change existing law and establish casinos in several economically-distressed localities. Proponents of casino gambling point to the potential for economic development and increased state revenue that could be used to fund core government services, such as education or transportation. Opponents contend casino gambling enables addictive behavior, leads to strains on social services, and preys upon the hopes of poor people.  Do you support Virginia allowing casino gambling?
3.  Pipelines for oil and gas are a controversial issue in Virginia. Supporters say it will increase jobs, increase safety in transporting oil and gas, and reduce electric bills. Opponents argue the risk to the environment, reduction of private land rights, and increasing the dependency on fossil fuels outweigh the benefits. Do you support allowing the construction of new pipelines in Virginia?
4. Many scientists believe we must take immediate action to combat man-made climate change. Based on your understanding, how do you feel about this issue?
5. In 2013, Republicans in Virginia passed a law requiring a photo-ID in order to vote. Advocates say this is an important protection against election fraud, while opponents contend it is an unnecessary restriction on voting rights that disproportionately impacts minorities and elderly Virginians, who are less likely to have a government-issued ID. This year, the General Assembly will consider bills which would change or repeal this law.  Do you support or oppose REQUIRING PHOTO-ID for all persons to be able to exercise their right to vote?
6. Do you support allowing localities to relocate, remove, or destroy Confederate war monuments?
7. The General Assembly has been asked to repeal Virginia’s “pre-emption” law. Currently, Virginia law prohibits localities from passing gun regulations outside of the framework of state law. Proponents of changing this rule argue that localities should have the right to pass gun restrictions to protect their local communities. However, gun-rights advocates say allowing local governments to make different gun laws would make it extremely confusing, and potentially criminal, for any person to travel around the Commonwealth while armed. Concerns have also been raised that these new restrictions are likely to be in urban areas where the enforcement of such gun restrictions might disproportionately affect minority populations. Do you support allowing local control over gun restrictions, or do you oppose the repeal (keeping a statewide standard for gun laws)?
8. Proposed legislation would create emergency gun violence restraining orders (Also known as “Red Flag” Laws) to remove firearms from dangerous individuals. This process would allow family members or other members of the community to go before a magistrate or judge in an ex parte hearing and argue why someone should have their firearms confiscated.  Supporters of this proposal say this is a commonsense measure that could help get firearms away from people before they act criminally. These supporters point to situations where mass shooters posted on social media or gave other clues prior to their shooting sprees. Gun-rights advocates argue this proposal would violate due process since the respondent (gun owner) is not notified of the initial proceeding and only made aware when law enforcement shows up to seize their weapons. Gun-rights advocates fear these orders could be used maliciously by estranged family members or other nefarious individuals to send law enforcement to the homes of someone who may not actually be a danger. Supporters of “red flag” laws say that in an emergency situation, where a mass shooting may be imminent, there is not time to wait days for a hearing and it might be dangerous to risk notifying someone whose guns maybe subject to removal. Gun-rights advocates say despite the risk to public safety, we should not allow the government to temporarily confiscate someone’s firearms without a full judicial hearing. Do you support the creation of emergency gun violence restraining orders (also known as “Red Flag” Laws?
9. Proposed legislation would place a ban on “large capacity” magazines (More than 10 bullets). Supporters of the ban say that limiting the number of bullets in a magazine could reduce the number of casualties in a mass shooting. Gun-rights advocates argue that higher capacity magazines are necessary for self-defense, especially against groups of armed criminals in home invasion type situations. Gun-rights advocates also argue that the definition of a “large capacity” magazine is arbitrary. However, supporters of a ban say that it is in the interest of public safety to ensure we reduce the capacity for those to inflict mass casualties. Supporters argue this is an important step, taken together with others, to limit the capacity of mass carnage. Do you support a ban on “large capacity” magazines (More than 10 bullets)?
10. Proposed legislation would require universal background checks for all firearms transfers. Currently those who buy firearms through a licensed dealer must go through a background check. However, private citizens can give or sell firearms to other individuals (private sales) without a background check (also called “Gun Show Loophole”). Supporters of universal background checks say it is a commonsense measure to ensure that those prohibited from owning firearms cannot buy them. Some opponents argue that the law is unnecessary, because most criminals get their guns illegally and therefore would still not be subject to background checks. Other opponents say this would prohibit giving firearms to your family members or even sharing firearms without involving the government (For example, if you loaned a gun to a relative to go to the range a background check would be required). Some gun-rights advocates think universal background checks are part of a sinister plan to create a gun registry to prepare for gun confiscation later. Those supporting background checks say ensuring public safety is far outweighed by any inconvenience that may be experienced by a few gun owners. Do you support universal background checks for all gun transfers and sales?