WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- They usually work on issues like transportation and the environment, so why is the Metropolitan Washington Council Of Governments taking a stand on gun control? That's what some Virginian lawmakers are asking tonight.
Cleaning up the Potomac? Check. Helping build the Metro? Check. Fixing up roads? Check. But, gun control? Corey Stewart, Chairman of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors says. "The council of governments has no business in this issue."
It seems the Council of Governments, or COG, recently endorsed a strict position on gun violence. It was mid-March, when COG endorsed the International Association of Chiefs of Police position on gun control. They stand for universal background checks and a ban on military style assault weapons and high capacity magazines. Stewart explains what he thinks the position would do: "....reinstate the assault rifle ban, and all other sources of infringements on the second amendment."
The Republican Lt. Governor-hopeful disagrees wholeheartedly with this position, and it looks like he's not alone. In it's 50-plus year existence, Stewart says COG has never gotten involved in this kind of national, hot-button issue.
Twenty-two jurisdictions make up COG. Now, five of them are pushing back on this gun control stance: Loudoun County, Fairfax County, Prince William County, the City of Alexandria, and the City of Manassas. And Stewart doesn't mince words as to why, "It's a back door attempt by liberals in Maryland and Washington to affect Virginian's gun laws."
We relayed that thought to Chuck Bean, COG's Executive Director, He says COG's Board are "constructively discussing this issue among themselves" and he believes this can be resolved within a week. He says three of the five who disagree with COG's position are now working towards finding some common ground.
Stewart says he's voting with the County's wallet, "We pay almost $300,000 per year, Prince William County does, to the council of governments, this resolution that I'm putting forward tonight would take those dues away until the COG reverses it's position."
After this interview, the resolution passed 7 to 1.