On Dec. 21, 2012, Blacksburg Mayor Ron Rordam joined 11 other mayors in a conference call coordinated and led by Vice President Joe Biden, with the intention of discussing gun control methods. In an interview with the Collegiate Times, Rordam gave his stance on the discussion, as well as the Town of Blacksburg’s approach to a new era of gun violence.
Collegiate Times: What can you tell me about the call with Biden; what did you all discuss, and how long did it go on?
Ron Rordam: The call itself was for about an hour and 40 minutes. It was with 11 mayors from around the country. Some of the mayors from where some of the shootings had taken place were on the call. Everybody just laid out different experiences as to what had happened, and talked about different possible ideas they had. It was a good conversation from the local level. The mayor of Philadelphia was on there, and of course, he lives within a different level than we do here, so there were a lot of different viewpoints.
CT: What might you say about Biden’s candor during the call?
RR: (laughing) He’s great; he’s great. I got to tell you, I love him.
CT: I understand President Obama has put Biden in charge of leading discussion in the matters of gun control. What did he talk about as far as his aim for the discussion?
RR: His aim was to gather our input, with specifics, and from experiences (we’ve had). He’s been very involved with mayors over the years. Some of these mayors he goes back with a long way. When he was here in Blacksburg, I got to meet him, but I didn’t know him very well. So it was a good cross section. He threw out some ideas the President had thrown out: ideas about background checks, mental health, technology and how technology can in the future help with safety.
CT: Did he express what he was able to take away from this, and if he was going to be able to implement anything he learned from the discussion?
RR: I think he did; I remember there was a lot of talk from some of the mayors from different cities about the size of the clips, and the rounds within the clips, and I think that’s one of the key points of the President’s plan — to keep a maximum of ten rounds in a clip.
CT: Were any other mayors that you specifically talked to during this conference call?
RR: No … we all talked back and forth. Though actually I talked to Mayor Hogan from Aurora (Colorado), who was on the call — I had talked to them after their incident last summer.
CT: As mayor of Blacksburg, what did you have to offer in the call?
RR: I talked about some of the mental health aspects and the holes in that system. And of course that goes into background checks, and I talked about school resource officers, and that’s been implemented in the plan. And another thing I talked about at the very end is that it’s important to remember the trauma a community goes through when something like this happens. It has this ripple effect that spreads out within a community. And as we talk about these proposals, we can’t forget the victims. The victims range from those who didn’t make it, the injured, the families, the first responders, and so many other people … It never goes back to the same.
CT: What is the Town of Blacksburg’s approach on the gun control debate right now?