My local community has seen an uptick in violent crime since Coronavirus arrived last spring. The neighborhood listserv, which used to be filled with “free on the curb” sort of posts, is now populated with dire warnings about break-ins, carjackings, assaults, aggressive panhandlers, even sexual assaults and murders.

Sadly, far-Left Democrats in Virginia want to make it harder for women to protect themselves and their families.

One of the most-horrendous crimes that occurred in my Democrat Party-controlled city involved a rape victim who was murdered by the man who had attacked her. In July 2020, Ibrahim Bouaichi shot and killed Karla Gonzalez just after she’d testified against him in the rape trial. Soon after Gonzalez testified, the trial judge in the case released Bouaichi over concerns about COVID-19, though he did not require Bouaichi to wear an ankle bracelet. In other words, he was free to hunt her down and kill her.

Gonzalez’s murder is certainly the worst example of the rising violence in my community, but there have been other crimes, mostly victimizing women.

On Christmas Eve, a woman was carjacked while loading groceries into her car in what used to be a low-crime area of the city. That same week, in broad daylight, two men assaulted a woman who was sitting in her parked car, outside of a Costco, which is also located in a low-crime area. Another woman, who was walking on a popular, busy street filled with restaurants, bars and shops, was grabbed and groped by a man. Her masked assailant was never found. A few weeks later, a man brandishing a weapon approached a woman idling at a red light in a residential area. She was able to drive away and call the police, yet her masked assailant was not found.

Seeing a common thread here? These criminals largely targeted women. And each assailant wore a mask, making it difficult for the police to get an accurate description aside from height and build. The audaciousness of these crimes—committed in broad daylight, in high traffic, low-crime areas—is evidence that these criminals have no fear of being identified by the victim or by high-tech monitoring devices, such as home-security cameras or Ring brand doorbells.

Women I know are nervous and feel this will only get worse, especially if economic shut downs continue and if employers for low-skilled workers, such as restaurants and entertainment venues, continue to have their businesses curtailed or close altogether.

Yet, Virginia anti-Second Amendment politicians aren’t interested in tackling crime or helping the Virginia economy recover. Instead, in an almost comically tone deaf move, these politicians have made it harder—yes, harder!—for women to protect themselves and their families against violent criminals. During the 2020 session, the General Assembly passed a bill to tighten the training requirements for getting a conceal-carry permit by taking away the option to attend an online-safety course. That legislation took effect on January 1, 2021.

During the 2020 special session, the Virginia Senate unanimously passed SB 5041, which would have delayed the in-person training requirement until July 1, 2021. But, the House of Delegates failed to pass the measure.

Why does this matter so much to women? Consider how the pandemic has affected women’s employment. According to the National Women’s Law Center, 2.2 million women left the labor force between February and October of 2020, due to family needs during the coronavirus pandemic. The Bipartisan Policy Center also found that women were twice as likely as men to say they left work for caregiving responsibilities due to childcare provider or school closures.

The point is, women are now at home caring for children and helping them with their online schoolwork. They need the flexibility that these online safety courses offer and the ability to attend them even if they can’t leave home.

Yet, there’s a more-important reason that online courses should remain an option: This enables them to avoid being exposed to COVID-19. If criminals can be let out of jails all across the country on humanitarian grounds—even violent criminals like Ibrahim Bouaichi—then innocent, law-abiding women, desperate to defend themselves against men like Bouaichi, should be afforded the same humanitarian considerations.

Are Virginia’s Democrats interested in explaining this double standard, or do their concerns about COVID-19 transmission only extend to criminals?