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Victory For Gun Safety: Moms Demand Action, Students Demand Action Applaud Second Consecutive Year Of New Gun Safety Laws In Virginia

April 1, 2021

Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action Advocated and Testified in Support of Legislation Acted on by Governor Northam Yesterday

RICHMOND, Va. —The Virginia chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots networks, released the following statement applauding the the governor’s action on gun violence prevention legislation, including bills to prohibit guns at polling places and prohibit guns on Capitol grounds and buildings, following the signing of legislation to address the Charleston loophole. These laws are the second slate of gun violence prevention legislation in as many years in Virginia, coming the year after lawmakers enacted landmark legislation to require background checks on all gun sales, created an extreme risk law, and enacted other gun safety legislation. 

“Virginians are far too familiar with armed intimidation at our capitol, and this session we joined lawmakers in saying enough is enough,” said Joy McManus, a volunteer with Virginia Moms Demand Action. “After seeing thousands of gun extremists flood Richmond in an attempt to silence democracy, the threat to our democracy was apparent. We’re grateful to lawmakers for taking action this session to prevent gun violence for the second year in a row. The Commonwealth and our democratic process will both be safer because of these new laws.”  

“With the threat of violence looming over our democratic process, lawmakers acted,” said Josh Hambrecht, a volunteer with University of Virginia Students Demand Action. “Every Virginian has the right to vote and to visit our Capitol without having to fear for their safety. We’re thankful to our elected officials who worked to make these signings possible.”

 In light of the recent armed insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and armed extremism in Richmond and Charlottesville in recent years, lawmakers prioritized legislation regulating where guns can be carried. Prohibiting firearms in polling places and in and around the Capitol — two sensitive places where guns can create a chilling effect on the democratic process and do not belong–will help prevent armed intimidation across the Commonwealth. 

Additionally, earlier this year, Governor Northam signed legislation to address the Charleston loophole, which allowed gun sales to move forward by default after three business days—even if a background check had not been completed. The increased volume of gun sales during the pandemic and delays in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”) have highlighted concerns about the Charleston loophole. 

Everytown and the Virginia chapter of Moms Demand Action have fought for common-sense gun safety laws in the Commonwealth for years. This session, hundreds of volunteers attended an annual virtual advocacy day in January and took 5,737 digital actions supporting gun safety legislation. Last year, the Virginia chapter of Moms Demand Action held its annual advocacy day and had more than 70 meetings with lawmakers to show their support on the first day of the 2020 legislative session. And when gun extremists descended on Richmond, Virginia last January to intimidate lawmakers, Moms Demand Action held a phone bank to support lawmakers who have stood up for common-sense gun safety policies. More than 100 volunteers with Moms Demand Action from Virginia and 23 states made nearly 3,000 calls that day alone. By the end of the 2020 session, lawmakers had successfully passed a slate of gun safety bills, including Extreme Risk and background check legislation, which Governor Northam signed last April.

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