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As the 2021 Session Begins, Virginia Lawmakers Should Prioritize Gun Safety Bills

January 13, 2021

Virginia’s legislative session begins today, and state lawmakers have an opportunity to take up common-sense gun legislation. Gun violence prevention is more important than ever in the new year as the pandemic continues to exacerbate gun violence, and after a year of  increased gun sales, increased calls to suicide and domestic violence hotlines, and an increase in city gun violence.

Here’s what to know on two policies that could prevent future gun violence in the state if enacted: 

Regulating Where Guns are Carried — In light of the recent armed insurrection at the Capitol and armed extremism in Richmond and Charlottesville in recent history, lawmakers should prioritize legislation regulating where guns can be carried. Prohibiting the open carry of firearms in Virginia would prevent armed intimidation across the commonwealth. Lawmakers can also take action specifically on guns in polling places and government buildings — two sensitive places where guns can create a chilling effect on the democratic process and do not belong.

Ghost Guns — Currently, anyone can purchase the building blocks of a firearm online without a background check to create what’s known as a ghost gun. These weapons have no serial numbers, making them impossible to track when used in crimes. Legislation to prohibit the sale and manufacture of these DIY weapons will make Virginia communities safer.

Statistics about gun violence in Virginia are available here, and information on how Virgnia’s gun laws compare to other states’ overall is available here.

If you have questions, or to request an interview with a volunteer from Virginia Moms Demand Action, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

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