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Everytown, Moms Demand Action, Faith Leadership Statements Ahead Of Jan. 20 Gun Extremist Rally In Richmond

January 17, 2020

In November, Virginia Voters Flipped Both Chambers of the Virginia General Assembly to a Gun Sense Majority; Yesterday, the Virginia Senate Passed Bipartisan Legislation to Close Dangerous Gaps in Virginia’s Background Check Laws

Far-Right Leaders, Including Organizers From the Charlottesville ‘Unite the Right’ Rally, Are Promoting and Reportedly Will Attend the January 20 Rally

Despite Lies and Misinformation Being Spread by Extremist Groups, Poll After Poll Shows Near Universal and Bipartisan Support for Common Sense Gun Safety Laws

NEW YORK – Today, Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action hosted a call with Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action; Eric Tirschwell, Managing Director of Litigation and National Enforcement Policy at Everytown; Courtney Champion, a volunteer with the Virginia chapter of Moms Demand Action; and Rev. Jason Carson Wilson, the Executive Director of Bayard Rustin Liberation Initiative, to discuss the gun extremist rally scheduled for January 20 in Richmond, Virginia.

“While these extremists may falsely fear that their guns will be taken away, we are in this fight because we fear that our children will be taken away,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action. “What we will see on Monday is just a very vocal minority. Their views are not representative of the majority of Virginians — in fact, many aren’t even from Virginia.”

“I’d like to respond to the question of whether I’m scared of the extremists planning to gather in my city on Monday,” said Courtney Champion, a volunteer leader with the Virginia chapter of Moms Demand Action. “There’s only one answer for that: Living each and every day in a state where felons and convicted domestic abusers can access as many guns as they want is far scarier to me than the one-day rally that these gun extremists are holding.”

“The hysteria being stirred up about how these proposed stronger gun laws are supposedly going to strip Virginians of their constitutional rights has absolutely no basis in the law or the court decisions that have actually considered these issues,” said Eric Tirschwell, managing director of litigation and national enforcement policy at Everytown. “The legal reality is exactly the opposite – reasonable, common-sense gun laws are clearly constitutional, and the courts have said so repeatedly.”

“We want to make it clear that faith leaders in Richmond and around the state of Virginia and indeed the country that far-right extremists who promote white supremacy, racism, and threaten violence against our community are not welcome,” said Rev. Jason Carson Wilson, Executive Director of Bayard Rustin Liberation Initiative. “Armed extremists flocking to Richmond on Martin Luther King Jr. Day – a day to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. King and to reflect on what more still needs to be done – is disrespectful to the dream that he was trying to build.” 

On the call, national and Virginia Moms Demand Action leaders, a legal expert, and a representative of the faith community covered all aspects of the rally, where gun extremists – including out-of-state militia groups and far-right leaders – will descend on the Virginia General Assembly, hoping to intimidate lawmakers into rejecting the democratic will of the people who, by wide margins, voted to flip Virginia’s General Assembly to a gun sense majority for the purpose of passing common-sense gun safety laws.

According to reporting, far-right leaders involved in the deadly ‘Unite the Right’ rally are promoting and attending the upcoming gun extremist rally. The report compounds preexisting fears that the January 20 rally in Richmond is on a collision course to becoming another Charlottesville – but this time, with more guns. Yesterday morning, the F.B.I. “arrested three men suspected of being members of a neo-Nazi hate group, including a former reservist in the Canadian Army, who had weapons and discussed traveling to a pro-gun rally next week in Richmond, Va., in anticipation of a possible race war,” according to new reports from The New York Times.

Earlier this week, Virginia’s Senate Judiciary Committee already passed several common-sense gun safety bills – and yesterday, the Virginia Senate passed legislation to close dangerous gaps in Virginia’s background check laws with bipartisan support.

Read more about the rally here, and read the transcript of the press call here.

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