The Virginia chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots network, released the following statement after Virginia Governor Ralph Northam announced that $27.4 million in his proposed two-year budget will be allocated towards establishing the Center for Firearm Violence Intervention and Prevention at the Department of Criminal Justice Services. The budget proposal would create an office to collect and publish data on gun violence in Virginia to be shared with a variety of institutions, including state and local agencies, health care facilities, and research and educational entities.
“We are grateful that Governor Northam took this critical step today — this funding could help our leaders and researchers take real strides forward in ending gun violence in the Commonwealth, ” said Courtney Champion, a volunteer with the Virginia chapter of Moms Demand Action. “Throughout his time in office, Governor Northam has been a strong ally and advocate for protecting communities from gun violence, consistently fighting for the wellbeing and safety of Virginians despite gun lobby interference. We encourage the incoming administration to follow Governor Northam’s leadership and continue this lifesaving work.”
This past year, Governor Northam and the Virginia legislature have been leaders in passing critical legislation to address gun violence in the Commonwealth, including bills to prohibit guns at polling places, on Capitol grounds and buildings and 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, create an extreme risk law, and enacted other gun safety legislation in 2020.
In an average year, 1,019 people die and 2,050 people are wounded by guns in Virginia. Gun violence costs Virginia $7.1 billion each year, of which $292.5 million is paid by taxpayers. More information about gun violence in Virginia is available here.