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Governor Youngkin Signs Gun Safety Measures Into Law; Moms Demand Action, Students Demand Action Respond 

March 26, 2024

Governor Youngkin Signed Two Bills that Received Bipartisan Support in the General Assembly 

Governor Youngkin Also Vetoed Numerous Other Measures That Would Have Further Strengthened Gun Safety in Virginia 

RICHMOND, VA – Today, the Virginia chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots network, issued the following statements applauding Governor Youngkin for signing two gun safety measures into law, including a measure to prohibit auto sears, which are devices that convert semi-automatic firearms into fully automatic weapons, HB 22 (Del. Jones)/SB 210 (Sen. Perry) and a measure to hold gun owners accountable for allowing children under their care with certain dangerous histories to access firearms, HB 36 (Del. Willet)/SB 44 (Sen. Van Valkenburg). 

Governor Youngkin also proposed amendments to several bills that will now go back to the General Assembly for consideration, including a prohibition on firearms in any facility that provides mental health or developmental services, HB 861 (Del. Hernandez)/SB 515 (Sen. Williams Graves), a prohibition on ghost guns HB 173 (Del. Simon)/SB 100 (Sen. Ebbin), an expansion of the state law that prohibits removing, altering, or defacing firearm serial numbers, SB 363 (Sen. Ebbin), and a requirement for school boards to notify parents to safely store any firearm present in the household and information regarding the risks associated with improperly stored firearms, SB 225 (Sen. Pekarsky).

While Governor Youngkin did sign two bills into law today, the Governor also vetoed many other impactful – and common sense – gun safety bills that would have improved public safety. This includes measures that would have prohibited the future sales and purchases of assault weapons, prohibited the public carry of assault weapons, prohibited the carry of firearms on college campuses, required secure storage for firearms and more. 

“It speaks volumes about the changing political calculus around gun safety that the Republican governor of Virginia, which is the longtime home of the NRA, just signed legislation to prevent gun violence,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety. “We applaud Governor Youngkin and the bipartisan group of lawmakers who championed these laws, and we urge them to keep listening to voter demands for common-sense solutions to gun violence.”

“Our volunteers have tirelessly fought for the bills signed into law today,” said Angela Ferrell-Zabala, executive director of Moms Demand Action. “These new laws represent real bipartisan progress and I’m glad to see Governor Youngkin enacting them to keep Virginians safe from gun violence. Our advocacy doesn’t stop here — we’ll continue fighting to ensure that the other lifesaving gun safety measures passed this session become law next year.”

“Advocates like me across the Commonwealth are grateful to Governor Youngkin for signing these gun safety bills into law. Victories like these are a reminder of the inroads we’ve made in Virginia to change the calculus on gun violence prevention in the Commonwealth,” said Shantell Rock, a volunteer with the Virginia chapter of Moms Demand Action. “We can all agree that our communities deserve to be safer and that there is a role we can all play in the fight to end the epidemic of gun violence. We will be back at the statehouse next year alongside our gun sense champions to continue pushing for stronger gun safety laws that can keep our communities safe.” 

“Getting two gun safety bills signed by Governor Youngkin is a step in the right direction. It shows that we don’t have to accept America’s gun violence crisis as inevitable,” said Grace Varughese, a volunteer with the Hayfield Secondary School Students Demand Action chapter. “While we’re happy these bills are now law, we can’t ignore that the Governor also vetoed a lot of other bills that could’ve saved lives. Our work doesn’t stop here. Young people in Virginia are committed to making our state safer so the next generation doesn’t have to grow up in constant fear of gun violence.”

Governor Youngkin’s actions come after the tireless advocacy of volunteers with Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action throughout the entire legislative session. Last month, nearly 200 volunteers attended and spoke at a rally urging Governor Youngkin to sign the many gun safety measures sent to his desk. 

Last year, gun-sense candidates swept in the elections in Virginia, with nine Moms Demand Action volunteers winning their races, flipping the House of Delegates in the process. Moms Demand Action volunteers now make up nearly 20% of the Virginia House Majority caucus as gun safety has become a leading – and mobilizing – issue in the Commonwealth.

Since lawmakers gaveled into session this year, with gun-sense majorities in both the Senate and House of Delegates, they have been hard at work sending bills to Governor Youngkin’s desk that would strengthen the safety of our communities. This included measures to ban assault weapons and ghost guns, strengthen firearm prohibitions for domestic abusers, enact a waiting period between the purchase and acquisition of a firearm, hold bad actors in the gun industry accountable when their misconduct harms Virginians, and more. 

In an average year in Virginia, 1,121 people die by guns and 1,911 people are wounded. Gun violence costs Virginia $14.2 billion each year, of which $288.3 million is paid by taxpayers. More information about gun violence in Virginia is available here.

To speak to a local volunteer with Moms Demand Action, a volunteer with Students Demand Action, or a policy expert, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

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