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Governor Youngkin Vetoes Last Remaining Gun Safety Bills on His Desk; Moms Demand Action, Students Demand Action Respond 

May 17, 2024

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 after Governor Youngkin vetoed three lifesaving gun safety measures that were sent back to him after the Virginia General Assembly rejected his proposed amendments. This comes after Governor Youngkin signed five other bills to fight gun violence in the Commonwealth earlier this spring. 

“After the progress we had made earlier this year, we had hoped that these three measures would also be signed into law,” said Shantell Rock, a volunteer with the Virginia chapter of Moms Demand Action. “This serves as a reminder of why we fought – and will continue to fight – in every election to vote in lawmakers who will always put our public safety first. We’re grateful that our lawmakers sent these bills back to Governor Youngkin’s desk, and we’ll be back next session to make sure they become law.” 

“This definitely wasn’t the outcome we wanted, especially after the bipartisan progress that was made earlier this session,” said Ava Saunders, a volunteer with the Hayfield Secondary School Students Demand Action chapter. “These are common sense bills that would have saved lives and now we’ll have to wait another year to make our communities safer . That’s time we can’t afford to waste. My generation won’t be deterred – we’ll be back until our communities are free from gun violence.” 

The measures that were vetoed by Governor Youngkin today were: 

  • HB 173 (Del. Simon) / SB 100 (Sen. Ebbin), which would regulate untraceable “ghost guns,” which are do-it-yourself, homemade guns assembled using unfinished, unserialized core parts and kits that can be acquired without a background check. 
  • HB 498 (Del. Cohen) / SB 225 (Sen. Pekarsky), which would require school boards to annually notify parents of their legal responsibility to safely store any firearm present in the household and information regarding the risks associated with improperly stored firearms, and 
  • HB 861 (Del. Hernandez) / SB 515 (Sen. Williams Graves), which would prohibit firearms in any facility that provides mental health or developmental services, including hospitals and ERs.

Today comes after five other gun safety measures were enacted into law this session in Virginia with bipartisan support, including: HB 35 (Del. Clark), a bill to expand Virginia’s secure firearm storage tax credit to include more devices such as cable locks and further encouraging firearm owners to securely store their guns, HB 626 (Del. Rasoul) / SB 484 (Sen. Aird), a bill to create the Community Builders Pilot Program and Fund for Roanoke and Petersburg public schools to deter youth gun violence, HB 22 (Del. Jones) / SB 210 (Sen. Perry), a bill to prohibit auto sears, which are devices that convert semi-automatic firearms into fully automatic weapons, HB 36 (Del. Willet) / SB 44 (Sen. Van Valkenburg), a bill to hold gun owners accountable for allowing children under their care with certain dangerous histories to access firearms, and SB 363 (Sen. Ebbin), a measure to prohibit the purchase, selling, or possession of a firearm with a removed, altered or defaced serial number. 

In an average year in Virginia, 1,160 people die by guns and 1,624 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.

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