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Major Gun Violence Prevention Legislation Passes in Senate and House of Delegates; Virginia Chapters of Moms Demand Action, Students Demand Action Respond

February 7, 2024

Bills Would Ban Assault Weapons, Auto Sears, and Ghost Guns; Require Secure Firearm Storage; Protect Victims of Domestic Violence, and More

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 statement applauding the Senate and House of Delegates for their swift passage of key gun violence prevention bills through their chambers of origin, including bans on assault weapons, auto sears – devices that turn semiautomatic firearms into machine guns – and ghost guns, a requirement for gun owners to securely store their firearms in the presence of children and people who are legally prohibited from having guns, protecting victims of domestic violence by disarming violent abusers, and more. These bills will now cross over to the other chambers, where our volunteers will continue to advocate for legislators to pass them and send them to Governor Youngkin’s desk before the end of session. 

“Since they gaveled in this session, our gun sense champions in both chambers have been following through on their commitment to keeping us safe when they were elected in 2023,” said Lindsay Lange, a volunteer with the Virginia chapter of Moms Demand Action. “We’re grateful for the strong leadership of Speaker Scott, Senate Majority Leader Surovell, and all the bill patrons and supporters who have made these long-overdue common sense gun safety measures a priority this session. We urge legislators to keep up their critical work and send these bills to Governor Youngkin’s desk, where we’ll find out whether he cares more about bowing to pressure from the gun lobby or keeping Virginians safe.” 

Bills that have passed their chamber of origin since session began include: 

  • HB 2 (Del. Helmer) and SB 2 (Sen. Deeds): Legislation to update and strengthen the Commonwealth’s legal definition of ‘assault weapon’ and prohibits future sales and purchases of these deadly firearms. 
  • HB 22 (Del. Jones) and SB 210 (Sen. Perry): Legislation to ban auto sears, which are devices that convert semi-automatic firearms into fully automatic weapons.
  • HB 46 (Del. Bennett-Parker) and SB 47 (Sen. Favola): Legislation to strengthen Virginia’s prohibitions on gun possession by domestic abusers by adding a surrender requirement for domestic abusers who are convicted of misdemeanor assault.
  • HB 173 (Del. Simon) and SB 100 (Sen. Ebbin): Legislation to regulate untraceable “ghost guns,” which are do-it-yourself homemade guns assembled using parts that can be acquired without a background check, and the unfinished, unserialized core parts and kits used to build them. This would make Virginia the 14th state to enact a law regulating these deadly firearms. 
  • HB 183 (Del. Simon) and SB 368 (Sen. Boysko): Legislation to require that firearms be stored securely in homes with children or people legally prohibited from accessing firearms are present.
  • HB 498 (Del. Cohen) and SB 225 (Sen. Pekarsky): Requires school boards to annually notify parents of their legal responsibility to safely store any firearm present in the household and of risks associated with improperly stored firearms.

Many other key bills continue to move through the committee process in both chambers, including those that would increase accountability for bad actors in the gun industry and keep guns out of the wrong hands and out of sensitive places. 

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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