Richmond, V.A. — Today, Virginia State Senator Jennifer McClellan, Moms Demand Action founder Shannon Watts, and Everytown for Gun Safety Senior Vice President of Movement Building Angela Ferrell-Zabala, and over 250 volunteers from the Virginia chapter of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action called for action on gun safety during their annual Advocacy Day in Richmond. This year’s Advocacy Day coincides with the celebration of 10 years of Moms Demand Action’s life-saving work to protect our families and communities from gun violence.
“I am so excited to highlight 10 years of our grassroots movements’ tireless work to pass life saving gun safety laws,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action. “We’ve made incredible progress right in the NRA’s backyard passing strong gun safety laws and defending against efforts to roll them back. We’re stronger than ever and fired up to continue our fight in the state house and at the ballot box to hold our lawmakers accountable to protect our communities.”
“Over the past 10 years, our volunteers have tirelessly fought for safer gun policies and against dangerous gun laws that threaten our communities and our families. Virginia Moms Demand Action volunteers have been on the front lines of this fight, in fact, going so far as to take that fight county by county to ensure that communities retain the right to decide what gun safety solutions work for them,” said Angela Ferrell-Zabala, senior vice president of movement building at Everytown. “Today, we are larger than ever before and stand ready to continue this work until every community is free from gun violence.”
Since 2020, volunteers in Virginia have secured major wins for gun safety including helping to pass laws to require background checks on all gun sales, prohibit guns at several sensitive locations like Capitol Square and polling places, and to allow localities to prohibit guns in government buildings and at permitted events – 17 localities covering 2.8 million Virginians have since enacted such ordinances. Moms Demand Action volunteers also had major success this past election cycle — across the country 150 Moms Demand Action volunteers won their race for office. In Virginia, volunteers hosted four weekends of action, canvassed, phonebanked, sent texts and postcards to help elect four gun sense candidates to the House of Representatives despite – being in the NRA’s backyard and having a Governor that continues to make decisions that put politics over the safety of our communities.
“We’re rallying because we want it to be clear that we are not going to take our foot off the gas pedal,” said Mike Fox, a volunteer with the Virginia chapter of Moms Demand Action “Our communities are still reeling from a year of senseless gun violence and ringing in the new year with more horrific tragedies. We are ready to show up and work with lawmakers to pass gun safety laws that will protect our communities and save lives.”
Volunteers met with lawmakers and their staff to advocate for gun safety measures to be passed during this upcoming session, including bills to prohibit the unserialized, untraceable parts that are used to build ghost guns; improve their current Extreme Risk laws by expanding the types of evidence the court can consider when deciding whether to issue an Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO); increase investments for community violence intervention programs, strengthen the Commonwealth’s secure storage laws by requiring firearms to be locked, unloaded, and stored separate from ammunition when they are not being used or carried by their owner – a policy that’s life-saving importance was highlighted just last week after a six year old got access to a gun in his home then brought it to school and used it to shoot and injure his teacher.
Our movement is fired up for this upcoming session and ready to work with lawmakers and leaders at all levels to pass gun safety laws that will protect our communities and save lives. In an average year in Virginia, 1,065 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.