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Virginia Bill Signings Offer an Election-Year Preview for Gun Safety Battleground States

April 13, 2020

On Friday, Governor Northam joined a press call hosted by Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action to discuss the signing of five gun safety bills passed during the legislative session, and was joined by Eileen Filler-Corn, Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates. The signings — which followed an election in which Everytown was the largest outside spender and Moms Demand Action volunteers mobilized across the state — mark a landmark moment in Virginia legislative history and the gun violence prevention movement nationwide. See coverage highlights below:

Associated Press: Northam signs gun-control bills into law
“Gun-control advocates said Friday they’re planning to replicate their success in Virginia in other states. John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety, said his group plans to spend heavily in key battleground states this year like Arizona, North Carolina and Pennsylvania to elect lawmakers who support new gun restrictions.

Feinblatt said polling shows a gun-control agenda is popular in those states and that Virginia is a “bellwether” of what’s to come.”

NPR’s Guns and America: Virginia Gov. Northam signs gun legislation, will retry assault weapons ban
Activists, including Everytown for Gun Safety President John Feinblatt, indicated they would try to repeat their success in Virgina in other states, including Arizona, Iowa, Minnesota, North Carolina and Pennsylvania.”

Richmond Times Dispatch: Northam signs five gun control measures, seeks to amend two others
“Voters were fed up with inaction; fed up with ‘thoughts and prayers’ and we replaced gun lobby politicians with gun-sense champions,” said Everytown President John Feinblatt on Friday.”

Roanoke Times: Northam signs history-making batch of gun control bills
“Shannon Watts, the founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, said that while the National Rifle Association is laying off staff and taking other cost-cutting measures because of the economic pain of the coronavirus outbreak, Moms Demand Action plans to spend $1.5 million to register new voters for the November election.

“The NRA is weaker than it has ever been, and our movement is stronger than it has ever been,” Watts said.”

Virginia Public Media: Gov. Northam signs five new gun control measures into law
“Following news of the signing, Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action, praised the work of activists during last year’s election and during the recent General Assembly session. Fifteen candidates endorsed by Moms Demand Action won their races in November.

“We worked hard and we won big, setting the stage for gun safety bills to finally get passed out of the new General Assembly and on to a governor who would sign them into law,” Watts said.”

As a result of Friday’s signing, 19 states and the District of Columbia have now passed extreme risk legislation. Fourteen of these laws have been passed since the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida in 2018. Virginia is the 22nd state to enact legislation to require background checks on all handgun sales.

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