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Virginia Lawmakers Send Three Gun Safety Bills Back to Governor Youngkin’s Desk; Moms Demand Action, Students Demand Action Respond 

April 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 the Virginia General Assembly rejected Governor Youngkin’s proposed amendments on three gun safety bills in order to preserve the bills’ original intent. Now these measures will be sent back to his desk, where he will have 30 days to sign them into law or veto them. Today, lawmakers also accepted his proposed amendments on SB 363 (Sen. Ebbin), a measure to prohibit the purchase, selling, or possession of a firearm with a removed, altered or defaced serial number, enacting it into law. 

“Now that our lawmakers have sent these bills back to Governor Youngkin in their original state, he has another opportunity to build on the progress from earlier this session and sign them into law,” said Shantell Rock, a volunteer with the Virginia chapter of Moms Demand Action. “Our lawmakers passed these strong gun violence prevention measures because they knew that they were needed to protect our communities. We’re grateful for the bipartisan progress that has already been made this legislative session, and we’re hopeful that more can be done.” 

“Our lawmakers worked tirelessly to strengthen our gun safety laws this year and now we have another opportunity to get more of these measures signed into law,” said Sofia Posadas, a volunteer with the University of Virginia Students Demand Action chapter. “Governor Youngkin must take this opportunity to build on the bipartisan progress we’ve already made this session. These laws will save lives – Virginians need them.” 

The measures that were sent back to Governor Youngkin today are: 

  • 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. This would make Virginia the 14th state to enact a law prohibiting ghost guns, 
  • 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 four 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, and 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. 

Volunteers in Virginia have worked tirelessly this session to support these measures, in addition to the dozens of other gun safety bills that lawmakers sent to Governor Youngkin’s 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. 

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.

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