RICHMOND, VA — In response to the massacre of 20 children and 6 adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, Senator Donald McEachin, Senate Democratic Caucus Chair, made the following statement:
"This past Friday we suffered an unspeakable tragedy. Twenty innocent children and six heroic adults were cut down by a hail of bullets in a place that should be a sanctuary: an elementary school. While we all still reel from this horror and still mourn this unbearable loss, we must start to discuss what can be done to prevent future tragedies of this magnitude.
"We must work as a nation to improve and strengthen our mental health system. We must ensure that teenagers and adults get the help they need and are not just pushed, ill and unready, into society.
"And we must address the tide of gun violence, fed by an unlimited supply of ever more dangerous guns. We can no longer pretend that the wide availability of dangerous weapons has had no impact on the brutal killings committed over the past year. In Newtown, not one child survived the hail of bullets from a semiautomatic assault weapon. I call on our national leaders to finally have a serious conversation about how to stop criminals and the mentally ill from accessing dangerous weapons.
“In light of last Friday's events, I feel morally compelled to introduce concrete legislation in the General Assembly Session in January. Over the coming weeks, I will consult with my fellow legislators and announce specific plans that will help stem this horrific tide of gun violence.
"When terrorists attacked on 9/11, when hurricanes struck our shores, when bridges collapsed in our cities, America has always pulled together to enact preventive measures to stop future tragedies. We can and we must do the same with mass murders.
"Let's ensure that the murders of so many innocent children — and the heroism of the adults who saved so many more — have a lasting legacy. Let's ensure that they were the impetus for us to reassess our laws and find ways, while respecting the millions of law-abiding gun owners in America, to keep these fatal weapons from those who seek to do our families harm."
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