RICHMOND (January 17, 2019) – Attorney General Mark R. Herring released the below statement following the failure of three of his bills which were intended to disarm hate. HB1956 would have given localities the ability to ban firearms in a public space during a permitted event, making it easier for law enforcement officials to protect Virginians and keep their communities safe during large-scale events. Its companion bill, SB1473, was also killed in committee yesterday. HB2244 was a commonsense bill that would have closed a loophole and prohibited anyone convicted of a hate crime from possessing a gun, keeping weapons out of the hands of dangerous individuals who could use them to intimidate a group of people or incite violence in a community. All three bills were killed in committee on a party line vote.
“To say I am disappointed that these bills were killed in committee is an understatement,” said Attorney General Herring. “Allowing localities to restrict guns at permitted events would have made participants, bystanders, communities, and law enforcement officers safer. We saw the need in Charlottesville when a self-identified ‘imperial wizard’ of the Ku Klux Klan fired a gun on a crowded street.
“Keeping guns out of the hands of someone convicted of a hate crime should be a no-brainer. If someone has committed a hate crime they have shown themselves incapable of responsible gun ownership. The General Assembly still has bills in front of them to address the rise of hate crimes and white supremacist violence and I hope they will do the right thing.”