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Virginia House Subcommittee Follows Senate Counterparts, Ignores the Will of Voters on Gun Violence Prevention

"November will be here soon"

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The following press releases are from the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (CSGV). As they say, “November will be here soon.”

Virginia House Subcommittee Follows Senate Counterparts, Ignores the Will of Voters on Gun Violence Prevention

Richmond, VA— One day after the Virginia Senate Courts of Justice Committee rejected numerous popular gun violence prevention bills, the House of Delegates followed suit. The rigged subcommittee known as Militia, Police, and Public Safety #1 brought up numerous popular, commonsense, life-saving gun violence prevention bills and killed them on party lines. 

Coalition to Stop Gun Violence Virginia State Director Lori Haas issued the following statement: 

“Once again, Virginia Republicans have killed popular policies that could save the lives of Virginians. The message coming from the Virginia House of Delegates — which Republicans control only because of the flip of a coin — is that they don’t care about their constituents. They simply don’t care. 

“Popular policies — like universal background checks, extreme risk laws, child safety laws, and even the banning of guns in Virginia libraries — were killed on party line votes. 

“The National Rifle Association (NRA) and VIrginia Citizens Defense League are national jokes, but their minions in the General Assembly continue to do their bidding. It would be laughable if it weren’t so devastating to the lives of Virginians. 

“The good news is that this won’t happen much longer. Democrats dominated the elections of 2017 and 2018 on the message of gun violence prevention. They will continue to do so in 2019.

“As I said yesterday, November will be here soon.”

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In Virginia, the Politics of Guns Have Changed 

Richmond, VA—On Monday, for the 27th consecutive year, the Virginia Center for Public Safety (VACPS) and the Educational Fund to Stop Violence will host a Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Action to honor the victims of gun violence. The annual vigil & advocacy day will once again attract huge crowds, reflect and honor the nonviolent legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and address the daily epidemic of gun violence in the Commonwealth. 

Public sentiment surrounding guns has shifted dramatically in Virginia. For the past two years, we have seen pro-gun legislators and lapdogs of the gun lobby lose their jobs in Richmond and in Washington. Voters have sent a message to lawmakers:vote with the gun lobby at your peril. Governor Ralph Northam has made tackling the gun violence epidemic his top priority. It is time for the General Assembly to follow his lead. 

The pro-gun movement in Virginia is a shell of its former self. The National Rifle Association (NRA) has been humiliated by a powerful, committed group of Florida teenagers over the past year, is currently under federal investigation for colluding with the Kremlin, and is in such financial disarray that it can no longer afford free coffee for its employees in Fairfax. An NRA-endorsed candidate has not won statewide in Virginia in a decade. The more extreme, less relevant Virginia Citizens Defense League — which will hold its own rally on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day — has been embarrassed by their own leader, who was roundly mocked for advocating arming children as young as two with assault rifles. 

On Monday, voters will gather to make their voices heard. Virginia Republicans have a choice. They can vote with these politically engaged Virginia voters who want stronger gun laws in the Commonwealth. Or they can side with with the increasingly weak and politically toxic gun lobby. If they choose the latter, they will lose the next election and watch from the sidelines as numerous gun violence prevention bills are passed and signed into law in 2020 and beyond. 

Media is welcome to attend and speak to participants. Information about the event is as follows:

WHO:  Speakers at the Vigil to Remember Victims of Gun Violence will include, among others:
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam
Virginia Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax 
Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring
Chnika Clark, Domestic Violence Survivor & Advocate
Naomi Waddler, Student & Activist
Rev. Sherman Logan, First Unitarian Universalist Church, Richmond, VA
Rev. Melvin Shearin II, Great Hope Baptist Church, Richmond, VA
Rabbi Credditor, Temple Beth-el, Richmond, VA
Sister Anne Marie Mack, Congregation Bon Secours, Senior VP for Sponsorship, Bon Secours Richmond Health System 
Crys Matthews, Singer/Songwriter

WHAT:  Vigil to Remember Victims of Gun Violence in Virginia followed by Advocacy Day

WHEN:  Monday, January 21, 2019. The Vigil to Remember Victims of Gun Violence will be held from 2:00-3:00PM. Participants will then move inside the capitol building to meet with their legislators from 3:00-5:00PM.

WHERE: Virginia State Capitol in Richmond. The vigil will take place at the Bell Tower on the capitol grounds.

ONLINE: The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence will be livestreaming the vigil on Facebook  and tweeting with hashtag #StopGunViolence