Home 2019 Elections Where Do Democratic Virginia House of Delegates Candidates in Primaries Stand on...

Where Do Democratic Virginia House of Delegates Candidates in Primaries Stand on the Issues? Part 2: Preventing Gun Violence.

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According to VPAP, there are going to be 13 Democratic primaries for House of Delegates this June 11. Who are the candidates and where do they stand on some key issues – moving towards 100% clean energy and protecting the environment, preventing gun violence, defending women’s reproductive choice and access, fighting for LGBT equality, expanding healthcare access and quality, promoting sustainable economic development, addressing the opioid epidemic, etc.? For part 1, on clean energy/environment, click here. For part 2, on preventing gun violence, see below. (note: I’m sure I didn’t find everything, so feel free to let me know what you think should be added…)

House District 18 (Fauquier, Culpeper, Warren, Rappahannock Counties; 60% Gillespie district; Republican incumbent Michael Webert)
Tristan Shields –  Says “guns are a touchy subject…I’ve gotten more threats from the National Rifle Assn (NRA) than any organization in my life.” Argues that “Virginia has some of the most lax gun laws in the nation and unfortunately we seem to be regaining our old reputation as a place where it’s easy for criminals to buy guns in bulk,” so he’s “very interested in reinstating our ‘One Handgun a Month’ policy” and in “mak[ing] it more difficult for criminals and people who are mentally unfit to own a gun.” He also advocates for “spending more money on mental health” and “expanding Medicaid…to help those who need care.”
Laura GalanteI don’t see anything on her website about guns.

House District 20 (Augusta County, Staunton City, Waynesboro City, Nelson County, Highland County; 57% Gillespie district; Republican incumbent Dickie Bell)
Jennifer LewisI don’t see anything on her House of Delegates campaign website about guns, but on her Jennifer Lewis for Congress site from last year, she says we should “embrace gun safety measures for the sake of our children.” Lewis said she supports: “strengthening national background checks, expanding background checks to include gun shows and internet sales, ending the sale of “bump-stocks,” and raising the minimum age to buy an AR-15 to 21.” She also said she “supports prohibiting the sale, manufacture, import, transfer, or possession of a semi-automatic assault weapon or a large capacity ammunition feeding device.”
David BlanchardI don’t see anything on his website about guns.

House District 26 (Harrisonburg City, Rockingham County; 53% Gillespie district; Republican incumbent Tony Wilt)
Brent FinneganI don’t see anything on his current website about guns. Previously, in 2017, he received a ZERO rating from the NRA.
Cathy CopelandOn her website, she says she supports “background checks for all gun purchases and a waiting period for handgun purchases”; “Expand[ing] gun violence prevention and gun safety programs”; and “Provid[ing] more resources, outreach, and counseling for sexual assault and domestic abuse survivors.”

House District 38 (Fairfax County; 73% Northam district)
Del. Kaye Kory
– There’s almost no information on her website about her positions on guns, but she does say she supports “gun violence prevention.” According to Project Vote Smart, Kory has received very low scores (0%-8%) from the NRA and Virginia Citizen Defense League over the years. Also, in this piece she wrote that “mass shootings are all too common in our country,” that the “problem is how we constantly defer to gun ownership and the NRA,” and that localities should “make it unlawful for any person to transport, possess or carry a loaded shotgun or loaded rifle in any vehicle on any public street, road or highway.”
Andres Felipe Jimenez Points out that the “staggering statistics” of gun violence in America “illustrate the frequency of gun violence,” but argues that “the psychological toll this takes on our country cannot be quantified.” Says that “[p]reventing assaults, suicides, and accidents involving a firearm is a complicated issue that won’t be solved overnight,” but “[w]e have to work together on common sense gun solutions that will keep our children and communities safer.” He pledges to support “universal background checks and efforts to close the gun show loophole” and “to build a consensus on solutions to address this epidemic.”.

House District 49 (Arlington and Fairfax Counties; 82% Northam district)
Del. Alfonso Lopez –  On his website, Del. Lopez’s campaign writes: “As the 3rd highest-ranking Democrat on the House Militia, Police, and Public Safety Committee, Alfonso has been one of the tireless champions in the House for sensible gun violence prevention legislation over the last eight years. Among other things, he has introduced numerous bills to address issues ranging from high capacity gun magazines to background checks to transfers at gun shows. Alfonso led the fight in the House to close the ‘Charleston Loophole’ on default proceed purchases of firearms in Virginia, which allows guns to end up in the hands of criminals who would otherwise be prevented from purchasing a firearm by a completed background check. In compliance with expert guidance from the FBI, his legislation would have closed that loophole by giving State Police five business days.  He has also regularly introduced legislation to make it a misdemeanor to allow a child four or younger to use a firearm…A regular speaker at Moms Demand Action rallies and Coalition to Stop Gun Violence events, Alfonso has come out strongly for universal background checks, the one-gun-a-month rule, and closing gun sale loopholes. He has also consistently spoken out against the ease with which people can get a concealed carry permit in Virginia.” According to Project Vote Smart, Lopez has received extremely low scores (in the 0%-7% range) from the pro-gun groups.
J.D. Spain – I don’t see anything on his website specifically about guns, other than the phrase, “maintain gun-free schools.”

House District 50 (Prince William County, Manassas City; 58% Northam district)
Del. Lee CarterI don’t see anything specifically on his website about guns. On Project Vote Smart, Carter is listed as receiving zero ratings from both the NRA and VCDL.
Mark WolfeSays “The epidemic of gun violence is a public health crisis that can not be ignored,” that “[w]hile we will never eliminate the problem, we can improve the situation by implementing common sense gun safety rules.” Adds, “I support the actions and recommendations of groups such as Moms Demand Action to improve the safety of all Americans.”

House District 52 (Prince William County; 76% Northam district)
Del. Luke TorianI don’t see an issues page on his website or any information on his positions regarding guns. Per Project Vote Smart, Torian has received grades ranging from 0% (in 2018 from the VCDL) to 32% (in 2017 from the VCDL). Also note that Torian attempted to “discontinue the online class and testing requirement for receiving a Virginia Concealed Carry Permit.”
Kevin Wade – Don’t see a website for him.

House District 57 (Charlottesville City, Albemarle County; 79% Northam district)
Sally HudsonDon’t see anything on her website about guns. On Twitter, she says “more CDC-funded research on guns would be good.” I also found this article, which mentioned her participation on a panel called, “Gun Sense: Discussion and Action on Gun Violence.” In that article, it says “Hudson recommended one lobby each of their representatives individually because, ‘no major current gun bills have been passed because of disproportionally large representation from Republicans.’”
Kathy Galvin –  “An overwhelming percentage of the population now supports common sense gun control”; “We need to raise the minimum purchase age from 18 to 21, close the loopholes in the background check process and pursue a ban on bump stocks.”

House District 62 (Chesterfield, Henrico, Prince George County and Hopewell City; 49% Gillespie/Northam district)
Tavorise MarksWrites: “As a young man and a soldier in the United States Army, I was once a member of the National Rifle Association (NRA), during a time in which I felt that they were promoting the safe use of weapons, weapon safety, responsible gun ownership and education. After the Virginia Tech Massacre and the many mass shootings that have followed here in America, it has become apparent that that is no longer the NRA’s mission nor those who accept campaign funds from the organization.” Pledges that, “When elected, I will work to enact common sense gun reform while responsibly protecting gun rights here in the Commonwealth.” That includes “work[ing] to close the gun show loop hole and enact[ing] tougher laws that punish illegal gun transactions…ensur[ing] that high capacity magazines and assault rifles do not find their way into the hands of the mentally ill and citizens who should not possess them.”
Lindsey DoughertyDon’t see anything on her website about guns.

House District 87 (Loudoun, Prince William Counties; 64% Northam district)
Suhas SubramanyamI don’t see an issues section on his website or anything on guns. [UPDATE: After I posted this article, Subramanyam added an issues section. He writes: “My wife, Miranda, went to church in Newtown, Connecticut and her congregation lost a young member that day in Sandy Hook. We need to make progress on gun violence prevention so that we and our loved ones feel safe in our schools, places of worship, and public places. I would support comprehensive solutions to reducing gun violence, including expanding mandatory universal background checks, closing the gun show loophole, banning the sales of military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and supporting studies on gun violence as a public health issue.”] According to this article, Subramanyan “said he supports universal background checks” as well as “a ban on bump stocks.” And in this article, he says, “We also need to enact policies at the state level to keep our kids and families safe from gun violence.”
Hassan AhmadSays that “The General Assembly should undertake an investigation into the extent of the damage the NRA has done to the health of our communities in Virginia, and hold this extreme organization to account.” Also says, “It should not be easier in Virginia to purchase and keep a gun than it is to get and maintain a driver’s license. The Commonwealth needs robust mandatory waiting periods and regular check-ins to maintain a firearms license.” And “The General Assembly should act quickly to ensure that 3-D printed guns are heavily controlled or outright illegal, because untraceable weapons that circumvent regulations and licensing serve no legitimate purpose.”
Akshay BhamidipatiI don’t see a detailed issues section, but he does say he favors “enact[ing] gun control measures to make schools safer.” Also, in this article, it says that Bhamidipati “advocates for simple mental health background checks in order to help prevent gun violence” and quotes him saying, “We need to be a responsible society with the way we treat guns.”
Johanna GusmanI don’t see anything on her website pertaining to guns.

House District 88 (Spotsylvania, Stafford, Fauquier Counties and Fredericksburg City; 54% Ed Gillespie district; Republican incumbent Mark Cole)
Jess FosterSays “We need to keep guns out of the hands of bad guys and out of our schools. I support sensible gun safety measures that promote responsibility and save lives.
Kecia S. EvansDon’t see anything on her website about guns.

House District 91 (Hampton City, York County, Poquoson City; 51% Ed Gillespie district)
Michael Wade Don’t see anything on his website about guns. In a press release announcing his run for House of Delegates, Wade said, “I’ll stand for commonsense gun-reform and against easier access to firearms.”
Martha MuglerDon’t see a website yet, so no idea what her positions are on guns. 

House District 96 (James City County, York County; 53% Gillespie district)
Rebecca LeserSays she “Supports commonsense gun safety legislation that will protect families.” Also, this article notes that Leser attended a recent march in Williamsburg to end gun violence, and this article adds that she spoke at the march.
Mark DowneySays “we have the tools to address our epidemic of gun violence, we just need to elect leaders with the courage to tackle this issue.” Adds that, “As a dad and pediatrician, I know how important it is to take action on common sense gun safety,” and that “It is long past time us to take common sense steps to prevent gun violence.” Pledges that, if elected, “I will fight for solutions that protect our children and families, including accountable and responsible gun ownership measures, universal background checks and registration for both firearms and people who sell them.” Also, this article notes that Downey could not attend a recent march in Williamsburg to end gun violence, but “had William and Mary student health center medical director Dr. David D. Dafashy speak on his behalf in support of the cause.”
Chris MayfieldDon’t see anything on his website about guns. Also, this article notes that Mayfield attended a recent march in Williamsburg to end gun violence, and this article adds that he spoke at the march.