From the Virginia House Democratic Caucus:
Crime Commission Meetings Show Public and Expert Support for Gun Violence Prevention
Despite Republican inaction, House Democrats remain motivated to pass common-sense gun violence prevention legislation
RICHMOND (August 20, 2019) – House Democratic Caucus Chair Charniele Herring and Delegate Paul Krizek, the House Democratic members of the Virginia State Crime Commission, released the following statement upon the conclusion of the Crime Commission meeting on Tuesday:
“We greatly appreciate the subject matter experts, members of the public, advocates, and legislators who came to testify and present before the Crime Commission on Virginia’s gun violence epidemic and proposed solutions. Taken in aggregate and individually, the presentations showed clearly that legislation like an Extreme Risk Protective Order, universal background checks, and a ban on high-capacity magazines have been proven effective at reducing gun homicides, suicides, and accidents in states that have enacted them.
“This testimony was valuable, but it could have been presented during regular committee hearings during the special session – hearings in which legislators could take the necessary and long-delayed votes on these bills. We are troubled that Republicans’ tactic to defer these bills to the Crime Commission was a strategy to ‘neutralize the conversation,’ as stated by Republican Delegate Chris Head, and it was disappointing that there was no date set as a goal for endorsement of legislation by the Commission.
“That being said, we’re encouraged by the clear public support among Republicans and Democrats for an Extreme Risk Protective Order. We very much hope that Republican leadership will allow a full floor vote on Delegate Sullivan’s ERPO bill as well as the other comprehensive and research-proven bills Democrats introduced in the special session. If not, then we aim to come back to Richmond this January with a Democratic majority in the House of Delegates to pass common-sense gun violence prevention legislation.”
On July 9, Republicans in the Virginia House of Delegates and State Senate shamefully adjourned the special session on gun violence prevention within 90 minutes – without discussion, without substantive votes, without bipartisan support. They punted action on gun violence prevention to November 18 – after the legislative elections on Nov. 5.
As reported by the Roanoke Times, Republican Delegate Chris Head said, “We came up with a strategy that would neutralize the issues… We needed to make it go away.”
The bills were referred to the Crime Commission, which met Monday and Tuesday to hear expert testimony, public comments, and presentations by bill patrons. After questioning from Delegate Herring, Chairman Obenshain confirmed that the executive committee will convene next week to discuss process.