See below for a press release from the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, as well as video, of SB240 (“Extreme Risk Protection Order,” aka “Red Flag” legislation) passing the Virginia State Senate a few minutes ago. Also, check out the video of far-right-wing Sen. Amanda Chase (R) batsh*t-crazy charge that Democrats who support this legislation are “traitors,” to which several Senators – Scott Surovell (D), Janet Howell (D), Adam Ebbin (D), David Marsden (D) and George Barker (D) – respond. Among other things, Sen. Howell says:
“I would refer [Sen. Chase] to Item #41 about speaking offense to members of the Senate and I would like her to know that I am *deeply* offended that she accused anyone on this floor of treason. Now, I will not put in a written at this point, because she indicates she doesn’t know the rules of the Senate, but if any future words be said again, I will indeed.”
And Sen. Surovell says:
“I’m still scratching my head over here try to figure out how I’m a traitor to the Commonwealth…or the country for that matter or the constitution. From my point of view, this bill – especially as amended, we probably made 15 or 20 amendments to this bill to improve the due process protections as the other side pointed out the problems in it – and I’m starting to wonder whether there’s any changes we could make that would make anybody happy. From my perspective, this bill provides greater due process to Virginians than they get from removing a gun from their possession, than they get for being kicked out of their house or being deprived of their liberty. Just think about that for a second. We’re giving Virginians greater protections than the government gives them when they’re removed from their home or they’re locked up in jail. That’s what this bill does. But somehow it’s a travesty…This legislation is a small, minor modification/extension of existing policies have been on the books in this Commonwealth for decades. That’s all it is. And just because it involves the Second Amendment does not mean that it gets better protection than the fourth or the fifth amendment…but we’re giving them to you anyway because we’ve heard the concerns…If the government has reason to believe that somebody might go out and kill dozens of people, we believe the government ought to be able to go and get that gun to eliminate that possibility. This is not a big step.”
Note, by the way, that at least 17 states “now have approved some version of a red flag law, including Florida, New York, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana and California.” Regarding Indiana’s “Red Flag” law, none other than VP Mike Pence said it “could be used as a potential blueprint for similar laws across the country,” that “we don’t want people who are a danger to themselves or others to have access to firearm,” and also that “President Donald Trump is looking closely at red flag laws as a method of dealing with gun violence and mass shootings.” So, apparently, Sen. Chase is calling President Trump and VP Pence “traitors,” and also Republicans in Indiana and Florida who supported “Red Flag” legislation…
With that, here’s the press release from the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, followed by video from the Virginia State Senate a little while ago..
Extreme Risk Protection Order One Step Closer in Virginia
SB 240 Passes Senate – becomes latest gun violence prevention bill to pass Virginia Senate
Richmond, Virginia (January 22, 2020) – The Commonwealth of Virginia took another step toward becoming the 18th state to pass life-saving Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) legislation. SB 240, sponsored by Senator George Barker (D), would establish a court process to issue protective orders to temporarily remove firearms and restrict their purchase while the individual is at a heightened risk of danger toward themselves or danger to others. SB 240 passed by a vote 21-19.
Coalition to Stop Gun Violence Virginia State Director Lori Haas issued the following statement:
“Today, Virginia is one step closer to reducing gun deaths across our great Commonwealth. The life-saving Extreme Risk Protection Order policy has been proven to prevent firearm suicide and has shown great promise at preventing potential mass shootings — including school shootings. Now with a gun violence prevention majority in the Senate, ERPO is finally on its way to becoming a reality. And it will save lives.
“Thank you to Senator Barker and Senator Surovell, and everyone who was involved in working with this bill to get it passed. We are hopeful to see the same success in the House of Delegates very soon.”
Coalition to Stop Gun Violence Executive Director Josh Horwitz:
“As one of the architects of the Extreme Risk Protection Order in 2013 following the horrific events in Newtown, Connecticut, I knew that one of the first places I wanted to try to implement this new policy was in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
“Since 2014, I have been standing in front of Senate and House committees and subcommittees explaining the evidence and data behind ERPO and how it can be used to prevent gun deaths. I believe that if the Commonwealth had passed this law six years ago, Virginians who are no longer with us would still be alive today. That breaks my heart.
“For years we have heard excuses and far flung scenarios from Republicans as they voted down ERPO. But today is a new day. With the new leadership in the Virginia Senate, we are seeing the first steps toward a safer Commonwealth of Virginia.
“Now our focus moves to the House of Delegates. Thank you to everyone involved in this process as we try to get this work done and save lives.”