From Sen. Mark Warner’s office:
VIDEO: Senator Warner Hosts Gun Violence Prevention Town Hall
Alexandria, VA – Yesterday, Senator Mark Warner hosted a Gun Violence Prevention Town Hall featuring advocates and elected officials. Senator Warner was joined by Representative Jennifer Wexton (VA-10), Moms Demand Action Founder Shannon Watts, and Senior Director of Advocacy at the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence Lori Haas.
In July 2020, Senator Warner was proud to join fellow Virginia Senator Tim Kaine in introducing the “Virginia Plan” for the Nation to Reduce Gun Violence.
Senator Warner continues to emphasize the necessity for all Virginians to make their voices heard in this year’s election. Virginians can vote early in-person from September 18 through October 31. Voters can check their registration status, register to vote, and request an absentee ballot today. For more information visit: iwillvote.com.
On Banning Assault Weapons: “I would echo what Congresswoman Wexton just said. It is Mitch McConnell. It is Donald Trump. Remember, this was the law of the land. The ban was initially put in place by Senator Feinstein back in 1994. It was the law of the land for many years. It finally expired. But during that period when it was the law of the land, I was Governor during that time. It was not like this was an issue that people were constantly talking about, so, the fact that, simply the notion of going back to is some radical step, I just don’t agree. And I think it is a sensible and appropriate action, and again, we just have to look at the use of some of these weapons, particularly with the tragedies that have taken place, now to say time out, and it’s time to go back to what the law was before.
On Closing The “Boyfriend” Loophole: “That goes, again, to, as both Lori and Shannon have said, if you have guns appropriately stored, as I do, if you separate the ammunition, in moments of enormous stress, you know, so you can’t reach for that firearm in that moment of stress. If we make sure that we close the boyfriend loophole. We’ve managed to restrict if you’ve been married, if you’ve had a child, if you’ve lived together, but that excludes a whole host of relationships where someone may have a history of stalking, and why would we want that kind of person to still have that kind of access to firearms? And it goes back I think as well to the questions around mental health support. This is an issue that has not gotten enough attention, not only vis a vis gun safety, but just on a macro basis, that I think, as we think about recovery and reopening from the coronavirus, prioritizing mental health resources, professionals, and training is going to have to be a much much higher priority.
On Veteran Suicides: Moderator: We have another question submitted by email. It reads: Veteran suicide is an epidemic in the U.S. An average of 22 veterans sadly commit suicide every day, and many use firearms. What role can legislation play in ending veteran suicides and all suicides by firearm?
“Let me start with that one. And, to the questioner, luckily, the latest data shows that number has come down to closer to 17. But it’s still a tragedy that has gone unrecognized, underreported. I’m very proud of the fact that I’ve worked on a bill that passed the Senate, and just this week also passed the House, will soon, hopefully be signed by the President, that says one tool, and there’s no single solution here, but one tool is about 60% of the veterans that commit suicide have never had any interaction with the Veterans’ Administration. The VA has got challenges, but the VA better understands veterans than most institutions. And I generally find, from veterans, that it’s sometimes too much of a hassle to get into the VA but once you get into the VA they at least understand your concerns better. But if two thirds of these veterans who are committing suicide have never had access to the VA and its programs, that doesn’t make sense. So my bill, bipartisan, with John Boozman from Arkansas, puts hundreds of millions of dollars into nonprofit organizations in the community that can spot those veterans that may be having mental health issues, that may be on the verge, and gets them into a setting, oftentimes where they need that support from other fellow veterans. And, again, it will not stop every suicide unforunately, but it would be a dramatic step forward. In a nation like ours where we owe so much to the men and women who’ve kept us safe, we owe them this obligation. We owe them the mental health support that they need. And I’m really proud that this bill has now passed both houses of Congress and will soon become law.