|RICHMOND (April 8, 2021) – Attorney General Mark R. Herring today praised the Biden-Harris Administration for taking proactive steps to reduce gun violence across the country. Earlier today, President Biden announced various gun violence prevention measures including a proposed rule to stop the proliferation of “ghost guns”, a proposed rule making clear that devices marketed as a stabilizing brace are subject to the National Firearms Act, publishing model “red flag” legislation for states, issuing an annual report on firearms trafficking, and investing in substantive evidence-based community violence interventions:
“It is so refreshing and encouraging to have a partner in the White House who is committed to reducing gun violence and saving lives, rather than the previous president who was beholden to the gun lobby and obstructed progress at every turn. We have lost too many Virginians and too many Americans to gun violence, but for too long we have not changed the status quo in this country,” said Attorney General Herring. “Last year, Virginia passed a number of gun violence prevention measures including the proven-effective one-handgun-a-month law, a red flag law, comprehensive background checks, and more, and I’m so glad to see the Biden-Harris Administration following suit at the federal level. I applaud the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to reducing gun violence in this country by taking these important actions today.”
Attorney General Herring has fought hard to pass gun violence prevention measures in Virginia both as a state senator and as Attorney General. Last year, he successfully defended Virginia’s reinstated one-handgun-a-month law, the newly-passed “red flag” law, and a majority of the new law requiring background checks on all gun sales.
Attorney General Herring has also fought for better regulation of so called “ghost guns.” Last month, he sent a letter calling on U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland to close the loophole I the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearm’s interpretation of the federal Gun Control Act that allows criminals, domestic abusers, and other prohibited purchasers of firearms to evade common-sense gun laws and purchase 80 percent receivers, which can be easily assembled into an un-serialized and untraceable “ghost gun.” Additionally, in December 2020, Attorney General Herring filed an amicus urging the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York to compel the ATF to properly regulate untraceable, partially assembled “ghost guns.”
Additionally, Attorney General Herring has helped implement similar community-based violence intervention programs in Virginia including a program called “Respect Richmond.” “Respect Richmond” was an award-winning successful anti-violence campaign that ran through certain periods of 2017 and 2018. During those periods, Richmond saw a substantial drop in violent crime and gun violence in focus neighborhoods as well as millions of impressions and interactions with the campaign’s various messaging platforms. Priority neighborhoods saw an average decrease of 50 percent in homicides and an average decrease of 30 percent in total violent crimes. The campaign used high-impact messaging and sophisticated marketing techniques to reach its audiences.