From State Senator Jennifer McClellan and Del. Cia Price:
Sen. McClellan, Del. Price Joint Statement on Recent Gun Violence and Pending Legislative Action
Price, McClellan Leading Bill to Create Firearm Violence Prevention Center
RICHMOND, VA – Today, Del. Marcia Price (D-Newport News) and Sen. Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond) released the following joint statement, following the recent outbreak of gun violence in Richmond and Hampton Roads. In Hampton Roads, 161 people were shot in the first three months of 2022, a 27% increase over 2021. In the city of Richmond, gun deaths are up 20% over last year.
Price and McClellan urged the general assembly to fully fund the Firearm Violence Prevention Center in the 2022 budget. McClellan and Price patroned legislation this session (SB 487 and HB825) to establish the Center for Firearm Violence Intervention and Prevention at the Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) to work across public safety and public health sectors to collect data and publish reports on violence caused by firearms, including suicide. The bill would also establish a fund to be administered by the Center to support community-based programs to prevent firearm violence.
“Too many families across Virginia know the very real toll that gun violence can have on the social, psychological, cultural, and economic health of a community. This epidemic impacts how students learn, how residents live, how businesses invest, and how communities view themselves.
“We owe it to these communities, who are disproportionately impacted by gun violence, to hear their voices and take action. That’s why, during the regular session earlier this year, we introduced legislation aimed at addressing gun violence by establishing Virginia’s first Firearm Violence Prevention Center (SB 487/HB 825).
“The Senate Budget includes $27M to establish the center and to invest in the important work of community-based organizations doing essential and effective gun violence prevention work. With a comprehensive approach, we can empower communities to address systemic issues by implementing evidence-based solutions. The Center would establish and disseminate best practices, research and study demographics and trends, award grants to localities and community organizations, offer training, and more.
“By funding the Center and engaging communities in its important work, we can provide meaningful resources while continuing to conduct high-quality research. We can have a real impact on the lives of individuals while remaining committed to learning more and educating others.
“It has been proven that we cannot and should not try to arrest our way out of this crisis, nor can we repeat the same mistakes of the past and expect different results.
“There are no easy answers and there are no quick-fixes, but the steps we take today can mean safer communities around the Commonwealth. Taking the bold action to establish and fund the Firearm Violence Prevention Center in the budget would represent a targeted, tremendous investment in building a safer Commonwealth on behalf of Virginia’s families.
“We urge our colleagues in the General Assembly to support this initiative.”