Home 2019 Elections VA Senate Judiciary Committee Advances Life-Saving Gun Safety Bills Including Strengthening Secure...

VA Senate Judiciary Committee Advances Life-Saving Gun Safety Bills Including Strengthening Secure Storage Laws, Disarming Domestic Abusers, Expanding Extreme Risk Laws and Prohibiting Ghost Guns 

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All these bills will, of course, be killed by Virginia House of Delegates Republicans. Still, good work by Senate Democrats, and all the more reason to make sure that Democrats take back the House of Delegates this November!

Virginia Senate Judiciary Committee Advances Life-Saving Gun Safety Bills Including Strengthening Secure Storage Laws, Disarming Domestic Abusers, Expanding Extreme Risk Laws and Prohibiting Ghost Guns 
The Virginia chapter of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots networks, released the following statement applauding the Senate Judiciary Committee for their swift action to pass gun safety legislation that will require firearms to be securely stored in homes when a minor is present, add new safeguards to disarm domestic abusers, prohibit the unserialized, untraceable parts that are used to build ghost guns, and expand the types of evidence the court can consider when evaluating whether an individual poses a risk of harming themselves or others to issue an Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO).

“We had a tragic start to the year when a six year old accessed a gun and was able to shoot and wound his teacher and we are grateful that the Senate Judiciary Committee is meeting this moment by working to strengthen Virginia’s secure firearm storage law and other life saving gun safety measures,” said Anastasia Dzura, a volunteer with the Virginia chapter of Moms Demand Action. “We hope that the House will follow the Senate’s lead and fulfill their duty to keep our communities safe.”

Secure Storage: 

  • An estimated 54 percent of gun owners don’t store all of their firearms securely.
  • In incidents of targeted school violence, around three-quarters of school shooters obtained their gun(s) from the home of a parent or close relative.
  • SB 1139 will require that any person who possesses a firearm in a residence with a minor under the age of 18 present must store such firearm unloaded in a locked container, compartment, or cabinet and to store all ammunition in a separate locked container, compartment, or cabinet.
Disarming Domestic Abusers 
  • Domestic violence and guns are deeply interconnected, impacting millions of women, families, and communities across the U.S.
  • Guns are more likely to turn abuse fatal. Access to a gun makes it five times more likely that a woman will die at the hands of a domestic abuser
  • In 2019, at least 42 people in Virginia died by intimate partner homicide. At least 69 percent of these intimate partner homicides involved a firearm
  • SB 909 would add new safeguards to the firearm relinquishment process already required for domestic abusers who are subject to protective orders, and would extend that clear and strong firearm surrender process to newly-convicted abusers.
Ghost Guns: 
  • Ghost guns are do-it-yourself, homemade guns made from easy-to-get building blocks that can be purchased with no background check and no questions asked. These guns are made by an individual, not a federally licensed manufacturer or importer.
  • Ghost guns also undermine the work of law enforcement. Because ghost guns have no serial numbers, it is impossible for law enforcement to effectively trace these firearms when they are used to commit crimes.
  • SB 1181 will prohibit the unserialized, untraceable parts that are used to build ghost guns.
Extreme Risk Laws 
  • Extreme Risk laws empower loved ones or law enforcement to intervene and temporarily prevent someone in crisis from accessing firearms. These laws, sometimes referred to as “red flag” laws, can help de-escalate emergency situations.
  • Virginia currently has an Extreme Risk law that empowers law enforcement officials to seek a “Substantial Risk Order” when they recognize dangerous warning signs.
  • SB 1076 will make the current law more comprehensive by expanding the types of evidence the court can consider when evaluating whether an individual poses a risk of harming themselves or others and deciding whether to issue an Extreme Risk Protection Order.
In an average year, 1,065 people die by guns in Virginia, and 1,911 more are wounded. Gun violence costs Virginia $14.2 billion each year, of which $288.3 million is paid by taxpayers. More information on gun violence in Virginia is available here.

About Everytown for Gun Safety
Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund (“Everytown for Gun Safety”) is the largest gun violence prevention organization in the country with nearly ten million supporters and more than 375,000 donors including moms, mayors, survivors, students, and everyday Americans who are fighting for common-sense gun safety measures that can help save lives. Learn more at www.everytown.org and follow us @Everytown.
About Moms Demand Action
Moms Demand Action is the nation’s largest grassroots volunteer network working to end gun violence. Moms Demand Action is part of Everytown for Gun Safety, an organization with nearly ten million supporters and more than 375,000 donors. Moms Demand Action campaigns for new and stronger solutions to lax gun laws and loopholes that jeopardize the safety of our families, educates policymakers and parents about the importance of secure firearm storage and works to create a culture of gun safety through partnerships with businesses, community organizations and influencers. There is a Moms Demand Action chapter in every state of the country and more than 700 local groups across the country. For more information or to get involved visit www.momsdemandaction.org. Follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MomsDemandAction, on Twitter at @MomsDemand and download our DemandAction app at https://momsdemandaction.org/app/.
About Students Demand Action
Students Demand Action is a national movement of high school and college-aged volunteers working to end gun violence. Students Demand Action volunteers organize within their schools and communities to educate their peers, register voters, and demand common-sense solutions to this national crisis. Students Demand Action has active volunteers in every state and more than 400 groups across the country. Students Demand Action is part of Everytown for Gun Safety, the largest gun violence prevention organization in the country with nearly ten million supporters and more than 375,000 donors. For more information or to get involved visit www.studentsdemandaction.org.
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