WASHINGTON DC — Today, Giffords, the gun safety organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and Captain Mark Kelly, released the following statement after the Virginia Senate Committee on Courts of Justice voted down a series of bills that would have strengthened gun safety laws in the state. While a bill to ban bump stocks moved forward, legislation to close loopholes for background checks and to allow localities to ban firearms at permitted events were turned down. The action by the Committee came at the same time as the Virginia Coalition for Gun Violence Prevention held their 26th Annual Vigil and Advocacy Day that coincides with Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
“The votes taken today by the Virginia Senate Committee on Courts of Justice defy the will of the people they represent who want to see action to make their state safer. Last November, gun safety was one of the most important issues to voters in Virginia, second only to healthcare,” said Rear Admiral Jamie Barnett, a Member of the Giffords Virginia Coalition. “While we are pleased to see progress in getting bump stocks off our streets, it’s troubling that effective measures to strengthen gun safety laws were brushed aside on the same day Virginians are gathering to honor the legacy of one of America’s most inspirational leaders. We will continue fighting to stop an epidemic that hurts our country every single day. It’s time for elected leaders to show courage and do more to prevent more Americans from dying of gun violence.”
The legislature is expected to consider addition bills related to gun safety on Wednesday. The legislation that was voted down today includes:
Universal background checks: Close all loopholes that lead to unregulated sales of firearms to individuals.
Prohibiting firearms at permitted events: Allow localities overseeing permitted events to prohibit firearms.