July 8, 2019 — Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, co-founder of the gun safety organization Giffords released the following statement ahead of the start of the Virginia General Assembly’s special legislative session to address gun safety measures in the commonwealth.
Statement from former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, co-founder of Giffords:
“For too long, in the wake of tragedies like Virginia Beach, politicians have hidden behind statements of thoughts and prayers. No more. Elected officials in Virginia must acknowledge our gun violence epidemic and take action to address it. This week’s special session gives Virginia’s leaders an opportunity to pass legislation to keep deadly weapons out of dangerous hands. The timing couldn’t be more critical: Each day that goes by without progress means another day that Virginia families aren’t as safe as they could be. Virginia voters will be watching closely. If the lawmakers they elected to protect them fail to act, they’ll have the opportunity to elect new leaders who will in November.”
In Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence’s annual scorecard, Virginia earned a D for its weak gun laws. Earlier this year, a number of local lawmakers who ran on a commitment to address gun violence made a push to strengthen Virginia’s laws. They fought for a number of strong gun safety measures, including expanding background checks, establishing an extreme risk protection order, banning bump stocks and high capacity magazines, and keeping guns out of the hands of domestic abusers.
These measures, backed by Virginians, were voted down in committee by the Republican majority. The actions by those lawmakers to block comprehensive gun safety legislation came at a time when every 10 hours someone in Virginia was killed by a gun and when the crisis cost the state $5.3 billion a year. As a result of this refusal, Giffords recently began a push to bring a gun safety majority to the Virginia legislature with its first endorsements of the 2019 cycle.
Position Document: Virginia Gun Violence Prevention Special Session 2019
Press Release: Gabrielle Giffords Statement on the Virginia Beach Shooting
Factsheet: The Danger of Silencers