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Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords Announces Virginia Swing to Endorse Gun Safety Candidates

 Congresswoman Giffords to endorse gun safety candidates outside NRA headquarters with Governor Terry McAuliffe and host a roundtable in Virginia Beach 

 Announcement brings Giffords Virginia endorsements to 40 candidates, including gun violence survivors, community leaders, and veterans 

September 15, 2019 — As gun safety continues to receive a groundswell of support in the Commonwealth, former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, co-founder of Giffords, announced a visit to Northern Virginia for a gathering outside the headquarters of the National Rifle Association (NRA) with former Governor Terry McAuliffe to endorse a slate of gun safety champions. Congresswoman Giffords will then travel to Virginia Beach for a roundtable with gun violence survivors and local candidates.

“Gun safety will define the 2019 election in Virginia. Voters are fed up with leadership in the pocket of the NRA who refuse to even debate the need for stronger laws to save lives,” said former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, co-founder of Giffords. “I’m excited to be back in the Commonwealth to join with the next group of leaders that have the courage to act. We have the opportunity to finally elect lawmakers committed to fighting gun violence. This important moment requires everyone to come together to declare the era of apathy over and elect these gun safety champions to victory.”

On Friday, September 20th, Congresswoman Giffords will be joined by former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe outside of the NRA headquarters in Fairfax. Also attending will be elected officials and a number off gun safety champions recently endorsed by Giffords. On Saturday, September 21st, Giffords will be in Virginia Beach to host a roundtable with gun violence survivors and General Assembly candidates.

“As long as Republicans control the General Assembly, they will never allow even the most commonsense gun violence prevention because they are completely controlled by the NRA. Not even the mass shooting in Virginia Beach could motivate them,” said former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe. “I am thrilled Congresswoman Giffords is coming Virginia to make sure we elect a Democratic majority that on Day One will ban the sale of the military weapons that should only be in the hands of our soldiers, place a limit on magazine capacities, put the one gun a month law back in place, close the gun show loophole, and give local communities the ability to ban dangerous weapons in places like bars or government buildings. We will make a statement in November and take action in January.”

 Click here to see the full list of Giffords’ Virginia endorsements. 

The swing coincides with Giffords’ endorsement of gun safety champions running for the Virginia Senate and House of Delegates. The slate, which brings Giffords’ total Virginia endorsements to 40, includes Virginia Beach candidates Cheryl Turpin and Kelly Convirs-Fowler—who are also participating in the roundtable in Virginia Beach. Northern Virginia endorsements include Hala Ayala, Wendy Gooditis, and Mavis Taintor.

The announcement follows the previous endorsements of  Sheila Bynum-Coleman, who is challenging the Republican Speaker of the House, and Herb Jones, who is challenging the Senate Majority Leader ; Dan Helmer and John Bell ; and Missy Cottter Smasal, Dick Saslaw, and two northern Virginia sheriff candidates. 

The Republican majority of the Virginia legislature recently ignored calls for change by adjourning from a special legislative session following the Virginia Beach shooting two hours after convening—rejecting all gun safety bills. Previously, the Republican majority blocked over 50 gun safety bills in the past few legislative sessions alone, including legislation that could have prevented tragedies. For consecutive legislative sessions, Republican leadership in the Virginia legislature has refused to advance reasonable gun safety laws that would provide critical public safety protections to citizens of the state despite voters overwhelmingly showing support for the passage of gun safety legislation. 

The actions by those lawmakers to block comprehensive gun safety legislation come at a time when every 9 hours someone in Virginia is killed by a gun in a crisis costing the state $5.3 billion a year. Giffords Law Center’s Annual Gun Law Scorecard shows that states that have passed evidence-based gun safety reforms have the lowest rates of gun death and injury.

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