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Democratic Candidates for Virginia Governor Discuss Why Gun Safety is a Top Priority

Washington, DC —  Giffords, the gun safety organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, released a new video featuring Democratic candidates for the Virginia governor’s race discussing why gun safety is a top priority for them. The new video, released after the primary debate last night, highlights the progress the state has made and the opportunity to do more to save lives. It’s part of a series featuring candidates Delegate Jennifer Carroll Foy, Governor Terry McAuliffe, and Senator Jennifer McClellan discussing gun safety legislation and why they will be a leader on the issue if elected.   

“Virginia voters want a governor who will keep the gun lobby on the run and be steadfast in backing commonsense gun safety laws,” said Joanna Belanger, Giffords political director. “The state has emerged as a leader in the fight to save lives from gun violence, and now is not the time to let up. Our new series underscores that candidates who want to be the next governor are listening to the calls from Virginians from change. This year, gun safety will be a defining issue in deciding who will be the next governor of Virginia.” 

In the videos, democratic candidates intimately share past experiences and the destructive aftermath of gun violence as reasons for why action can’t wait. Candidates make clear that action on gun safety would be a part of their governing agenda. Over the last two years, Virginia has made serious strides in gun safety legislation. In 2020, the state of Virginia earned a B for its gun safety laws according to Giffords Law Center’s Annual Gun Law Scorecard

Read Giffords policy recommendations for Virginia. 

After a 2019 mass shooting in a Virginia Beach left 12 dead and four wounded, Governor Northam and Democratic leadership called for a special session to address the gun violence epidemic throughout the Commonwealth. The Republican House leadership, led by then-Speaker of the House Kirk Cox, refused to entertain the Governor’s request and gaveled out the session after a mere 45 minutes. Months later, Virginians at the ballot box voted in a new Democratic majority in the house and upheld the Democratic majority, in elections across the state that were largely defined for the first time by voters’ demand for gun safety, not for gun rights. 

As a result, during the 2020 Legislative Session the state passed landmark legislation that strengthened background checks and child access prevention policies. And just last week, Governor Northam signed into law a package of legislation that will protect elections and communities from gun violence. The legislation includes measures to protect survivors of domestic violence and limits open carry. 

The series includes the anthem video released today as well as videos of each of the candidates individually addressing the camera, diving further into why this issue is important to them. 

Watch the videos here.


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