As the Virginia legislature enters its 2022 legislative session, some state lawmakers have already begun to indicate their willingness to chip away at crucial gun safety laws the state has passed in recent years. With the gun violence epidemic continuing to devastate communities across the state, there is a pressing need to preserve these life-saving common sense measures and maintain funding on the state level for gun violence prevention.
Existing gun safety laws that must be protected in 2022 include:
- A law that empowers local authorities across the Commonwealth to pass ordinances that would prohibit guns in certain sensitive places;
- A law that limits the number of handguns an individual can purchase to one per month;
- A law that allows loved ones and family to file emergency substantial risk orders with a court or law enforcement office to disarm individuals in crisis who may pose an increased risk to themselves or others; and,
- A law that requires a background check to be conducted on every sale of a firearm in the Commonwealth.
The legislature should also protect funding in Governor Ralph Northam’s outgoing state budget, which includes $27.4 million in funding for gun violence prevention efforts. The budget proposal would create an office to collect and publish data on gun violence in Virginia to be shared with a variety of institutions, including state and local agencies, health care facilities, and research and educational entities.
What to know about local gun safety ordinances in Virginia:
- In July of 2020, the Virginia legislature empowered municipalities across the Commonwealth to pass ordinances that would prohibit guns in certain sensitive places.
- Since then, more than 16 cities across the Commonwealth, home to over 2.8 million Virginians, have passed local gun safety ordinances.
- The first came when the city of Richmond, with the help of more than 100 Moms Demand Action volunteers, took actions on guns in sensitive public places, prohibiting them at permitted events following a number of armed protests.
Here’s what you need to know about gun violence in Virginia:
- In an average year in Virginia, 1,019 people die by guns and 2,050 are shot and wounded.
- Gun violence costs Virginia $7.1 billion each year, of which $292.5 million is paid by taxpayers.
If you have any questions, or would like to request an interview with a volunteer from Virginia Moms Demand Action or Students Demand Action, please don’t hesitate to reach out.