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RICHMOND, VA – Today, nearly 200 gun violence survivors and volunteers with Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action were joined by advocates from other gun violence prevention groups across the Commonwealth and Senator Jennifer Boysko (SD-33), House Delegate Marcus Simon (HD-53), House Delegate Mike Jones (HD-77), House Delegate Elizabeth Bennett-Parker (HD-05), and Henrico Commonwealth Attorney Shannon Taylor for a rally calling on Governor Youngkin to sign into law several pieces of gun safety legislation that will soon be awaiting the Governor’s approval. Additional lawmakers in attendance included Senator Ghazala Hashmi (SD-15), Senator Saddam Salim (SD-37) and Senator Schuyler VanValkenburg (SD-16). Since the 2024 session began, lawmakers in the House and Senate have been hard at work passing legislation to combat the gun violence epidemic in the Commonwealth. Several bills have already passed both chambers and will soon be sent to Governor Youngkin, and many more are on track to quickly follow.

“Senate Bill 368 ensures that every gun owner is aware of their responsibility to store their firearms safely. This is the way we change behavior before the tragedy strikes,” said Senator Jennifer Boysko (SD-33). “Governor Youngkin, on behalf of all families out there, I urge you to support Senate Bill 368. Not just for the sake of our children, but for the sake of our collective humanity.” 

“My last plea today is what we’ve heard said, what we’ve seen written: do not veto our safety,” said House Delegate Mike Jones (HD-77). “Let’s ensure that all of our children, whether they’re at the store, at church or the synagogue, or at school, let’s ensure that our young children have the opportunity to grow up and be productive citizens in this Commonwealth. Moms Demand Action, keep demanding, and I’ll demand with you.” 

“None of us should have to fear for the lives of our children and ourselves. We should have the right and the freedom to be safe in our communities…” said House Delegate Elizabeth Bennett-Parker (HD-05). “We call on the Governor to protect Virginians, to protect survivors of abuse, to sign the bills that we send him and not to veto our safety.” 

“I will never stop asking for accountability. I know firsthand, that too often, the guns themselves make the crimes worse, make arguments dangerous and leave too many people shot and dead,” and Henrico Commonwealth Attorney Shannon Taylor. “So today, as we all stand here, I am with you in solidarity and I am so honored and proud to work with you on this life and death issue.” 

“I’m here to tell you all it’s not hopeless. We can do something, we are not helpless” said House Delegate Marcus Simon (HD-53). “These are common sense solutions to real problems. Gun violence is the number one cause of death among children in our country, there’s got to be something we can do and there is. That’s what we’re here to talk about today.” 

“It’s time we protect Virginians by signing gun-sense legislation into law. It’s time, Mr. Governor, to stand-up for what you know to be right – and that is to sign the common sense gun legislation about to be sent to your desk,” said Shantell Rock, a volunteer with the Virginia chapter of Moms Demand Action. “Protect our children, our schools, our communities, and all Virginians.” 

“These bills will soon be on their way to the Governor’s desk. And that’s why we’re here today,” said Brigette Russell, a survivor and volunteer with the Virginia chapter of Moms Demand Action. “‘Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never has and it never will.’ We know the vast majority of Virginians and Americans favor stronger gun violence prevention laws, and we urge Governor Youngkin to listen to them and sign these bills into law.” 

Today’s rally followed tireless advocacy from volunteers with the Virginia chapter of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action who worked to elect a gun-sense majority to both chambers of the General Assembly in the 2023 election. Since the legislative session gaveled in, volunteers have testified in support of dozens of bills to strengthen gun safety in the Commonwealth, including bills to require, promote, and incentivize secure storage of firearms, ban on assault weapons, ghost guns, and auto sears, support community violence prevention organizations, enact stronger prohibitions on domestic abusers, and more. 

In an average year in Virginia, 1,121 people die by guns and 1,911 people are wounded. Gun violence costs Virginia $14.2 billion each year, of which $288.3 million is paid by taxpayers. More information about gun violence in Virginia is available here.

To speak to a local volunteer with Moms Demand Action, a volunteer with Students Demand Action, or a policy expert, please don’t hesitate to reach out.