This past weekend, 31 people were killed and over 50 were injured in mass shootings. We can’t accept this as normal. We have to do right by those who needlessly died in Dayton, El Paso, Virginia Beach, and countless other places across the country and take action. Virginia Republicans are so extreme that they’ve refused to back even modest proposals that President Trump and Republicans in other states have supported. And they showed us exactly who they were last month when they cut and ran after 90 minutes of a special session to specifically address gun violence without debating a single bill. It’s time to put an end to their cowardice and empty gestures. It’s time to vote them out.
MORE EXTREME THAN TRUMP: Virginia Republicans Quashed Red Flag Gun Law That The President Supports (DPVA)
MORE EXTREME THAN TRUMP: VA Republicans Quashed Red Flag Gun Law That The President Supports …
MORE EXTREME THAN TRUMP: Virginia Republicans Quashed Red Flag Gun Law That The President Supports Richmond, VA - In…
In the wake of two mass shootings that killed over 30 people and injured several dozen more in Dayton and El Paso, Americans across the country are demanding their leaders take action to stop gun violence. Even President Trump has backed modest proposals to restrict access to guns. In a speech yesterday, he called for red flag laws that allow people to obtain a court order to temporarily prevent someone who has exhibited certain warning signs from having access to a gun.
But Virginia Republicans have managed to impose their extreme right-wing views on the Commonwealth and block red flag bills multiple times this year, keeping Virginia far behind other states on gun safety improvements. In January, Republicans killed more than a dozen gun safety bills in committee, including a red flag bill backed by the Trump administration. After a mass shooting in Virginia Beach, they had a chance to correct their mistake during a special legislative session meant to specifically address gun violence. A red flag bill was one of 60 gun violence prevention measures meant to be considered during the session. Instead, Republicans cut and ran, adjourning after 90 minutes without debating a single bill.
Now after more mass shootings, Virginia Republicans are heartlessly recycling talking points and doing everything they can to avoid taking real action. In the clearest sign yet that their fringe pro-gun views are even too extreme for Trump, John Fredericks,Trump’s 2016 Virginia campaign chair warned that Virginia Republicans would face “political Armageddon” unless they broke with the NRA and demanded Senator Amanda Chase “do something” real to address gun violence.
“It’s clear that Virginia Republicans care more about keeping their A+ ratings from the NRA than keeping their constituents safe. Kirk Cox and the rest of the Republicans in the General Assembly refuse to even take a vote on legislation that Donald Trump and Republicans across the country support. As much blame as Donald Trump has rightfully received for his inaction on gun safety, Virginia Republicans deserve even more for refusing to take the most minimal action supported by the President. Now more than ever it is clear who Kirk Cox, Tommy Norment, and their fellow Republicans are: gutless politicians who are more concerned about the NRA than the safety of their constituents,” said DPVA press secretary Grant Fox.
Red flag laws work. Studies have shown that they reduce suicides, and politicians on both sides of the aisle support them. 17 states, including some controlled by Republicans like Indiana and Florida, have enacted them recently. And a June poll of voters in Republican-held legislative districts throughout the Commonwealth found that 83% of respondents, including 73% of Trump voters, support a red flag law. Democratic voters have ranked gun violence as a top issues in recent polls, suggesting Republicans’ repeated failure on this issue will be a massive liability in the November elections.
Virginia Republicans did nothing on gun control. Voters must take action. (Washington Post)
Opinion | Virginia Republicans did nothing on gun control. Voters must take action.
NO DEBATE. No action. No legislation. Total abdication. That was the upshot Tuesday from Richmond, where Republicans…
NO DEBATE. No action. No legislation. Total abdication.
That was the upshot Tuesday from Richmond, where Republicans who control the General Assembly short-circuited the special session called by Gov. Ralph Northam (D) to deal with gun violence in the aftermath of the Virginia Beach mass shooting. The utter failure to rise to the governor’s challenge to address this issue — which Mr. Northam rightly called an emergency for both commonwealth and country — should prompt Virginia voters to take their own action. Come November, they need to vote out of office those who showed such contempt for the public interest that they refused even to consider — let alone pass — sensible gun-safety measures.
Mr. Northam ordered the special session in the wake of the May 31 mass shooting, in which 12 people were killed and four others were injured in a Virginia Beach municipal building. “Votes and laws, not thoughts and prayers” was Mr. Northam’s plea in calling lawmakers together. But an hour and a half after they were gaveled into session, lawmakers abruptly pulled the plug. The Senate voted 20 to 18 along party lines to adjourn until Nov. 18 — after the election in which all 140 legislative seats are up — and the House of Delegates quickly fell in line. Lawmakers did stick around long enough to pass memorial resolutions for each of the Virginia Beach shooting victims, adding grim irony to Mr. Northam’s plea for more than just thoughts and prayers.
“The most totally irresponsible act I’ve seen by a political party in four decades I’ve been here,” said Senate Minority Leader Richard L. Saslaw (D-Fairfax). “Shocking. Disturbing,” said House Minority Leader Eileen Filler-Corn (D-Fairfax). “How in good conscience can they sleep at night and not pass these bills?” Among the sensible measures proposed by Mr. Northam, many of which enjoy broad public support: universal background checks; a ban on assault weapons, high-capacity magazines and silencers; reinstatement of Virginia’s one-handgun-purchase-a-month law; strengthening of laws to secure guns from minors; and allowing localities to enact firearm ordinances that are stricter than state law.
The session actually started with some hope there might be an effort to find common ground. Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment Jr. (R-James City) introduced legislation that would have banned firearms from local government buildings around the state and made any violation a felony. But there was intense backlash from the National Rifle Association and other gun rights activists, and Republicans followed their marching orders by going home. The rationale they offered was that the session was premature, the bills need further study and so they would be referred to a bipartisan commission for review and recommendation.
Virginia voters should have no illusion about the intended fate of these very sensible gun-safety measures, many of which have been introduced before but never got far with Republicans in control. The only way these measures will have any chance of being considered, voted on and enacted is if the equation of the General Assembly changes with the election of lawmakers who put public safety ahead of the interests of the gun lobby. We urge Virginia voters to look for candidates, such as those identified by Moms Demand Action, who will support rational gun legislation.
‘Come back … immediately’: Democrats call for special session in aftermath of mass shootings (Roll Call)
'Come back ... immediately': Democrats call for special session in aftermath of mass shootings
Democrats in the Senate have steadily called for a special session to address gun violence after a spate of deaths by…
Democrats in the Senate have steadily called for a special session to address gun violence after a spate of deaths by assailants armed with assault weapons.
“In February, the new Democratic House Majority promptly did its duty and passed the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019, which is supported by more than 90 percent of the American people and proven to save lives,” the New York Democratic leader in the Senate and the California Democratic leader in the House said in a joint statement.
“However, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has called himself the ‘grim reaper’ and refuses to act on this bipartisan legislation. It is incumbent upon the Senate to come back into session to pass this legislation immediately,” they said.
Democrats in the House prioritized gun violence when Pelosi took the gavel in January. The House passed two pieces of legislation to tighten background checks for firearm sales that have stalled in the Republican-majority Senate.
The Bipartisan Background Checks Act, or HR 8, would require every firearm sale to be subject to an FBI background check. The measure passed on a mostly party line vote, with five Republicans breaking ranks to vote in favor.
The Enhanced Background Checks Act, or HR 1112, would require gun sellers to wait up to 20 business days to hear from the FBI regarding an individual’s background check. Current law requires a three-day waiting period. The bill passed with mostly Democratic support, with three Republicans voting for it.
Democratic Sens. Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Jack Reed of Rhode Island, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire and Jon Tester of Montana have all called for a special session over the past two days.
Sen. Bernie Sanders also called for a special session from the campaign trail, where he is vying for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.
“To Congress’ leaders: now is the time for action, not time away, or time off,” Blumenthal said in a tweet.
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham announced Monday that he plans to partner with Blumenthal on legislation advancing a federal grant program incentivizing states to adopt “red flag” protection order laws. These laws allow family members or law enforcement to submit petitions called “extreme risk protection orders” to remove firearms from the home of someone they believe poses a danger to themselves or others, according to the gun violence prevention group Everytown for Gun Safety.
“I spoke with the president this morning about this proposal and he seems very supportive,” the South Carolina senator said in a statement.
While stopping short of calling for a special session to take up gun violence prevention legislation, Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, a Republican, said in an interview on CBS Face the Nation Sunday that he would “happily come back to Washington to have a conversation about gun violence … tomorrow.”
But he also expressed opposition to “politicizing” the issue by calling for related legislation. Instead, Scott placed the blame on social media.
“This is an issue of human hate. Something that resides in the heart and that is actually, unfortunately because of social technology and the social media, we’re seeing it connect it to other folks who have hate in their heart as well,” Scott said.
There has be no indication that McConnell intends to change the schedule, which calls for pro forma sessions only with no legislative business until after Labor Day. McConnell fractured a shoulder after falling outside his home in Kentucky Sunday.
The authorities are investigating a white nationalist “manifesto” apparently linked to the El Paso shooting that likens Latinx immigrants living in Texas to an “invasion.”
FBI Director Christopher Wray said in a statement Sunday that its El Paso investigation would be supported by a “Domestic Terrorism-Hate Crimes Fusion Cell,” which was established this year.
In testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee two weeks ago about “homegrown violent extremists,” Wray said that in 2019 “a majority of the domestic terrorism cases we’ve investigated are motivated by some version of what you might call white supremacist violence.”
Last month, Republicans in Virginia quickly aborted a special session of the state legislature called by Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam in the wake of mass shooting in Virginia Beach that killed twelve people.
To get your event added to the DPVA website and the newsletter, email firstname.lastname@example.org with event details!