Starting on July 1, Virginia will join 15 other states that have extreme risk protection orders. This means that a judge can remove firearms from people who are determined to be at risk of harming themselves or others. This law will help prevent gun violence by ensuring that people who are going through a crisis will have more time and resources to deal with their issues in a healthy manner without being tempted to resort to violence.
Passing this bill is a huge victory for Virginians who want to live in safe communities that are free of gun violence. Connecticut passed a similar bill and saw a 14% reduction in its firearm suicide rate. The hope is that this bill will also help us identify people who might be at risk of committing a mass shooting and preventing it from happening because in 54% of mass shootings, the perpetrator shows dangerous warning signs before the shooting. If this bill can save even one life, it will be worth the years of hard work that gun violence prevention activists have put into passing it.
But just because we are celebrating this victory does not mean that our work is done. We still have a long way to go before everyone lives in a safe and thriving community and is able to live without the fear of gun violence. We need to come together to pass even more gun violence prevention legislation to ensure that not one more person dies from gun violence in the Commonwealth.
That starts by pledging to vote for candidates who support common-sense gun violence prevention measures in the elections on November 3. Then sign up for our email list to stay informed about how you can take action to prevent gun violence in our communities.
Check out our other bills highlighted in Progress Virginia’s Christmas in July: