During the past weekend, we experienced the 150th mass shooting of the year right here in Virginia.
When asked about her reaction to the massacre at the Virginia Beach Municipal Center, local resident Nora Schaefer said to me, “Although people say a shooting can happen anywhere when it does happen in your city it changes things…I’ve driven past that building. I know people who work for the city. It’s wild that shootings have become a normal occurrence. Now, I have to look at every place I go and think about how accessible it is to a shooter. I worry about every guy that’s been turned away from my job for employment coming back with a gun…it’s sobering.”
150 Mass Shootings in 2019 Alone
There have been 150 shootings in 2019, and we’re only halfway through the year. Every year since 2016, gun-related deaths have steadily increased, and measures have been introduced in Richmond aimed at preventing gun violence in the state. Gun violence prevention shouldn’t be partisan, but special interests team up with the state’s GOP to defeat legislation meant to address the threat of gun violence in the Commonwealth.
High-capacity magazines that convert handguns to fully-automatic weapons, were used in the Virginia Beach shooting. They use many rounds of ammunition to shoot in a short amount of time. Aside from military combat, there is no purpose for high-capacity magazines or bump stocks, which also aid in rapid succession firing.
Nora shouldn’t have to feel scared to go about her daily life. Here in the US, children are murdered at school; people die during worship; Queer folks are targeted during a night out—all due to dangerous people having easy access to lethal weapons. Yet none of the countless massacres have managed to move conservative politicians to action to prevent gun violence.
So, what’s stopping these politicians from standing up for our families?
We’re Good On Positive Sentiments; We Need Gun Violence Prevention Policies
In Virginia, dozens of bills were introduced during the 2019 General Assembly to prevent gun violence. Two of them, SB 1748 and HB 2492, would have banned high-capacity magazines and many assault weapons. Both were defeated in committee on party-line votes.
Right after a mass shooting, the immediate response from conservative politicians is “sincere apologies”. They promise to add the victims to their prayers lists. If these politicians were actually concerned with the well-being of our families, they would pass legislation to protect us.
This Summer, Virginia Lawmakers Are Meeting to Address Gun Violence Prevention
Actions speaks louder than words, right? Then Speaker Kirk Cox and Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment should put momentum behind these deep, sincere feelings. Here’s your chance to speak up: Governor Ralph Northam has called for a special session of the General Assembly to pass legislation to prevent gun violence in the Commonwealth. We want to hear from you! Take our 1 question poll to let us know what gun violence prevention measures you think we should support in the special session.