Prince William Representatives Respond to Adjournment of Va Special Gun Control Session

| July 10, 2019 | 0 Comments | News

The Republicans who control the Virginia General Assembly adjourned the special session to discuss gun control, Tuesday, without voting on any of the proposed bills or amendments.

A large number of citizens had assembled in Richmond to rally for or protest against further gun control measures in the Commonwealth.

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam (D) called the session following the May 31 mass shooting at the Virginia Beach municipal building. Twelve people had been killed in that attack.

Democrats felt it was the time to propel gun control legislation forward in the Commonwealth in order to prevent further acts of gun violence, and ultimately save lives.

However, many Republicans claim the special session was political theatre and/or a way for the governor to distract from his scandals, specifically racially offensive photos allegedly of him in his medical school yearbook. Proposed bills could be discussed in regular session after elections are held.

As reported in the Washington Post, Speaker Kirk Cox (R) called the call for the session “premature” and said it was “an election year stunt.”

However, in a press release, Gov. Northam said there is a “gun violence emergency” in Virginia, and it is “shameful” that some representatives refuse to even discuss the issue.

I called legislators back to Richmond for this special session so we could take immediate action to address the gun violence emergency that takes more than a thousand Virginians’ lives each year. I expected lawmakers to take this seriously. I expected them to do what their constituents elected them to do—discuss issues and take votes.

An average of three Virginians die each day due to gun violence. That means hundreds of Virginians may die between today and November 18, the next day the legislature plans to work.

It is shameful and disappointing that Republicans in the General Assembly refuse to do their jobs, and take immediate action to save lives. I expected better of them. Virginians expect better of them.

Prince William County representatives opinions fell along party lines. Both sides feel that the gun debate is an issue that will resonate with their party members come the November 2019 elections.

On Facebook Sen. Dick Black (R-13th) said the vote was a distraction and would have been “disastrous.”

A vote today would have been disastrous for law-abiding citizens. We don’t have the votes to stop this wave of bills designed to distract voters from the Governor’s scandals.

Thank you to VDCL and everyone who traveled down to stand up for our rights. The impact you made was felt throughout Richmond and you have my gratitude for your grassroots efforts.”

Now it goes back to the voters. We need reinforcements down here in Richmond. Please get involved! We have four months until Election Day to sure up our Constitutional rights. Don’t sit this one out!

Sen. Jennifer Wexton (D-10th) said that she ran on preventing gun violence.

I ran unapologetically on gun violence last year and won. Republicans in Richmond are cowards – afraid to even have a discussion about gun violence prevention and to represent the interests and safety of their constituents.

We’re coming for your seats on November 5. #ExpectUs

Del. Hala Ayala (D-51st) said Virginia residents should be outraged there was no vote.

Partisan politics aside, you deserve to know where your representatives stand, and that did not happen today. You have my word – I will continue to fight every day to ensure that the people of PWC have a voice in Richmond.

My message to voters – this is outrageous. You should be outraged. Take that, and bring it with you to the ballot box in November.
And to ALL of those that came to Richmond to make your voices heard – Thank you. It is humbling and inspiring to see our democracy in full effect.

On social media, Del. Danica Roem (D-13th) explained that she supports commonsense gun-control legislation designed to keep people safe.

“You, the people we represent, elect us to do our jobs regardless of politics. Adjourning the special session until after the election defies that.”

Roem recently co-patroned HB-4003/SB 402 that would prevent someone from purchasing or possessing a firearm who has been legally found to be an immediate threat to themselves or others due to a history of gun violence or suicidal self-harm. A judge would have to grant that person special permission, who in turn would have to have received a petition from a law-enforcement officer or the Commonwealth attorney, to allow it.

“This is about homicide and suicide prevention. As a reporter, I’ve had to cover both and both have affected people in my life.”

“The other two bills I co-patroned are common-sense: don’t recklessly leave loaded firearms around kids without supervision (which is already code; this just includes any minor) and if your firearm is lost or stolen, report it.”

“This is about preventing suicide/murder (HB 4003) and accidental shootings (HB 4006) and recovering lost/stolen firearms (HB 4011). All of these are in the public interest and I believe these are issues where I could reasonably expect to find consensus among my constituents in the 13th District.”

Roem provides the text of the proposed bills and amendments on her page.

I'm here in Richmond after the special session on gun violence prevention.The House majority voted party-line to…

Posted by Danica Roem – Virginia Delegate on Tuesday, July 9, 2019

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