Washington, D.C., January 30, 2020 - Today, Brady applauds the Virginia House of Delegates for passing seven common-sense gun violence prevention bills. These bills will help to keep Virginians safer, implementing policies supported by bipartisan majorities of the Virginians such as expanding background checks and ensuring that individuals who are proven a danger to themselves or others are not in possession of a firearm.
Brady President and Virginia resident and voter Kris Brown shared:
“We’ve seen steady progress from the Virginia legislature in considering and passing common-sense policies that will make our Commonwealth safer. The votes taken today in the House of Delegates put us one step closer to sending these to Gov. Northam for his signature. These are sound public policies that do not violate individual rights and will make our communities safer.
Brady urges both chambers of the legislature to continue this important work that voters sent them to Richmond to accomplish.”
Brady has consistently and publicly supported good-faith efforts to enact common-sense gun violence prevention laws and regulations across the Commonwealth. Last week, Vice President of Policy, Christian Heyne, submitted official testimony in the Virginia House of Delegates Public Safety Committee in support of the seven bills passed by the full House of Delegates today. Similarly, earlier this month, Brady Senior Manager of State Policy Kelsey Rogers submitted official testimony in the Virginia Senate Judiciary Committee in support of four bills that have now passed the full Senate.
House Bills Passed Today:
HB 2 – This bill would enact a universal background check bill requirement for all private sales and transfers, with limited exceptions.
HB 9 – This bill would require an individual to report the loss or theft of a legally owned firearm within 24 hours of discovering the loss or theft to a local law enforcement agency or state police. This will help to prevent firearms from being stolen and diverted to the criminal gun market. Lost and stolen guns are notoriously difficult to trace and this bill will help ensure law enforcement can do their jobs effectively.
HB 421 – This bill would allow local governments to have authority to enact gun laws in their localities, thus overturning the current "preemption" law on the books in the Commonwealth. Currently, Virginia law handcuffs local governments, preventing them from taking action to reduce violence in their jurisdictions. It is critical that local governments have the authority to adopt gun violence prevention measures that are tailored to address the gun violence closest to home and have the ability to direct local resources to effectively implementing those solutions.
HB 674 – This bill would create an extreme risk protective order (broadly known as an "extreme risk law") in the state of Virginia. This bill would enable law enforcement to file a civil petition before a court in Virginia to temporarily remove firearms from an individual in crisis when there is presented evidence before the court that the individual is at risk of harming themselves or others. These laws have been implemented in 17 states and Washington D.C. and evidence suggests they can prevent suicides, interpersonal violence, and even mass shootings. These laws follow a civil, not criminal, process.
HB 812 – This bill would limit the cadence of handgun purchases to one per month, to help stem the flow of guns being diverted to the criminal market via trafficking and straw purchasing, as Virginia has long been a top “exporter” of crime guns to other states with strict gun laws.
HB 1004 – This bill would extend and update Virginia's law regarding firearms prohibition for those under permanent protective orders, helping to protect those in critical periods of danger by ensuring that all individuals under a permanent protective order do not possess a weapon.
HB 1083 – This bill would update Virginia's child access prevention law to protect more children and teens through the Commonwealth, creating deterrents to ensure that children are not in the position access unsecured firearms. It would raise the age of children that are protected under this law from the age of 14 to 18.
Bills Passed by the Virginia Senate Previously:
This year, the Virginia Senate has passed five, common-sense bills, including those that will ensure that individuals who are a danger to themselves or others do not possess weapons as well allowing local governments to regulate firearm safety within their jurisdictions. The bills that passed the Senate are:
SB 35 – Repeals existing state law that preempts local governments from “adopt[ing] or enforce[ing] any resolution . . . governing the purchase, possession, transfer, ownership, carrying, storage or transportation of firearms.” This existing law stops local governments from enacting legally sound and common-sense regulations of weapons in their jurisdictions. Repeal of this law would empower local governments to create and implement solutions that best address the needs of their constituents and communities.
SB 69 – Limits the cadence at which an individual can purchase a handgun to one weapon per month, a policy that was previously enacted in the Commonwealth from 1993 to 2012 and was associated with a dramatic reduction in firearms from Virginia being recovered at crime scenes in other states.
SB 70 – Expands and strengthens background checks across the Commonwealth, closing loopholes that allow prohibited purchasers to obtain weapons.
SB 240 – Institutes an extreme risk law, sometimes known as “red flag laws,” that provides a way for the courts and law enforcement to temporarily remove a firearm from individuals who are a proven risk to themselves or others. Extreme risk laws have been proven effective, upheld as constitutional and are a critical tool to help ensure that temporary crises do not become permanent tragedies
SB 479 - This bill would extend and update Virginia's law regarding firearms prohibition for those under permanent protective orders, helping to protect those in critical periods of danger by ensuring that all individuals under a permanent protective order do not possess a weapon.
Brady has one powerful mission — to unite all Americans against gun violence. We work across Congress, the courts, and our communities with over 90 grassroots chapters, bringing together young and old, red and blue, and every shade of color to find common ground in common sense. In the spirit of our namesakes Jim and Sarah Brady, we have fought for over 45 years to take action, not sides, and we will not stop until this epidemic ends. It’s in our hands.