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Brady Celebrates Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Calls for Resolve on Gun Safety Legislation in the Face of Threats, Protests

Washington, D.C., January 20, 2020 - Today, Brady celebrated Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Dr. King’s legacy by remembering his resolve in the face of adversity.

Brady President Kris Brown remarked:

“Today was supposed to be a day of remembrance and a reminder of the values that Dr. King held and modeled for us: service, nonviolence, community, and concern for all people. Instead, what we’ve seen is an event filled with vitriol and extremism, riled up by a President tweeting falsehoods. Let me be clear: the bills that today’s protest opposed do not infringe upon anyone’s constitutional rights. They are common-sense. They are effective. Laws like these save lives and have been upheld as constitutional. It is why the majority of Virginia voters support them.

To see a day intended to honor those who have been killed by gun violence marred by white supremacy, credible threats of violence, and hate is disheartening, disappointing, and deeply saddening. But, for those very same people we honor today, we cannot give up and we will not be stopped. The Virginia legislature will continue to do the people’s business and enact tested, common-sense gun violence prevention laws across the Commonwealth.

Today, as in all days, I stand with survivors. I stand with reason. And I stand with Virginia.”

Today would have been the 28th annual vigil for victims of gun violence to occur on Martin Luther King Jr. Day on the grounds of the Virginia Capitol. Brady was proud to partner with March For Our Lives Virginia, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, and the Virginia Center for Public Safety to organize a small and impromptu vigil at the close of the rally. For almost three decades, this vigil has occurred in conjunction with the state’s “lobby day,” when Virginia residents visit the capitol to speak with their representatives about issues that matter to them most. For attendees of this vigil, those issues are gun violence prevention and gun safety, policies supported by the majority of Virginians.

Ahead of the rally, Brady and fellow gun violence prevention groups assisted March For Our Lives Virginia in launching an online campaign, #IStandWithVirginia, which immediately trended nationally, garnering over 150,000 tweets. The campaign echoes what we already know — the overwhelming majority of Americans support common-sense gun reform.

As of Monday, January 20, 2020, the Virginia State Senate has passed three, common-sense gun safety bills, which protestors opposed:

S.B. 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.

S.B. 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.

S.B. 70 – Expands and strengthens background checks across the Commonwealth, closing loopholes that allow prohibited purchasers to obtain weapons.

Brady encourages the Virginia House of Delegates to take up and pass these bills.

Brown concluded:

“When confronted with hate, when confronted with threats of violence, our answer must be to remain firm. In the effort to prevent gun violence and save lives, we will not stop, and we will not be silenced.”

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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.


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