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On Cancelled Martin Luther King Jr. Day Vigil, Brady Calls for Peace and Resolve in Remembering the Need for Gun Violence Prevention

Washington, D.C., January 17, 2020 - Today, gun violence prevention advocates cancelled a vigil to honor the victims of gun violence, planned for Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Richmond, due to credible public safety threats.

Brady supports this decision to ensure advocates, survivors and citizens remain safe in the face of credible threats and is undeterred in its mission to prevent gun violence, particularly in the face of extremism.

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Brady President Kris Brown explained:

“To all involved in attempts to intimidate and terrorize, know that common-sense gun bills, ones entirely consistent with the Second Amendment, will continue to be introduced and passed. The Virginia Senate already passed three gun violence prevention bills, and more will pass the General Assembly in the coming weeks and be signed into law. Not a single one of these bills threaten the rights of law-abiding gun owners. They do, however, protect public safety, make our Commonwealth safer and have been proven effective in preventing violence across the country. Voters across Virginia showed their support for these measures when they elected a gun violence prevention majority to the General Assembly for the first time in a generation. While those that threatened violence and intimidation are outside of the Capitol on Monday, they should remember that those representatives we helped to elect are inside, and they know why they are there. To enact common-sense gun laws and save lives.”

Yesterday, the Virginia State Senate passed three, common-sense gun safety bills:

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.

Last November, Virginia voters elected a gun violence prevention majority to both chambers of the Virginia General Assembly for the first time in a generation, largely on the promise of enacting gun safety reforms. This new legislature has kept its word and this violent rhetoric is a reaction to this popular reform. This extremism is built upon decades of the “any gun, anywhere” mentality fomented by the gun lobby and has allowed mass tragedies like those at Virginia Tech and Virginia Beach to occur.

Just as Virginia voters stood up to this extremism at the ballot box in November, so too are we resolved to stand against this extremism.

Brown concluded:

“On the day set aside to mark the legacy of Dr. King, it is appalling that any American would threaten violence and use hateful language. We must be heartened in remembering Dr. King’s example that we must live together as brothers. At Brady, we will continue to take action, not sides, and work with all Americans to ensure a safe future for all of us.”

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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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