Washington, D.C., January 12, 2021 - At the start of the 2021 legislative session in Virginia, Brady welcomes the opportunity for lawmakers to build on the historic 2020 session and pass further, life-saving policies to keep Virginians safe from gun violence.
Brady President Kris Brown shared:
“Following a historic session in 2020, the Virginia General Assembly has the opportunity to continue passing common-sense policies to protect the Commonwealth. This year, the legislature must work to further enact the mandate that voters handed them in 2019: to keep the Commonwealth safe from gun violence. Virginia lawmakers have worked tirelessly passing numerous, popular and life-saving laws. We look forward to working with them to do so in this new session as well.
Among the policies that the General Assembly should take up this session are bills to address the carrying of firearms in public spaces, in order to protect Virginians from armed intimidation. With the backdrop of the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol last week, and the events at the Virginia State Capitol on Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 2020, where armed extremists from around the country came with the intention of intimidating the Commonwealth’s duly elected lawmakers, Richmond residents, and peaceful demonstrators, the General Assembly can begin by codifying the ban on firearms on the grounds of the Capitol and legislative buildings.
Brady looks forward to the General Assembly quickly sending these policies to the Governor for his signature and to make Virginia safer for all of its residents.”
In the 2020 legislative and special sessions, the Virginia General Assembly passed over 18 Brady-supported policies into law. These new laws, ranging from an extreme risk law to temporarily remove guns from individuals who are proven to be at risk of harming themselves or others to a bill banning law enforcement officers from executing or participating in “no-knock” warrants, are already at work and keeping Virginians safe.
These laws work. They are broadly popular with Virginians and there is more work to be done.
Bills Signed into Law by the Governor Last Year:
Last year, the General Assembly passed the majority of what’s known as the “Governor’s Package,” a suit of laws which Governor Ralph Northam requested that legislators pass following the 2019 mass shooting in Virginia Beach. These bills included:
- Lost & Stolen Firearms: This law requires 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 to help prevent firearms from being stolen and diverted to the criminal gun market.
- Local Authority: This law overturned portions of the Commonwealth’s "preemption" law, which prevented local governments from taking action to reduce violence in their jurisdictions.
- An Extreme Risk Law: This law creates an extreme risk protective order (broadly known as an "extreme risk law") in the state of Virginia. This bill enables 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.
- Protective Order Expansion: This law extends and updates 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.
- Child Access Prevention: This law protects children and teens through the Commonwealth by creating stronger deterrents to ensure that children are not in the position to access unsecured firearms.
- Extended Background Checks: This law expands background check requirements for private sales with limited exceptions.
- One Handgun A Month Law: This law limits 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.
Following a special session in the summer and fall of 2020, Gov. Northam signed an omnibus police reform bill, SB 5030, inclusive of the following legislation:
- HB 5029: This law requires law enforcement officers to intervene if they witness the use or attempted use of excessive force by another officer, and to render aid to an individual injured as a result of the excessive use of force.
- HB 5045: This law makes it unlawful for law enforcement officers to engage in sexual activity with a person who they have arrested or detained, an inmate, parolee, probationer, juvenile detainee, or pretrial defendant or post trial offender.
- HB 5051: This law expands the de-certification process for law enforcement officers.
- HB 5069: This law limits law enforcement’s use of neck restraints, including chokeholds, carotid restraints, and lateral vascular neck restraints.
- HB 5099: This law bans law enforcement officers from executing or participating in “no-knock” warrants and limits the execution of warrants during nighttime hours.
- HB 5104: This law requires the request and disclosure of documents related to an officer’s employment record, including disciplinary history, before hiring.
- HB 5108: This law expands and diversifies the membership of the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Board to be more inclusive of communities of color, mental health practitioners, and social justice interests.
- HB 5109: This law creates standardized training procedures for law enforcement officers across the Commonwealth and mandates this training to include awareness of racism and bias-biased profiling, as well as instruction on de-escalation techniques.
In that same special session, Governor Northam also signed into law another Brady-endorsed bill, HB5072, which empowers the Attorney General to conduct an investigation or file a civil action against a law enforcement agency or locality for engaging in a pattern or practice of law enforcement officer conduct that deprives individuals of their rights.
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.