Press Release from Terry McAuliffe’s Campaign: Terry McAuliffe today called on the General Assembly to pass a ban on the sale of assault weapons this legislative session, as part of his newly released plan to boldly confront the gun violence epidemic in Virginia. In addition to a ban on the sale of assault weapons, Terry’s plan prohibits the open carry of firearms in certain public spaces and gives localities the ability to ban open carry more broadly when there are credible threats to public safety. Later today, Terry will also host a virtual conversation on preventing gun violence with leading advocates, including Virginia Director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence Lori Haas, gun violence prevention advocate Andy Parker, and gun violence prevention and criminal justice reform advocate Reverend Dr. Emanuel Charles Harris.
As part of his bold plan to prevent gun violence in Virginia, Terry will close loopholes that repeatedly allow firearms to get into the hands of dangerous individuals, and aggressively fight back against the hate crime loophole. Terry will also broaden Virginia’s background check law to cover transfers of ownership, expanding on the work of the General Assembly last year. During the 2020 legislative session, Governor Ralph Northam and Virginia’s Democratic legislative majorities passed a number of laws to address gun violence, including requiring background checks on all gun sales, allowing localities to regulate firearms, and ensuring that firearms are kept away from children and out of the hands of dangerous individuals and domestic abusers. As governor, Terry will also create an Office of Gun Violence Prevention to identify and coordinate solutions across state agencies, and he will ensure life-saving gun violence prevention programs receive permanent funding.
“Virginia made critical progress in passing reforms to confront gun violence during the 2020 legislative session. But there remains much work to be done to save lives and address the continued gun violence that plagues too many of our communities. These types of big, bold proposals are exactly what it will take,” said Lori Haas, Virginia Director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence whose daughter Emily was shot twice and survived the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre. “Importantly, by creating a statewide Virginia Office of Gun Violence Prevention, we can ensure all agencies are working hand-in-hand with community leaders to identify and implement evidence-based solutions. Only by working together will we finally put an end to this epidemic and keep Virginians safe.”
“Terry believes this is the moment to go big and finally ban the sale of assault weapons and prohibit open carry in certain spaces in Virginia. He knows military-style assault firearms with high-capacity magazines are weapons of war and have no place on our streets when these guns are openly displayed to intimidate, not protect. As Virginia’s 72nd Governor, Terry was not afraid to stand up to extremist groups like the NRA and VCDL and he’s not afraid now. As our next governor, Terry will take bold action and get this crucial legislation passed,” said Andy Parker, whose daughter, journalist Alison Parker, was shot and killed on live television in 2015.
“Thousands of Virginians are harmed by gun violence each year, and the sad reality is that Black Virginians – young Black men in particular – bear the brunt of the gun violence epidemic in the Commonwealth. This crisis is all too real for our communities, and there is still much work to be done,” said Reverend Dr. Emanuel Charles Harris, Pastor of Jerusalem Baptist Church in Goochland County, Virginia. “Having focused my doctoral studies on creating a training model to address the intersection of domestic violence and the church’s teachings on patriarchal authority, I’m pleased to see that Terry’s plan will keep guns out of the hands of dangerous and abusive individuals, and attack this problem as the public health crisis it so clearly is.”
“Jim & Sarah Brady worked tirelessly to end the epidemic of gun violence, as Virginians, gun owners and survivors of gun violence. Terry’s plan recognizes that to combat gun violence we must treat it as the public health epidemic that it is,” said Kris Brown, President of Brady. “Terry’s plan addresses this crisis through comprehensive action that focuses on research, policy, implementation, and community-based efforts to meaningfully reduce gun violence in the Commonwealth and save lives.”
“Giffords applauds Terry McAuliffe for prioritizing gun violence prevention in his campaign and continuing to fight against the NRA. One year ago the Virginia legislature passed historic gun safety legislation but there is much to do in the Commonwealth and across the country. Terry’s plan is a bold next step,” said Peter Ambler, Executive Director & Co-Founder of Giffords.
“Virginia is sadly all too familiar with the threat of gun violence. While we have made great strides to protect lives in recent years, now is the time to boldly confront and end this epidemic once and for all. That starts by banning the sale of assault weapons in the Commonwealth,” said Terry McAuliffe. “I have never been afraid to stand up to the NRA, and that won’t change now. As governor, I will work tirelessly to eliminate these weapons of war from our streets, keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers, and keep our communities safe. I am ready to work with our Democratic majorities to get this done and protect Virginians across the Commonwealth.”
As the first southern Governor to be elected after running with an “F” rating from the NRA, Terry knows Virginians want bold, decisive action to address this crisis. During his tenure as Virginia’s 72nd Governor, Terry signed an Executive Order banning guns in most state buildings, proposed numerous commonsense gun safety bills, and vetoed 15 radical Republican bills that would have further weakened Virginia’s gun laws. He passed the first meaningful gun safety laws in decades, including a domestic violence law that was one of the toughest in the nation and a requirement that State Police be present at every gun show to run voluntary background checks on private sales.
Since launching his campaign for governor in December, Terry has rolled out numerous big, bold plans to help improve the lives of Virginians, beginning with his comprehensive education plan that would give every child in Virginia equitable access to a world-class education and raise teacher pay. Last week, Terry released his Prescription For A Healthier Virginia plan to combat the predatory system of prescription drug pricing, and he called on the General Assembly to begin the process of passing a constitutional amendment that would codify the restoration of voting rights to Virginians. As governor, Terry will address the economic impacts of COVID-19, ensure Virginians have access to regular nutritious meals, and invest in mental health resources.