WASHINGTON, D.C. – Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, a part of Everytown, today applauded 52 Gun Sense Candidates for advancing to the general election in November. This fall, Virginians have a chance to flip control of both houses of the General Assembly to gun sense majorities in the NRA’s own backyard.
Virginians cast their primary ballots less than two weeks after a gunman shot and killed 12 people and shot and wounded four more in Virginia Beach, prompting Gov. Ralph Northam to announce plans to call a special session on gun violence prevention in Richmond later this summer. Instead of taking advantage of this opportunity to prevent gun violence before it happens, leaders from the Republican-controlled General Assembly — who earlier this year blocked bills to improve background checks, limit high capacity magazines and create a Red Flag law — indicated they plan to focus on harsher penalties for gun crimes after they’ve already occurred.
If lawmakers do not act to pass stronger gun laws in Virginia, Everytown and Moms Demand Action are committed to helping elect new lawmakers this fall who will.
“In the wake of the tragic mass shooting in Virginia Beach, voters made one thing clear: Electing leaders who will stand up for public safety remains one of their top priorities,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety. “Candidates who care more about protecting the gun industry than passing stronger gun laws do so at their peril.”
“From Virginia Tech to Virginia Beach, and so many gun homicides and suicides in between, Virginians know all too well the effect of gun violence,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. “It’s why so many of our volunteers are running for office in the Commonwealth, and why voters are going to the polls with the issue top of mind. Virginians deserve stronger gun laws that will help to keep their families safe.”
“We’re thrilled to see so many Gun Sense Candidates advance to the general election this fall,” said Leigh Anne Woodside, a volunteer with the Virginia chapter of Moms Demand Action. “With the recent shooting in Virginia Beach on our minds and in our hearts, we’re ready to elect lawmakers who will take action on gun violence.”
In all, 74 state legislative candidates sought and received the Moms Demand Action Gun Sense Candidate distinction in advance of yesterday’s primary, several of them running against each other in their primaries. Every Virginia primary election that included a Gun Sense Candidate advanced a Gun Sense Candidate to the general election.
Additionally, four volunteers with the Virginia chapter of Moms Demand Action ran for the state legislature and two ran in school board races, with five of the six volunteers advancing to the general election in November. Gun Sense Candidates vow to govern with gun safety in mind, and they received the distinction after filling out a detailed questionnaire about their stances on gun violence prevention.
The Gun Sense Candidate distinction is a signal to our nearly 6 million supporters, volunteers and voters across the country that a candidate stands up for gun violence prevention. The Gun Sense Candidate distinction is not an endorsement from Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America or Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund. Receiving the Moms Demand Action Gun Sense Candidate distinction is a prerequisite for being considered for endorsement.