Richmond VA- Today, the House Democratic Caucus continued their leadership on common sense gun reform by unveiling the “Safe Virginia Initiative” Task Force, a working group focused on developing policy initiatives that will reduce gun violence in Virginia.
“Thoughts and prayers are no longer enough” Democratic Leader David Toscano said. “We need real action on gun safety and this task force will develop common sense approaches to make our communities safer.”
“There was no productive debate on gun safety this past legislative session. Indeed, most measures failed to get out of committee. Away from the demands of session, we are taking this opportunity to listen and learn more from our communities and present comprehensive solutions to gun violence next session,” Caucus Chair Charniele Herring added.
The Safe Virginia Initiative will have a focus much broader than the select committee on school safety formed by Speaker Cox at the end of session. As the Speaker’s committee immediately declared it would not address the issue of gun violence, the House Democrats’ working group plans to organize events between May and October of this year related to this important issue. These events will occur throughout Virginia and will include public input.
The membership of the working groups welcomes delegates of both parties to participate in this effort.
Delegates Eileen Filler-Corn and Kathleen Murphy will co-chair the group.
“While we commend the formation of Speaker Cox’s select committee, we believe that it isn’t possible to separate school safety from gun safety,” Murphy said. “Our working group will take a more comprehensive approach to this issue. We will focus on developing policies that will help reduce gun violence in order to keep our children and families safe. Virginians should be able to be safe at school, at work, at home and in their place of worship.”
“This is an initiative that is inspired by the activism of young people across the country and in our Commonwealth and driven by a desire to find common ground and make substantive policy changes that will help keep all Virginians safer from gun violence,” Filler-Corn added. "Three out of the 10 deadliest mass shootings have taken place in our country in the last six months. Clearly, we need to get to work to find common sense, bipartisan solutions to address this crisis,” Filler-Corn added.
Delegates Filler-Corn and Murphy will coordinate with the regional chairs selected by the House Democratic Caucus; Delegate Delores McQuinn for Richmond, Delegate Marcia Price for Hampton Roads, Delegate John Bell for Northern Virginia and Delegate Chris Hurst for Southwest.
The group will work with experts from the Office of the Governor, the Office of the Attorney General, local leaders from both parties and law enforcement to draft policy proposals for the next legislative session.