August 6, 2019 News & Press Releases

MORE EXTREME THAN TRUMP: VA Republicans Quashed Red Flag Gun Law That The President Supports

by Democratic Party of Virginia

MORE EXTREME THAN TRUMP: Virginia Republicans Quashed Red Flag Gun Law That The President Supports

Richmond, VA – In the wake of two mass shootings that killed over 30 people and injured several dozen more in Dayton and El Paso, Americans across the country are demanding their leaders take action to stop gun violence. Even President Trump has backed modest proposals to restrict access to guns. In a speech yesterday, he called for red flag laws that allow people to obtain a court order to temporarily prevent someone who has exhibited certain warning signs from having access to a gun.
But Virginia Republicans have managed to impose their extreme right-wing views on the Commonwealth and block red flag bills multiple times this year, keeping Virginia far behind other states on gun safety improvements. In January, Republicans killed more than a dozen gun safety bills in committee, including a red flag bill backed by the Trump administration. After a mass shooting in Virginia Beach, they had a chance to correct their mistake during a special legislative session meant to specifically address gun violence. A red flag bill was one of 60 gun violence prevention measures meant to be considered during the session. Instead, Republicans cut and ran, adjourning after 90 minutes without debating a single bill. 
Now after more mass shootings, Virginia Republicans are heartlessly recycling talking points and doing everything they can to avoid taking real action. In the clearest sign yet that their fringe pro-gun views are even too extreme for Trump, John Fredericks,Trump's 2016 Virginia campaign chair warned that Virginia Republicans would face "political Armageddon" unless they broke with the NRA and demanded Senator Amanda Chase "do something" real to address gun violence.
"It's clear that Virginia Republicans care more about keeping their A+ ratings from the NRA than keeping their constituents safe. Kirk Cox and the rest of the Republicans in the General Assembly refuse to even take a vote on legislation that Donald Trump and Republicans across the country support. As much blame as Donald Trump has rightfully received for his inaction on gun safety, Virginia Republicans deserve even more for refusing to take the most minimal action supported by the President. Now more than ever it is clear who Kirk Cox, Tommy Norment, and their fellow Republicans are: gutless politicians who are more concerned about the NRA than the safety of their constituents," said DPVA press secretary Grant Fox. 
Red flag laws work. Studies have shown that they reduce suicides, and politicians on both sides of the aisle support them. 17 states, including some controlled by Republicans like Indiana and Florida, have enacted them recently. And a June poll of voters in Republican-held legislative districts throughout the Commonwealth found that 83% of respondents, including 73% of Trump voters, support a red flag law. Democratic voters have ranked gun violence as a top issues in recent polls, suggesting Republicans' repeated failure on this issue will be a massive liability in the November elections.