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Virginia General Assembly Resumes Session with Gun Safety in Focus

As the calendar flips to 2024, Virginians can mark their calendars for a crucial event on January 10th - the reopening of the Virginia General Assembly.

The legislative machinery is gearing up once again, with lawmakers filing bills that will shape the state's future. For those looking to make a meaningful impact in 2024, getting involved in activism at the state level is a powerful way to influence change.

If you're passionate about gun safety, now is the time to step up and make your voice heard. One effective way to do so is by actively engaging with your state senator and state delegate. Save their contact numbers (look them up here), follow their legislative activities, and, most importantly, let them know your stance on crucial issues.

The Richmond Times Dispatch has highlighted key gun safety bills that are gaining attention in the upcoming session. Among them is a renewed effort to ban future sales of assault-style weapons. If successful, this proposal would reclassify possession or sale of assault-style weapons and high-capacity ammunition feeding devices as Class 1 misdemeanors by July 2024. See more about an assault weapons ban here.

Sen.-elect Schuyler VanValkenburg, D-Henrico, has described proposed gun storage laws as "low hanging fruit" and is optimistic about bipartisan support. Del.-elect Mike Jones, D-Richmond, is already carrying a bill aimed at implementing such measures.

In a late December move, VanValkenburg and Del. Rodney Willett, D-Henrico, introduced bills addressing the issue of minors using firearms (here and here). Under this proposal, gun owners allowing minors to use their firearms could face a Class 1 misdemeanor. The severity of penalties increases to a Class 5 felony if the gun owner is aware, or reasonably should be aware, that the minor has a history of violence or has been involved in school threat assessments deemed moderate, high, or imminent.

As Virginians, this is your chance to actively shape the legislative landscape. Take the initiative to engage with your elected representatives. Call regularly, express your support for gun safety measures, and encourage them to cosponsor or sponsor bills that align with your values.

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