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Why Your Vote Matters in the Fight Against Gun Violence in Virginia




Gun violence is a pressing issue in the United States, and the state of Virginia has been at the forefront of addressing this crisis. Recent elections and legislative actions have shown that every vote counts in the ongoing battle for stronger gun safety laws. Let's discuss why your vote matters in the fight against gun violence in Virginia.





The Virginia General Assembly: A Key Battleground


Virginia's General Assembly consists of two chambers: the Senate, with 40 seats serving four-year terms, and the House of Delegates, with 100 seats serving two-year terms. The last Senate election took place in 2019, while the last House election occurred in 2021. The next elections for both chambers are scheduled for this November.


In the 2019 election, Virginia saw a significant shift in its legislative landscape. Fifteen candidates endorsed by Everytown for Gun Safety were elected. Shannon Watts, the founder of Moms Demand Action, referred to the incoming Virginia legislature as a "gun sense majority" in both houses 12. This marked a turning point in the fight against gun violence in the state.


Legislation for Gun Safety: Achievements and Setbacks


Following the 2019 election, Virginia made substantial progress in passing gun safety legislation. In 2020 and 2021, a series of laws were enacted, including:

  • Universal background checks.

  • Mandatory reporting of lost or stolen firearms.

  • Reinstating Virginia's one handgun per month law.

  • The implementation of a risk order (red flag) law, allowing law enforcement to remove firearms from individuals deemed a threat to themselves or others.

  • Prohibiting domestic abusers from accessing firearms.

  • Closing the Charleston loophole.

  • Granting localities the authority to pass their own gun safety laws.

These legislative victories led to Virginia having the 14th-strongest gun laws in the country3.


The 2021 Election: A Pivotal Moment


In 2021, Virginia held another critical election. The state saw the election of 31 House of Delegates candidates endorsed by the Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL) and 40 gun sense candidates. The National Rifle Association (NRA) referred to this election as "a historic investment" and a rejection of the "anti-gun agenda"45.

2022/2023 Legislation: A Senate Setback


However, despite the successes in the House, the Senate did not follow suit. Several pro-gun bills passed in the House in 2022/2023 failed to become law, primarily due to the Senate's resistance. Even though the Senate previously had a gun sense majority, these bills did not pass, highlighting the importance of maintaining a pro-gun safety majority in both chambers.


The Crucial November Election


The November 2023 election in Virginia holds immense significance in the fight against gun violence. Here's why:

  • Only 51 votes are needed to pass legislation in the House, and just 21 in the Senate.

  • Many pro-gun bills in the House passed with slim majorities, making them vulnerable to flipping with a few seats.

  • There's a real risk of the Senate transitioning to a pro-gun majority, potentially rolling back critical gun safety measures.

Warnings from the Gun Lobby


The statements from Virginia's political leaders and the NRA indicate that the 2023 election will have a significant impact on gun legislation. Governor Glenn Youngkin has expressed reluctance to sign any gun control legislation, and the NRA has highlighted the challenge of advancing Second Amendment rights with an anti-gun Senate67.

Make Your Voice Heard

Your vote matters in the fight against gun violence in Virginia. Early voting is already underway, and the election is approaching fast. Here are some important dates to remember:

  • October 16: Deadline to register to vote.

  • October 27: Deadline to request a mail-in ballot.

  • November 7: Election Day.

Visit elections.virginia.gov to make your plan to vote and play a vital role in shaping the future of gun safety legislation in the state. Your vote can make a difference in the ongoing fight against gun violence in Virginia.


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