McKay, BOS press for gun reforms ahead of special session

Picture of Northam talking at lectern with others on each side of him
Gov. Ralph Northam (center), Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax (far left) and Attorney General Mark Herring (right) hold a press conference June 4 about the special session on gun violence. (YouTube screenshot)

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors has sent a resolution to the Virginia General Assembly urging state politicians to pass “common sense” laws aimed at curbing gun violence at a special session being held in July.

Lee District Supervisor Jeff McKay authored the resolution, which passed by a 9-0-1 margin at Tuesday’s board meeting. Springfield District Supervisor Pat Herrity, one of two Republicans on the board, abstained from the vote.

The resolution asks for a ban on assault weapons, high-capacity magazines and bump stocks. It also calls for universal background checks and laws that allow for temporary removal of firearms of individuals who may be a risk to others or themselves.

McKay said in a press release that the state does not allow counties to pass such measures, and that it’s now “the General Assembly’s time to act.”

“We must enact gun safety laws to protect our families and communities, and right now the state does not allow individual counties to do that,” McKay said. “We must enact gun safety laws to protect our families and communities, and right now the state does not allow individual counties to do that. No child should be afraid to go to school or to their local park.”

Specific recommendations outlined in the letter include:

  • Universal background checks for all gun buyers
  • “Red flag” or “extreme risk protective order” legislation to create a legal process for the temporary removal of firearms from individuals deemed to pose an imminent risk of violence to themselves or others
  • Bans on assault weapons, high-capacity magazines, armor piercing ammunition, and bump stocks
  • Child access prevention laws to limit child access to firearms and reduce suicides and unintentional gun deaths and injuries of children
  • Reinstating the “one-gun-a-month” law
  • Granting localities, the authority to prohibit or restrict the possession, transportation or carrying of firearms in public buildings or on other property owned by a locality

The resolution cited statistics about gun violence in the state, noting that 1,028 Virginians died in gun violence in 2017, and that more people are killed annually by gun violence than by car crashes in Virginia.

“[S]uicide rates in Virginia are slowly increasing, with handguns the cause of death in suicides in almost 60 percent of cases,” the resolution says.

Gov. Ralph Northam called for the special session on gun violence in the wake of the May 31 mass shooting in Virginia Beach, which killed 12 people. The General Assembly will convene on July 9 in Richmond.

Another local politician, State Sen. Scott Surovell (D-36) announced earlier this week that he will be hosting a forum on preventing firearm violence with Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy (D-2) and Virginia Health And Human Services Secretary Daniel Carey. That event will be 7:30 p.m. on Monday, July 1 at the Chinn Park Regional Library in Woodbridge.

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  1. Kurt Lauer