Virginia Democrats respond to Obama executive actions on guns

virginia democratsU.S. Sen. Tim Kaine and other Virginia Democratic Party leaders responded positively to the executive actions aimed at curbing gun violence announced today by President Obama.

“Virginia knows all too well the tragedy and pain of gun violence,” Kaine said. “When I was Governor, Virginia suffered the deadliest mass shooting to date on the campus of Virginia Tech. More recently, the nation witnessed the terrifying shooting of two young journalists from our Commonwealth on live television. And there are too many incidents of domestic violence, suicides and urban violence involving guns that remain outside the coverage of the mainstream press. In the wake of Charleston, Sandy Hook, and countless other tragedies across the country, there’s simply no denying that gun violence is one of the most pressing crises that our nation faces. That is why I strongly support the executive actions the President has announced.

“The proposals seek a robust and holistic approach focused on strengthening background checks and providing the resources to enforce gun laws, increase mental health treatment and improve reporting to the background check system. They also encourage the use of smart technology to develop safer guns. It’s my hope that Congress will not stand in the way of these important actions to protect Americans and their families and that we can work together to find more ways to reduce gun violence,” Kaine said.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe praised the measures announced by the president “designed to protect all citizens from gun violence by fully enforcing existing laws and taking reasonable steps to keep firearms out of the hands of dangerous individuals.

“The families across our Commonwealth and our nation who have lost loved ones to gun violence make a compelling case for action, and Americans are clearly demanding that their leaders take responsibility to ensure that all businesses involved in the sale of firearms conduct appropriate background checks,” McAuliffe said.

“It would be a violation of the public trust to ignore their pleas for meaningful protections. If these measures prevent a single family from going through the agony that so many Virginians have experienced, they will be worthwhile.”

Attorney General Mark Herring talked about meeting Virginians who have been personally affected by gun violence and the affect that those meetings have had on him.

“The feeling of loss, pain, and grief is so palpable it reminds me that we have an urgent responsibility to do everything in our power to keep more families from experiencing that kind of heartbreak,” Herring said.

“The measures announced today, and others being taken in Virginia and communities around the country, are important steps to promote public safety, prevent gun violence, and keep guns away from criminals and other dangerous people. Background checks, like concealed handgun reciprocity agreements, are how we enforce the laws already on the books about who can and cannot lawfully possess or conceal a weapon. Strongly enforcing these laws makes it harder for a gun to get into the hands of a dangerous person who might hurt themselves, someone else, or commit a crime. It doesn’t affect safe, law-abiding citizens. We should all be able to get behind that, and that’s why universal background checks are supported by 75% of Virginians,” Herring said.