House Democrats call for changes in state law on anniversary of Charlottesville rally

virginia house democratsJoint statement from House Democratic Leader David Toscano and Caucus Chair Charniele Herring on the one-year anniversary of the violent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville.

“One year later, we continue to feel the effects of the violent alt-right rally and its aftermath in Charlottesville, across the Commonwealth, and throughout the nation. We remember the sacrifice of Heather Heyer, who lost her life standing up to hatred, and Lt. H. Jay Cullen and Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates, who died while protecting all those involved, and our thoughts remain with the surviving victims and their families.

“Collectively as Virginians, we shared in the horror that this hate-fueled rally happened here, and we are taking active steps to ensure it never happens again. Along with our Democratic colleagues in the General Assembly, we introduced multiple bills that would protect our communities from violent political rallies and begin to heal the scars of the past. Unfortunately, all of these bills were killed on mostly party lines. Rejecting white supremacy and empowering law enforcement to protect Virginians should never be a partisan issue, and we will keep trying to pass legislation that will move us forward.

“This weekend, as we remember the tragedy in Charlottesville last year, we will also be thinking of our colleagues and neighbors in Northern Virginia, as another white nationalist rally takes place in DC. Stay safe, Virginia.”

In the 2018 General Assembly session, members of the House Democratic Caucus introduced the following bills in response to the violent rally in Charlottesville. All of the bills were killed in committees without giving the full House the opportunity to debate them. The committees are controlled by Republican majorities that reflect the make-up of the full chamber.

  • HB 300 by Del. Vivian Watts would have made it a Class 6 felony to commit assault and battery against a victim based on race, religion, color, or national origin.
  • HB 649 by Del. Marcus Simon would have prohibited carrying a loaded shotgun or rifle in certain places, and added the City of Roanoke to the list of cities where it is prohibited.
  • HB 814 by Del. Mark Levine would have allowed a locality to prohibit firearms from being carried during a lawful demonstration or protest.
  • HB 818 by Del. Charniele Herring would have established the Monument Removal Fund and allowed localities to request funding to remove certain monuments.
  • HB 1009 by Del. David Toscano would have added the City of Charlottesville and Albemarle County to the list of localities where carrying certain firearms is prohibited.
  • HB 1019 by Del. David Toscano would have allowed localities to prohibit firearms from being carried in a public space during a permitted event.
  • HB 1052 by Del. Vivian Watts would have allowed a locality to prohibit firearms from being carried during a lawful demonstration or protest.
  • HB 1098 by Del. Mark Levine would have allowed localities to relocate monuments erected prior to 1900 to history museums.
  • HB 1225 by Del. David Toscano would have allowed localities to remove or contextualize war memorials.
  • HB 1601 by Del. Cia Price would have further defined domestic terrorism.


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