Following the release of a poll showing broad public support for reasonable gun reform measures, House Republicans today killed a bill that would have repealed a statutory prohibition on guns and other dangerous weapons in places of worship.
The bill, sponsored by Delegate Dave LaRock, previously passed out of the Militia, Police and Public Safety Committee on a party-line vote. House Republicans killed the bill by sending it back to the Courts committee to die.
“The guns-in-churches bill never should have made it to the floor of the House of Delegates,” said House Democratic Leader David J. Toscano. “House Republicans knew that allowing guns in churches is so out of touch with the will of Virginians that they did not have the votes within their own caucus to pass this bill. House Democrats will continue to fight for reasonable gun reforms that make our communities safer and stronger.”
“Keeping guns out of churches is a victory for Virginia,” said Caucus Chair Charniele Herring. “A recent poll by the Wason Center for Public Policy showed broad public support for reasonable gun reforms such as background checks, which 84 percent of Virginia voters want. We hear all those who have felt or who fear gun violence. House Democrats are committed to fighting for families, and that means working to keep those families safe.”
“The law to prohibit guns in churches has been on the books in Virginia since 1878,” said Delegate Delores McQuinn, an associate minister. “I don’t know why anyone would feel the need to repeal this law now. As we reflect on the senseless murders of all the people who have already been killed in churches, why would we open the floodgates for more shootings in our sacred sanctuaries?”
During the 2018 legislative session, House Republicans have killed Democratic legislation to ban bumpstocks and ensure universal background checks. Meanwhile, they voted against a rule change that would ban guns from the gallery of the House of Delegates from one hour before to one hour after each day’s legislative session.
House Democrats discussed our gun safety priorities at a press conference Jan. 30.