Virginia had a very successful legislative session! Most of Governor Northam’s gun safety package passed both houses this session, except for the “ban on assault weapons.” Bills include: Background Checks; One-Handgun-A-Month Purchases; Red Flag (allows law enforcement to temporarily prohibit someone at risk to themselves or others from purchasing or possessing firearms); Extension of Firearms Prohibitions for Those under Protective Orders; Lost or Stolen Guns Reporting within 48 Hours; More Authority for Local Governments to Enact Gun Laws; and More Protections to Keep Unsecured Weapons out of the Hands of Children and Teens. All of these actions resulted from the recent VA state elections and the “new” Democratic leaders with Governor Northam. WNDC Virginia members, email or call your state legislators, congratulate them, and thank them for a job well done!
Maryland’s General Assembly is also working long and hard on closing the “loopholes” in existing gun legislation and getting important gun safety bills completed before the end of this legislative cycle in early April. Further, they are dealing with the limitations of the COVID-19 situation in wrapping up committee priorities and getting them through conferencing, to the floor for a vote, and then to Governor Hogan. By the time you receive this newsletter, the Background Checks bill (HB 4 and SB 208), impacting the transfer of shotguns and rifles, as well as the purchase of them online, should be written and signed into law.
The WNDC Task Force on Gun Violence Prevention sent out alerts to MD members to push these actions through the State House and Senate. We also tweeted messages, urging passage of these bills in both chambers. (Please let us know if you received feedback from your state legislators after responding to our Alerts via email or tweet. Email: Ellen McGovern, WNDC TF GVP, Chair, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
No action, unfortunately, as expected. Majority Leader McConnell and his Republican colleagues have set the lowest bar, not only for gun safety bills but all bills for all Americans. H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks bill, still awaits action in the Senate, more than 365 days to date!
The Task Force to Prevent Gun Violence is working with WNDC’s GOTV Task Force and Winning Wednesdays, which went “virtual or social distancing,” March 25, given the COVID-19 situation. Check the WNDC website for updates.
GVP TASK FORCE PARTNERING
WNDC’s GVP Task Force signed the following:
- Pledge (with more than 20 organizations—and growing) to reduce gun deaths by 50% within 10 years.
- Letter to strongly oppose the Administration’s new rule, published January 23, 2020, which significantly weakens regulation and oversight of firearms exports; to oppose the transfer of the oversight function from State to Commerce Department; and to oppose the transfer of technical information and blueprints for potentially undetectable 3-D-printed guns (more than 100 groups).
— Ellen McGovern, Chair, Task Force on Gun Violence Prevention