FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 8, 2017
In Their Home State, NRA Is Now Officially Toxic
National Rifle Association policies are unpopular and politically damaging; guns play huge role in Democratic rout.
Washington, DC (November 8, 2017) — The National Rifle Association (NRA) lost on Tuesday. There is no other way to cut it. The NRA and their allies — Ed Gillespie, Jill Vogel, and John Adams– and their Trumpian politics were rejected forcefully by the voters of the Commonwealth of Virginia.
The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence was the first gun violence prevention organization to endorse Ralph Northam in this election, even before he was the nominee. For many years, we have worked closely with both Northam and Attorney General Mark Herring on policies that keep Virginians safe. Our Virginia State Director, Lori Haas, was a co-chair of the Northam campaign and advised the Democratic ticket and multiple House of Delegate candidates. The hard work that Lori and CSGV have poured into Virginia over the past ten years culminated in last night’s sea change election.
Last month, the Virginia Democratic ticket — Ralph Northam, Justin Fairfax, and Mark Herring — stood in front of the NRA headquarters with hundreds of activists. Their message was simple – “we are not afraid of you!” It was a seminal moment in the political dynamics of gun violence prevention and one that paid off. Exit polling showed guns were the second most important issue to Virginia voters in this election. This is not the first time Northam, Fairfax, and Herring have stood up for gun violence prevention:
- Ralph Northam has been a strong supporter of gun violence prevention since the tragedy at Virginia Tech, showing conviction and courage over and over again by standing up to the NRA…and winning.
- Justin Fairfax has spoken forcefully against the dangerous agenda of the NRA.
- Mark Herring has stood up to the NRA and their “guns everywhere” policies while a senator and as Attorney General these last four years. He will continue to be a thorn in the gun lobby’s side for the next four years.
The NRA spent millions of dollars attempting to defeat these candidates tonight. They didn’t just come up a little short, they were flat out embarrassed. They have come up on the losing end of the last ten Virginia statewide elections; their clout over the state has eroded and their base is now up against a more passionate, more organized gun violence prevention coalition in the commonwealth. The NRA and their number one ally – Donald Trump – are toxic.
In the down ballot races, the results were even more devastating for Wayne LaPierre. Their seemingly impenetrable wall in the Virginia House of Delegates is very close to being broken. Two races in particular provide evidence that gun violence prevention resonates at the local level.
- VA-12: Chris Hurst, the fiance of slain television reporter Alison Parker, beat NRA supported incumbent Delegate Joseph Yost.
- VA-31: Elizabeth Guzman defeated Scott Lingamfelter, chairman of the House Militia, Police, and Public Safety committee – historically known as a place where gun safety bills go to die. Last night Virginia voters showed they want that to change.
The lessons of last night’s election should not be forgotten. In a world where gun violence is seemingly inescapable, the American people are looking for leaders who will reject the NRA’s dangerous agenda. Last night, Virginia provided that blueprint.