FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 18, 2021
Alyson Malinger, West End Strategy Team
Virginia is One Step Closer to Ensuring Prohibition of Guns at the Polls, Protection of Domestic Violence Survivors
Coalition to Stop Gun Violence applauds the advancement of legislation to prevent armed intimidation of voters, prohibit gun purchases by domestic violence perpetrators
RICHMOND — Today, Virginia House Bills 2081 and 1992, which would, respectively, ban firearms at polling places and prohibit firearm possession by persons convicted of certain domestic violence misdemeanors, passed the Virginia State Senate. The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence has been a longtime advocate for protecting the democratic process and disarming domestic violence.
In response to the advancement of the landmark Virginia legislation, Coalition to Stop Gun Violence Virginia State Director Lori Haas issued the following statement:
“These bills bring us one step closer in ensuring Virginians’ freedom from gun violence. HB 2081 would prohibit any person possessing a firearm within 40 feet of a polling place or an election board while the results of an election are being ascertained or recounted. If passed into law, this measure would protect an essential function of our democracy.
“The passage of HB 1992 would prohibit a person convicted of certain DV misdemeanors from purchasing, possessing, or transporting a firearm. A woman is five times more likely to be murdered when her abuser has access to a gun. We are pleased that the Senate of Virginia finally stepped up to pass this life saving legislation.
“CSGV applauds Delegate Mark Levine and Attorney General Mark Herring for their leadership in ensuring the safety of our fundamental right to vote free from firearms. We thank Delegate Kathleen Murphy for her tireless efforts to keep domestic violence victims and survivors safe from armed abusers.
Protecting the U.S. democratic process by banning firearms at the polls is a major legislative priority for CSGV. A fall 2020 report released by CSGV and Guns Down America – Guns Down At The Polls: How States Can and Should Limit Firearms at Polling Places – explores numerous examples of gun-based intimidation occurring at polling places in swing states in 2016 and 2018, highlighting the need for stronger laws to protect and keep voters safe at the voting booth. The report identifies states where prohibitions on guns at the polls tools available to help state and local officials, particularly in Virginia, keep voters safe and prevent armed intimidation at the polls, even in states without laws explicitly banning firearms at polling places. Virginia presently has no state laws on the books banning guns specifically at polling locations.
More information about the intersection of domestic violence and gun violence, particularly showing the disproportionate effects on Black women, is available from CSGV’s affiliate organization, the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence.
About the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence
Founded in 1974, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence is the nation’s oldest gun violence prevention organization. We believe gun violence should be rare and abnormal. CSGV develops and advocates for evidence-based solutions to reduce gun injury and death in all its forms.
View Coalition to Stop Gun Violence’s 2021 Virginia Bill tracker to view updates on all bills the organization is monitoring during the January legislative session.