Virginia Update

February 8, 2021

Tom Fazzini, West End Strategy Team, 202-505-1210

Coalition to Stop Gun Violence Condemns Failure of VA Senate to Pass Bill to Protect Domestic Violence Victims from Armed Abusers

SB1382 failed in the Senate, but House version of the bill gives Senators a second chance to protect their constituents

RICHMOND — On Friday, the Virginia State Senate failed to advance SB1382, a bill that would prohibit firearm possession by persons convicted of domestic violence misdemeanors, which mirrors the federal prohibition that currently exists and similar laws in 32 other states and the District of Columbia. The bill failed by a bipartisan vote of 16-22. The House version of the same bill, HB1992, is expected to come before the Senate in the coming days, giving Senators a chance to reexamine the facts and reevaluate their votes.

Coalition to Stop Gun Violence Senior Director of Advocacy Lori Haas issued the following statement:

“A history of violence is the single biggest predictor of future violence – it’s no surprise that studies show a woman is five times more likely to be murdered when her abuser has access to a gun. This bill would save lives by prohibiting violent abusers from possessing guns.

“The Senate debate on this bill was deeply flawed, relying on gun industry talking points and outdated stereotypes instead of facts about how guns in the hands of domestic abusers dramatically increase the likelihood that abuse will be deadly.

“While the entire Republican caucus predictably voted no to protect victims of domestic violence, we are especially disappointed by Senators Mason, Spruill, Morrissey and Lewis who typically support life-saving and evidence-based gun violence prevention policy. Virginians support laws that will end the deadly epidemic of gun violence facing Virginia and these legislators came up short. Luckily, they have another chance to hear from their constituents, look at the facts, and vote to protect their constituents by supporting HB1992.”

Coalition to Stop Gun Violence Senior Director of Law & Policy Kelly E. W. Roskam said:

“Over half of all family and intimate partner homicides in Virginia are committed with guns. To reduce the number of domestic violence murders, we must ensure that people who abuse their partners or family do not have access to guns. Bills like HB1992 work. Research shows that policies that prevent domestic abusers from accessing guns lead to lower intimate partner murder rates. This bill will save the lives of Virginians. I urge Virginia to join the 32 other states and the District of Columbia that prohibit persons convicted of misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence from purchasing or possessing firearms.”

Intimate partner homicide disproportionately affects Black women. The CDC analyzed 4,442 intimate partner violence-related femicides from 2003 to 2014. Of the intimate partner femicides in the study, 30.6% of the victims were Black, despite Black women making up only 12.7% of the female population. More information about the intersection of domestic violence and gun violence is available from the CSGV’s sister 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.

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