On June 2 we wore orange for National Gun Violence Awareness Day and in memory of a Chicago teen who was shot and killed in 2012. As a McLean mom of a teenager, I can just look at the daily headlines to know gun violence can strike anyone and anywhere and this is a scary reality.
Federal data published in late 2015 showed in Virginia, along with 20 other states and the District of Columbia, deaths by guns outnumbered deaths by auto accidents. Here in McLean the NOVA Firearms shop stands less than 100 feet from Franklin Sherman Elementary School which is a location which defies logic. Legislators, for the most part, have failed to take a more common sense approach to gun ownership.
There has been one bright spot with Virginia Delegate Kathleen Murphy’s tireless work on legislation to prevent gun violence. In 2016, her bill HB1391 was signed into law which prohibited people under a permanent protective order for family abuse from possessing a firearm.
I am saddened that Murphy’s further efforts have been blocked with HB2044, which expands on HB1391, languishing in committee in the Virginia General Assembly. This bill would close the gap to bar people under other protective orders from accessing a gun. It should be noted that Murphy’s bill HB422 to keep gun shops out of school zones is stuck in committee too. I implore policymakers to co-sponsor Delegate Murphy’s bills.
We should realize that wearing orange won’t stop gun violence. While we should never forget those killed and touched by gun violence, real action and policies are necessary now; not later, to protect the public’s safety.