Va. congressman calls for ‘sensible gun control’ during Gun Violence National Awareness Month

Faith leaders, activists and elected officials in Fairfax County, Virginia, took part in a community conversation Friday about how to reduce gun violence.

The discussion was hosted by U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeffrey McKay, and state Sen. Jennifer Boysko.

According to Every Town For Gun Safety, nearly 1,000 people in Virginia and more than 42,000 people nationally die from gun violence during an average year.

Connolly said the “cycle of madness” needs to stop.

“We have to have sensible gun control, and I don’t shy away from that word,” Connolly said. “To make it easy for people — ABC — three things: an assault weapons ban, a background check that’s universal, and closing loopholes that make it easy to sell guns, bypassing the system. Those three things would be a profound start in America.”

Connolly also said the last Congress passed gun safety measures for the first time in 30 years, but called them moderate and mild. McKay also praised legislation, such as Red Flag laws, being passed, but pointed the finger at Republicans for blocking other attempts at gun control.

On Tuesday, the county passed legislation in honor of Gun Violence National Awareness Month. Soon after, a mass shooting in Richmond took the life of an 18-year-old student and his stepfather following his high school graduation.

“There had to be armed security and police officers surrounding the building, simply so that our FCPS students could feel confident that they could safely graduate from high school after what happened in Richmond, Virginia,” McKay said.

Also in attendance Friday were representatives from Moms Demand Action, Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence and Fairfax County’s NAACP.

“There is no good reason why one should spend more time getting a driver’s license renewed than they do to purchase a gun,” said Fairfax County NAACP President Michelle Leete. “There’s absolutely no reason why our most vulnerable spend their educational hours learning how to hide and shield themselves from a gunman than they do learning how to read. Our children should feel safe in their classroom.”

Leete said the average person does not need an assault weapon.

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Cheyenne Corin

Cheyenne Corin is a part-time reporter for WTOP News. She has worked in the Washington, D.C. area since 2020. Before joining WTOP, she worked as a WDVM/DC News Now Montgomery County Bureau Reporter, TheJasmineBrand Entertainment Correspondent and PHL 17 Reporter.

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