We Need Solutions to the Gun Violence Epidemic

Yesterday marked the one-month anniversary of the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Across our country, thousands of young people led us in raising-up our voices to call for solutions to our nation’s gun violence epidemic.

I am very inspired by the leadership of youth in the 42nd District. Youth, like Laura Kirk, Ella Wogaman, and Emily Norton, have quickly formed a Students Demand Action chapter. They are organizing in their high school, across schools in Fairfax County, and with other students in DC and Maryland. Not only have they organized demonstrations, but they are also planning voter registration drives to make sure their voices are heard in upcoming elections.

I talked to Laura recently about her activism and motivation. She told me that she is fighting for gun violence prevention because “adults are failing us.” Don’t let our youth’s age belie their moral clarity. Their energy, dedication, passionate and clear articulation of their values, and the courage of their convictions are undeniable.

I am proud to have marked the start of Women’s History Month by celebrating Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, Shannon Watts, the women in the 42nd District who are members of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, and young women like Laura, Ella, and Emily, who are representing a new generation of leaders in this fight.

I stand with them and others across the 42nd District and the Commonwealth who are demanding that we have commonsense solutions. This is one of the singular issues of our time, and I am committed to advancing legislation to prevent gun violence.

Unfortunately, while about 70 bills related to gun violence prevention were introduced in the Virginia General Assembly, they all died. Further, while the House Republicans formed a special select House Committee to review state and local policies on school security, we are missing an important opportunity because they explicitly did not include gun violence in schools as part of the Committee’s purview.

I joined a recently-formed bicameral Gun Violence Prevention Caucus in the Virginia General Assembly, and I will be working with these colleagues to make progress on this important issue during the 2019 legislative session. We cannot and must not fail our children.