League of Women Voters Calls for Tighter Gun Control

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Despite the General Assembly killing off a large portion of Governor Ralph Northam's gun violence prevention agenda, Charlottesville's League of Women Voters is calling for tighter gun control.

The group is also helping to educate its members on firearm laws. Members gathered at City Space on Sunday, January 21, to learn from firearm safety lobbyist Andrew Goddard about current gun control measures and how to help call on lawmakers to add more.

“It’s as if to say we have two choices: everybody in this room has to carry a gun at all times, or nobody can have a gun at all,” says Goddard. “And this is where the logic breaks down.”

Goddard, who’s the legislative director of the Virginia Center for Public Safety, says gun control is not about taking people's guns away.

“Gun ownership and gun violence prevention are not mutually exclusive,” says Goddard. “We pose no harm to a law-abiding gun owner as long as they’re using the gun responsibly and for a legitimate purpose.”

He's lobbied Virginia lawmakers for more firearm safety during the past 11 General Assembly sessions. On Sunday, he spoke to Charlottesville's League of Women Voters.

“One of the league’s main purposes is to educate citizens so they have factual information on which to make decisions and then to vote,” says Kerin Yates, the league’s president.

The National League of Women Voters takes a stance in favor of stricter gun control. Goddard's goal is to help these women make their voices heard.

“I hope to give them an idea of what they can do to intervene - how they can use their voices to help push the idea forward to our legislators,” says Goddard.

He's calling for stricter background checks on every gun sale. A bill proposing that died in the Senate Courts of Justice Committee just last week.

“We ask them to increase the background check system to expand it to cover commercial sales - that's gun shows, online sales, anytime an individual is selling to a stranger,” says Goddard.

Goddard is also pushing for more research into gun usage in America.

“We need to look at who is dying, why they’re dying, and what can we do to intervene,” says Goddard.

At the recent General Assembly session, Charlottesville Delegate David Toscano introduced a bill that would allow localities to ban firearms in public at permitted events.

Right now, that bill is in a House sub-committee.

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