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Gun Safety Advocates Hope to Make Early Impact on Statewide Elections

Michael Pope

Guns are expected to play a central campaign theme for the upcoming statewide election in Virginia, and advocates for gun safety are making an early move to make their case. 

Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action are endorsing all three Democrats on the statewide ballot, a ticket led by Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam.

“We want to emphasize that we support the second amendment. We’re not here to take people’s guns away from them. We’re just here to talk about responsible gun ownership. And that’s what we’ll do in 2017.”

Gun safety advocates say they want to close the gun show loophole and restore the one-gun-a-month restriction that was overturned several years ago. And it’s not just statewide candidates they are backing. They’re also endorsing former WDBJ anchor Chris Hurst, who is running against incumbent Republican Delegate Joseph Yost. Hurst’s girlfriend and coworker were killed in an act of gun violence on live TV. Hurst says these groups helped him find a sense of community during a dark chapter of his life.

“That identification and that commiseration to some extent really helped me to be able to get back up off my feet and start walking.”

Back in 2015, Everytown pumped more than two million dollars into a handful of close state Senate races. They failed to take the majority. But they also didn’t lose any seats. Now a spokeswoman for the group declined to say how much money they would pump into television advertising this fall.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association

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