Local folks are heading by bus to Richmond on Tuesday to lobby state lawmakers on the first day of a special session on gun violence.
The Charlottesville Coalition for Gun Violence Prevention is organizing the bus trip, along with other local organizations, to demand that legislators “enact sensible gun laws.”
Gay Epstein, a local pastor and activist, said such laws include creating an extreme risk protective order, which allows law enforcement and the courts to take a person’s firearms if that person exhibits dangerous behavior that presents an immediate threat to self or others.
Epstein said the Charlottesville coalition has made annual trips to the General Assembly since it was founded after the Sandy Hook shooting in December 2012.
Gov. Ralph Northam called lawmakers back to Richmond to take up bills focused on gun control following the May 31 killing of 12 people at the Virginia Beach Municipal Center.
Northam has proposed eight bills that his office said will save lives and improve public safety. Measures include requiring background checks, allowing only one handgun purchase within a 30-day period and enabling localities to enact firearms ordinances that are stricter than state law.
Epstein said she wants to see floor votes on the proposed legislation.
“We don’t want bills to die in committee,” she said. “We want to actually see how representatives in the legislature are voting.”
The bus can take 55 people, Epstein said. It will leave at 8:30 a.m. from the parking lot at Meadows Presbyterian Church, 2200 Angus Road. It will return by 1:30 p.m. For more information, email email@example.com.
Epstein said she thinks the special session could go either way.
“We’re building momentum,” she said. “I don’t think we’ve ever gotten closer.”
The League of Women Voters of the Charlottesville Area, the Charlottesville Center for Peace and Justice, Westminster Presbyterian Church, Sojourners UCC and the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence are also sponsoring the bus trip, according to a media advisory.