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Sen. Warner and Kaine introduce legislation to protect communities from gun violence

U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine have introduced the “Virginia Plan to Reduce Gun Violence Act” to enact a series of gun violence prevention measures federally. The bill includes a provision to mandate reporting of lost and stolen guns, prevent children from accessing guns, and implement a one-handgun-a-month policy

Warner and Kaine introduced this effort on April 16. This day marks 17 years since a gunman opened fire at two locations at Virginia Tech killing 32 people and leaving 17 others injured.

The incident is the deadliest mass shooting in Virginia history and is also one of the deadliest school shootings in the United States.

“17 years ago, 32 people tragically lost their lives at Virginia Tech. I was Virginia’s governor at the time, and I remember that day like it was yesterday—grieving with families, friends, and the Hokie community. Sadly, far too many communities throughout the United States know the pain of horrific gun violence,” said Kaine. “I’m proud of the steps the Commonwealth has taken in recent years to help keep Virginians safe, which is why I’m introducing this bill to build on our progress by implementing those commonsense measures on the national level. We must do more to ensure everyone can go to school, work, their place of worship, a grocery store, or a concert without the terror of gun violence.”

This is not Sen. Warner and Kaine’s first effort to reduce gun violence across the Commonwealth.

In 2020, they helped pass the “Bipartisan Safer Communities Act,” which included improving background checks, strengthening safeguards for victims of domestic violence, and incentivizing states to implement their own “Extreme Rish Protection Orders.”

The “Virginia Plan to Reduce Gun Violence Act of 2024” would continue to build on the Commonwealth’s framework to reduce gun violence from 2020 and Lucia’s Law, which takes effect on July 1, 2024.

Sen. Warner and Kaine say the bill would follow the following provisions:

  • One-Handgun-a-Month: Limits purchases of handguns to one per month to curtail the stockpiling and trafficking of firearms, promoting domestic and international security.
  • Reporting of Lost or Stolen Firearms: Requires gun owners to report lost or stolen firearms to the appropriate state or local law enforcement agency within 48 hours. State and local law enforcement agencies would be directed to report data collected to the FBI’s National Crime Information Center.
  • Firearm Access to Minors: Promotes responsible gun ownership and safe storage practices by holding individuals liable for leaving a loaded, unsecured gun in the presence of a minor. This will prevent the most common cause of accidental shooting deaths among children.
  • Protection Order Prohibitions: Strengthens safeguards for victims of domestic violence by closing the “boyfriend loophole,” which currently allows abusive non-spousal partners to possess firearms, and expands firearm laws to prohibit persons convicted of stalking or subject to a domestic violence restraining order from possessing firearms.
  • Extreme Risk Protection Orders: Establishes a federal extreme risk protection order process to temporarily remove firearms from individuals who pose a high risk of harming themselves or others and incentivizes states to implement their own extreme risk protection laws and court protocols.
  • Lucia’s Law: Establishes criminal liability for a caregiver who gives a child in their care access to a firearm when they are aware that the child poses a risk of violence to themselves or others.