This piece is RPEC Director Adria Scharf’s “Reflection” from this month’s newsletter. The entire newsletter can be found here.
On Martin Luther King Day, I went to the gun violence lobby day organized by a coalition of organizations working for common-sense gun control in Virginia. Many hundreds of people from across the state stood together at the Bell Tower near the General Assembly. We held a string of more than 800 large red paper hearts, each representing a Virginian killed by gun violence in the past year.
Speaker Andrew Goddard, whose son Colin was injured in the Virginia Tech tragedy, asked us to imagine that each of those individuals were there with us. He asked us to imagine what they might say to us and how they would urge us to act. Then many of us went inside the General Assembly building to speak with elected leaders.
Since 1968, more Americans nationwide have been killed by gun violence (including homicide, suicide, and accidents) than have died in all wars throughout our country’s entire history. (There have been about 1.4 million firearm deaths since 1968, compared to 1.2 million war-related deaths since the Revolutionary War.)
In parts of our own city, the sound of gunfire is almost routine. American gun use is out of control, and Virginia has one of the most permissive regulatory frameworks in the coun-try.
This legislative session is an important one. Groups that are working actively on this issue and which deserve our support, include the Virginia Center for Public Safety, Million Mom March, and Moms Demand Action.
Let’s all make our voices heard.