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Pressure mounts on Youngkin to reverse gun control stance following string of deadly shootings

Washington Examiner logo Washington Examiner 11/24/2022 Christian Datoc
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Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R-VA) is facing new pressure from activists to enact stricter gun control measures in the wake of two deadly shootings in Virginia in consecutive weeks.

On Tuesday, a manager at the Walmart in Chesapeake opened fire inside the store, killing six and injuring six others. That occurred just days after a former University of Virginia football player gunned down three former teammates.

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Youngkin has responded to both incidents with typical platitudes, ordering that flags be lowered to half-staff and vowing to address a national "mental health crisis" he says is responsible for the rash of deadly shootings across the country.

He additionally stated his desire to wait until the investigations into both the UVA and Walmart shootings conclude before deciding on pushing for any new legislation.

"I think today, the most important thing we need to do is come around families and support them," Youngkin told reporters. "It is unimaginable what they're dealing with today. When the facts come in at the end of all the investigations, then we'll have time to come together and talk about what actions we can take."

Still, gun violence activist group Brady noted that "only 3%-5% of violent acts can be linked to people living w/ a serious mental illness."

"Continuing this false rhetoric deters from the evidence-based solutions that will end America's gun violence epidemic," the group said in response to Youngkin. "Virginians, next Nov you can vote for real gun safety champions."

"Instead of tweeting your thoughts and prayers, take action to prevent other Virginians from being senselessly shot and killed," Brady President Kris Brown added in a statement.

"It happened under your leadership," Fred Guttenberg, a gun control activist and the father of one of the 2018 Parkland, Florida, high school victims, stated. "Instead of dishonesty, reach out and let's work together to solve this."

Youngkin has previously resisted any gun control measures, suggesting that he does not support any new limitations on gun purchases in Virginia.

"I will not sign a piece of legislation that has anything to do with imposing limitations on our Second Amendment," he said during a campaign event back in 2021.

"We have to actually stand up against all of the legislation that has been passed by the Democrats," the then-gubernatorial candidate added. "As your governor, we will not just stand up, but we will push back. We will push back."

President Joe Biden reacted to the shootings this week by reiterating his past calls for Congress to renew his 1994 assault weapons ban, despite lacking the requisite votes to pass such a measure.

Meanwhile, however, national support for an assault weapons ban has slipped since earlier this year.

According to Gallup, support for stricter national gun laws peaked at 66% in June following mass shootings at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, and a grocery store in Buffalo, New York, but that data point fell to 57% in November.

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"Although there have been other high-profile mass shootings since the June poll — including one at the Highland Park, Illinois, July 4 parade — demand for stricter gun laws has declined, much like it did after previous highly publicized mass shootings," Gallup noted. "However, the current instance may also reflect public recognition of the federal gun law that was passed in June with bipartisan support in direct response to the Uvalde shooting."

 

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Tags: Glenn Youngkin, Virginia, Gun Control, Gun Violence, Joe Biden

Original Author: Christian Datoc

Original Location: Pressure mounts on Youngkin to reverse gun control stance following string of deadly shootings

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