County Board Condemns Gun Violence - Calls for Action

Published on May 26, 2022

The Arlington County Board expresses our grief, dismay, and anger at the recent murders of Americans in Buffalo, NY and Uvalde, TX. For us, as for so many other Arlington parents, grandparents and neighbors, the massacre of 19 elementary schoolers and two of their teachers is unconscionable. As is the act of hate-driven domestic terrorism that took the lives of ten Americans, the week before. These are two of the more than two hundred mass shootings in the United States so far this year. The massacre at Robb Elementary School is the 27th to occur at a K-12 school. Our hearts are heavy for the families who are suffering from the most profound loss imaginable.

This is not a time to stop at expressing our outrage and condolences.

We renew our commitment to act to the fullest extent of our local authority and call for additional action so that we can further protect our community from gun violence.

In partnership with our General Assembly delegation, the Arlington County Board has sought – and rapidly enacted when granted – local authority for gun violence prevention policies and ordinances. These actions include the 2020 establishment of gun-free zones in public facilities in Arlington and interagency collaboration to locally implement a 2016 law removing guns from family abuse offenders.

There is a great deal more to be done to address gun violence, and we call on the Virginia General Assembly and the Governor to make protecting all Virginians a priority and to remove the restrictions that bar the Commonwealth’s localities from implementing the gun safety actions that make sense for our communities.

There are too many loopholes and exceptions that allow those with ill intent to obtain a firearm. We call for action to, among other measures:

  • Close the gift exemption to background checks
  • Allow local licensing and registration requirements for buying and selling guns and/or establish a state permit and licensing requirement for open carry
  • Require the safe storage of firearms in the presence of minors
  • Expand the eligible categories for extreme risk protection orders
  • Establish a firearm intervention and prevention fund

Above all, we call for expansions of the exemptions from the state’s preemption laws that constrain localities from our own community action.

Preventable gun violence claims the lives of too many Americans, especially American children. We all are entitled to a life free of violence, in our homes and when we gather in public to learn, to shop, to recreate, and to pray.

If you have information regarding illegal firearms or threats to our community, contact the Arlington County Police Department at 703.558.2222 or Crime Solvers at 866.411.8477.

For community members in need of mental health services, please contact the 24/7 CrisisLink hotline, 703.527.4077 or 1.800.273.TALK (8255) or textline: Text CONNECT to 85511.

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