RICHMOND, Va. – There are more conversations in the commonwealth this week about gun violence and school safety in the wake of the Parkland, Florida, school shooting.
Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine met Monday with members of the Richmond chapter of Moms Demand Action, which pushes for gun control legislation.
In a discussion near the Capitol Building, they urged him to do everything he can to get what they call “sensible gun laws” passed.
Kaine said he and other lawmakers are working to find solutions after the mass shooting. He said laws tightening background checks might have the highest likelihood of getting through this session in Washington because many Republicans have voiced support for some of them.
"I’ve seen these tragedies occur and Congress sits on the sidelines. I hope there may be a discussion led by our young people that may change the dynamic,” he said.
The group’s members said they’re trying to optimistic that they’ll see change.
“I think this last mass shooting that we had in Florida, I think we’re at a tipping point right now. I think we’re going to get more gun legislation passed,” said Sarah Dunbar Harper, the Richmond leader of Moms Demand Action.
Kaine and the group’s members agreed with a recent President Trump proposal to raise the age to buy rifles to 21 but disagreed with his idea to arm teachers in schools.
“I just think it’s a spectacularly bad idea. More weapons does not create a safer environment,” said Kristin Dumount, a former school teacher.
Both Kaine and those in attendance also agreed that they’re in support of any measures that would add school resource officers.
“This isn’t something we need to feel hopeless about. There are steps that can be taken to make us safer. The data show it,” Kaine said.
Kaine said he still thinks back to the 2007 tragedy in Blacksburg and thinks the U.S. should know that “in the aftermath of the Virginia Tech shooting, you can take an action that can make your community safer.”
10 News reached out to Republican lawmakers in Richmond and none of them said they had the time to speak on the issue Monday. All gun control legislation has failed to advance this session in the Virginia General Assembly.