ROANOKE, Va. – Gun control remains a top priority for lawmakers this year as at least 39 mass shootings have happened already in 2023.
Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine introduced legislation Tuesday that they say will protect the community from assault weapons.
“I for one am tired of elected officials who simply want to send thoughts and prayers,” Warner said.
The ban includes the sale, transfer, manufacture, and import of military-style assault weapons, like the gun used in the Monterey shooting last week.
“I own firearms but the idea that there is not a place to put reasonable restrictions in place — I just wish we would have from all members of the general assembly and leadership in Virginia a willingness to acknowledge yes, mental health but also reasonable restrictions on some of these frankly again, tools of war,” Senator Warner said.
David Adams is the president of the Virginia Shooting Sports Association, the official state association of the NRA.
Adams says this ban does not fix the greater issue of gun violence.
“The vast majority of crime happens with handguns,” Adams said.
Adams wants a larger focus on mental health, as opposed to the weapons being used.
“Focusing on firearms as the reason we have violence is like focusing on money as the reason we have embezzlement,” Adams said.
Rita Joyce is the founder of FEDUP, a gun violence prevention group in Roanoke.
While she says she’s grateful for the ban, she says it excludes communities like Roanoke asking for other types of gun control.
“Where’s that kind of gun control?” Joyce said. “I’m glad for what they’re doing, don’t get me wrong.”
Warner says he understands this is not a ‘fix all’ solution for all gun violence but hopes it will prevent at least one mass shooting.
“It would not prevent any one of these tragedies, but as we can see in at least one I believe of the two California shootings it was a rapid-fire type assault weapon,” Warner said.