Gun control advocates ask Republican candidates for stance, candidates respond

Updated: Aug. 10, 2017 at 9:42 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The Democratic Party of Virginia and gun control advocates pressed the republican candidates for governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general today for their stance on gun issues.  This comes after the National Rifle Association endorsed Republican candidates Ed Gillespie, Jill Vogel, and John Adams last week.

Delegate Delores McQuinn, Coalition to Stop Gun Violence Virginia State Director Lori Haas, former U.S. Attorney Timothy J. Heaphy, and Richmond School Board Member Scott Barlow attended the press conference outside the Capitol today.  They stated that the NRA asks candidates to fill out a questionnaire before they're endorsed.  They called on the Republican candidates to reveal their responses to the questionnaire, particularly on whether they'd allow the concealed carry of guns at schools.

"We have recently seen endorsements of the NRA of Ed Gillespie, Jill Vogel and John Adams.  This endorsement is based on a survey the NRA puts out to all the candidates and we understand from that survey how extreme this ticket is and how those policies in Virginia will make our schools less safe," said Lori Haas with the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence.

They touted Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Ralph Northam's position on gun control, and they argued that background checks should be required at gun shows to keep guns out of the wrong hands.

"Every year, over 30,000 Americans are killed by guns and in Virginia, one Virginian is killed by a gun every ten hours," said Tim Heaphy, former U.S. Attorney and a member of the Virginia Coalition for Common Sense.

We asked the Republican candidates for their response.

A spokesman for Republican candidate Governor Ed Gillespie sent us a statement reading:

Ed has released detailed policies to combat gang violence, reinstate Project Exile, and protect victims, while Ralph Northam wants to limit law-abiding citizens' rights. Ed will be a strong defender of our Second Amendment.

Republican candidate for Lt. Governor Jill Vogel's team sent the following statement:

 In the Senate, I have worked hard to defend the Second Amendment and was proud to introduce legislation restoring our lost concealed carry reciprocity.  Public safety has always been a top priority and that is why I submitted a bill extending emergency concealed carry rights to law-abiding victims of domestic violence. Just yesterday, my opponent said he would consider a burdensome new mandate requiring all Virginia gun owners to purchase gun insurance, even if they do not want it. The choice in this race could not be more clear.

And the campaign manager for John Adams, Republican candidate for Attorney General, wrote:

As a former federal prosecutor, John has put violent criminals behind bars and knows we must keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill. But unlike Mark Herring, who severely limited law abiding citizens' ability to carry firearms - a move so extreme he was reversed by Governor McAuliffe - John will defend Virginian's Second Amendment Rights." 

We reached out to the NRA as well.  We have not yet heard back.

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