RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Joined by the families of Virginia Tech victims, police and the parents of murdered WDBJ journalist Alison Parker, Governor Terry McAuliffe signed Executive Order 50 on Thursday in an effort to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people.
“Gun crimes are not acts of god, but for too long certain politicians and lobbyists have told us the gun violence in America is some sort of natural phenomena, something we cannot do anything about,” McAuliffe said.
The order bans guns from executive state office buildings. That does not include the Capitol or the General Assembly building. It creates a state task force to prosecute gun crimes, aimed at making sure only licensed dealers sell guns and people that shouldn’t have guns aren’t able to get them. It also creates a state tipline so people can report anyone that is breaking gun laws and collect a reward.
“Today we are gathered to recognize that we are not helpless to gun violence. That we can prevent it and we are willing to act here in the Commonwealth of Virginia,” said McAuliffe.
The governor says the order will allow more state resources to be used to prosecute gun crimes and better enforce existing laws. Meanwhile, Senator Tim Kaine says he will fight for tougher gun regulations at the federal level, while criticizing the NRA for not supporting background checks.
“What I’ve concluded is that the NRA no longer speaks for their members,” Kaine said. “They’re heavily funded, and they speak for gun manufacturers.”
He says they will never give up the fight.
“We’re going to win this fight,” Kaine added. “It’s going to take a while and it’s going to be hard but we’re gong to win because we are not a group of bystanders.”
The governor says he will continue to work with the Attorney General’s office to determine if there is anything else he can do on his own to tighten gun regulations.