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Two Virginia Democrats support new legislation addressing gun violence

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Two Virginia Democrats, U.S. Sen. Mark Warner and State Sen. Donald McEachin, said today that legislation addressing gun violence needs to be introduced at the state and national levels in reaction to Friday’s massacre at a Connecticut elementary school.

Twenty children and six adults were shot to death at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.  Police say the shooter, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, also killed his mother at their home and then took his own life as law enforcement officials surrounded the school.

Warner told television station CBS 6 in Richmond that the time has come for new gun-control measures. “I’ve been a longtime supporter of Second Amendment rights,” he said. “I believe every American has Second Amendment rights….I’ve had an NRA rating of an A, but enough is enough.

“I, like most of us, realize that there are ways to get to rational gun control, there are ways to grapple with the obvious challenges of mental illness,” he said.

Warner did not go into specifics of any measures he would support.

McEachin, chair of the Senate Democratic Caucus,  issued a statement saying, that, in reaction to the Newtown shooting, “I feel morally compelled to introduce concrete legislation in the General Assembly session in January. Over the coming weeks, I will consult with my fellow legislators and announce specific plans that will help stem this horrific tide of gun violence.”

McEachin did not reveal what type of legislation he is considering, but in his statement decried an “unlimited supply of ever-more dangerous guns.”

“We can no longer pretend that the wide availability of dangerous weapons has had no impact on the brutal killings committed over the past year,” he said. “In Newtown, not one child survived the hail of bullets from a semiautomatic assault weapon. I call on our national leaders to finally have a serious conversation about how to stop criminals and the mentally ill from accessing dangerous weapons.”

McEachin said the shooting be an impetus “for us to reassess our laws and find ways, while respecting the millions of law-abiding gun owners in America, to keep these fatal weapons from those who seek to do our families harm.”

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