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ARLINGTON, VA – As hundreds of thousands of Americans prepare to march in support of children’s right to attend school without fear of gun violence, Matt de Ferranti, Democratic candidate for Arlington County Board, called for additional steps to ensure that Arlington remains a safe, welcoming community:
“We simply cannot ignore our young people’s call to action. We must actively seek an antidote to the repeated incidents of gun violence in schools and communities across the country, including Parkland, Florida and St. Mary’s County, Maryland. I will join thousands of Arlingtonians this weekend in the March for Our Lives. I hope Arlingtonians from across the County will join this important effort in support of action on this critical issue.
Further, I call on the Arlington County Board to take two key actions in the coming weeks:
- Support safe gun storage and common sense gun safety by speaking out individually and by supporting legislative action in Richmond as part of Arlington’s legislative priorities; and
- Join the School Board in support of common sense gun safety measures, by issuing a statement similar to the one the School Board’s issued on March 8th.
Safe gun storage is akin to responsible liquor storage in our homes – both simply make homes and families safer without contravening anyone’s rights. The risks we have seen from Parkland and so many other incidents across the Country should lead Arlington County to support legislation and action to reemphasize to all Arlington residents the importance of making sure guns are kept out of the hands of children when unsupervised and those who should not legally have access to a gun.
I also strongly support other common sense actions that Federal and state government could and should take – universal background checks, measures to make sure those with restraining orders or mental health issues do not have access to guns, closing the gun show loophole – to keep our children and neighbors safe. And I believe strongly that we should change Virginia law to allow Arlington to take action to keep our families, friends, and neighbors safe.
Currently, Virginia’s Dillon Rule and Virginia law specifically precludes Arlington County from enacting or implementing any common sense gun safety measures, despite the fact that the vast majority of Arlingtonians support them. Nonetheless, the County Board can and should follow the School Board’s lead in issuing a statement on issues that we simply cannot ignore. The Board should also come together to support gun safety legislation in the 2019 Legislative Session.
While we can be grateful that Arlington is as safe as any community in the Country can be without the action we so desperately need, we cannot be complacent, because complacency is now complicity on this issue. We must acknowledge that Arlington Public School and County leaders, along with our excellent law enforcement officers, work hard to keep our children safe, as adults, but we also must listen to and act in support of the inspiring voices of Arlington students. Our children want us to do more to keep them and our entire community safe. More than ever, they are calling on us to lead.”
Over 1,300 children die from gun violence each year in the United States. In Virginia, more than 880 people die from gun violence each year. As a whole, Americans are 25 times more likely to die of gun violence than citizens in other developed countries. To Matt and so many Arlingtonians, including all of the Members of Arlington’s Delegation to the Virginia General Assembly, the facts and implications are clear. If you share Matt’s views, please join our campaign by going to www.mattforarlington.com.
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To learn more about Matt’s campaign, please visit www.mattforarlington.com
For more information please contact Nathan Saxman at firstname.lastname@example.org or (804) 615-4170.
 Fowler, Katherine A., Linda L. Dahlberg, Tadesse Haileyesus, Carmen Gutierrez, Sarah Bacon “Childhood Firearm Injuries in the United States” Pediatrics Jun 2017
 Everytown for Gun Safety, verified by https://everytownresearch.org/gun-violence-by-the-numbers/