Virginia House and Senate Democrats Respond to Buffalo, NY Mass Shooting

May 16, 2022

Today, Leadership in the Virginia House and Senate Democratic Caucuses released the following statements in the aftermath of the devastating, racially-motivated mass shooting in a Buffalo, New York grocery store over the weekend.

Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw said: “The top focus in the General Assembly is always to ensure the safety and well-being of every Virginian. Part of that goal is to equip community services with the tools they need to respond to emergencies quickly and appropriately. The Senate budget provides further funding for local law enforcement, including pay raises, as well as working to expand personnel to include mental health professionals and crisis intervention experts.

“No Virginian should live in fear while going about their daily business, and through stronger community relationships and reducing the opportunity for violent crime, Virginia Democrats have and will continue to make sure our neighborhoods are a safe place for all.”

Senate Democratic Caucus Chair Mamie Locke said: “The horrific stories coming out of New York in the past few days are just one more reason Virginia Democrats have been steadfastly promoting firearm safety and ending gun violence. The Commonwealth has been a leader in the South by passing common-sense reform in 2020 and 2021, such as universal background checks.

“Now, the Senate budget would invest millions of dollars in promoting gun violence prevention, looking to establish the Virginia Center for Firearm Violence Intervention and Prevention and other initiatives to help make our communities safer.”

House Democratic Caucus Chair Charniele Herring said: “Addressing the rise of white supremacism and racially-motivated crime in the United States and in the Commonwealth requires a look inward on how we are teaching the next generation to manage our checkered history and to learn empathy and understanding for one another.

“That’s why House and Senate Democrats established the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and why we instituted social and emotional learning in public school curriculums. In order to begin healing the racial divides that have been long-ingrained in American society, we must address the problem head-on–instead of denying its existence, like many Virginia Republicans have done.”