Gun control advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety announced on Thursday that it would be spending $1.8 million in the 2021 Virginia elections to back the Democratic candidates for governor, Terry McAuliffe; lieutenant governor, Hala Ayala; and attorney general, Mark Herring.
“Virginian voters gave lawmakers a mandate to take bold action on gun safety, and now Glenn Youngkin and the Republicans want to roll it all back — which is why we're going all out to elect gun sense lawmakers in November," Everytown President John Feinblatt said. "As Virginia votes, the nation often follows, so our investments in the Commonwealth will set the stage for electing gun sense champions across the country in the 2022 midterms.”
When he previously served as Virginia governor, McAuliffe adopted and supported several gun control measures, including banning guns from being inside most state buildings.
One of McAuliffe's 2021 campaign promises includes banning the sale of assault weapons and closing loopholes that allow "dangerous individuals" to purchase firearms. His campaign noted that he was the first Southern governor to be elected to office while having an "F" rating from the National Rifle Association.
This weekend Shannon Watts, founder of the Everytown subsidiary Moms Demand Action, will campaign with Democratic candidates at events around Virginia Beach, Richmond and Northern Virginia.
McAuliffe has proposed creating an "Office of Gun Violence Prevention."
McAuliffe's campaign has previously criticized Republican gubernatorial nominee Glenn Youngkin's opposition to gun safety measures.
"Glenn Youngkin's right-wing agenda would only make Virginia less safe — he's bragged about opposing any common-sense gun safety measures, and the Washington Post says his Trumpian economic plan would defund the police," a spokesperson for McAuliffe's campaign said last month in response to campaign ads released by Youngkin.