RICHMOND — The Virginia State Crime Commission began a two-day meeting Monday as part of the ongoing General Assembly session on public safety that began on July 9, 2019 and will reconvene on November 18. Monday’s meeting included seven hours of expert testimony and presentations on firearms, mental health, and criminal justice.
“These two days of meetings are the start of the systematic review the Crime Commission was asked to undertake as part of the legislature’s ongoing work during the Special Session convened earlier this year,” said Crime Commission Vice Chairman Rob Bell. “The Crime Commission is a deliberative, bi-partisan body that will present evidence-based suggestions on what legislation should be considered when the General Assembly reconvenes in November.”
“As we learned from experts, there are a wide-variety of causes and circumstances that lead to gun violence,” said House Majority Leader Todd Gilbert, a member of the Commission. “The academic and expert research in this area is ongoing and evolving, and we are learning more about the root causes of these terrible tragedies. What we’ve heard from our experts so far confirms that this issue requires a detailed, thorough examination, and not political soundbites. I look forward to working with my fellow Commission members to make recommendations to the General Assembly that will save lives.”
“The expert presentations demonstrate that there are varied and multiple causes that contribute to the loss of life to violence in Virginia,” said Del. Les Adams, R-Chatham. “The factors that may be most influential in southside and Southwest Virginia are often different from those in Richmond or Hampton Roads. Finding improved solutions will not be easy, but I believe the Crime Commission is up to the task.”
The first day of the Crime Commission meeting featured speakers from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Virginia State Police, The Virginia Department of Health, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, U.S. Secret Service, National Center for Health Research, and a presentation by David Kennedy, the Director of the National Network of Safe Communities, on programs proven to specifically reduce gun violence.