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Virginia politicians respond to mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton

RICHMOND, Va. -- Politicians across the nation and in the Commonwealth are reacting to the weekend tragedies in El Paso and Dayton that left at least 29 people dead and scores injured.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, D,  noted Sunday morning that it had been two months since the deadly Virginia Beach municipal center shooting.

"It's been 2 months since 12 people were killed in Virginia Beach. I called a special session because we have a gun violence emergency––no action.

Mass shootings in Gilroy, El Paso, and Dayton killed 32 this week. When I say we have a gun violence emergency, this is what I mean."

Following President Trump’s order to fly American flags at half-staff as "a mark of solemn respect," Northam ordered all Virginia flags be lowered through Aug. 8 to honor the El Paso and Dayton victims.

Speaker of the House Kirk Cox, R-Colonial Heights, released a statement Sunday afternoon condemning white supremacy.

“This weekend a pair of evil men committed evil acts of violence against innocent people living innocent lives. I strongly and unequivocally condemn terrorism based on the twisted ideology of white supremacy. All people are created equally in the image of God, and those who perpetuate violence based on race are some of the purest evil this world has ever known. I am praying for the victims, their families, and the communities of El Paso and Dayton as they reel from this violence.”

Sen. Amanda Chase, R-Chesterfield, called for Northam to eliminate "gun free zones" in Virginia in a Facebook video posted Saturday around 8 p.m.

"In light of the El Paso mass shooting today, and in the Richmond area this past week, innocent Americans have died affecting the lives of countless families and loved ones.

How much longer must unprotected innocent life be targeted?

I call upon the Governor and General Assembly to support the elimination of gun free zones here in the Commonwealth."

Virginia's two senators, Tim Kaine, D, and Mark Warner, D, also weighed in on the violence.

"We need to address the undeniable threat of the rise of white supremacy," Kaine posted on twitter.

Warner wrote Sunday afternoon that the country "can't accept daily mass shootings as the new normal."

Robert Wittman, R-1st, had not commented on social media at last check late Sunday.

Elaine Luria, D-2nd, said Virginia Beach knows the pain the communities of El Paso and Dayton are grappling with.

"I am saddened for all those impacted by the mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio. Virginia Beach knows your pain all too well," Luria posted Sunday morning on Twitter. "Americans must band together, help each other, and do all we can to combat the gun violence epidemic we are facing."

Bobby Scott, D-3rd, said the nation does not have to accept the violence.

"Less than 24 hours later, and now the Dayton community is devastated by another gun violence massacre," Scott posted Sunday afternoon on Twitter. "We don’t have to accept this as normal, elected officials are not helpless to prevent some of this violence."

Rep. Donald McEachin, D-4th, said "we must do more to prevent gun violence in this country," in a tweet Sunday morning.

"Once again I am heartbroken to wake up to news of a shooting. My prayers are with the El Paso and Dayton communities. Our children and families do not deserve to live like this."

Denver Riggleman, R-5 had not commented on social media at last check late Sunday.

Ben Cline, R-6th, said he was sickened by the violence.

"Terrorism is violence in pursuit of a political agenda. It's evil, and we must call it out if we are to defeat it," posted Sunday afternoon on Twitter. "I am sickened by yesterday's #WhiteSupremacistTerrorism in El Paso and shooting in Dayton. May God comfort the victims & their families."

Abigail Spanberger, D-7th, questioned why the House background check bill had not been put to a vote in the Senate.

"The House passed a bipartisan background check bill. The vast majority of Americans & gun owners support background checks, & yet our bill can’t get a vote in the Senate. Why?

Because it would pass & Mitch McConnell knows that. This is not the will of the people."

Donald Beyer, D-8th, said "weapons made for battlefields" are being turned "against everyday people."

"Fed up. Another awful tragedy, this time in Dayton, Ohio. Once again weapons made for battlefields used against everyday people," Beyer posted on Twitter. "9 killed and 16 shot even with police responding in one minute. These weapons have no place in American communities and we have to get them out."

Morgan Griffith, R-9th, had not commented on social media at last check late Sunday.

Jennifer Wexton, D-10th, said there is a "public health & domestic terrorism crisis in America."

Gerald Connolly, D-1th1, said the Senate "must act and pass gun safety reform."

"Too many communities have been touched by senseless gun violence... Inaction can’t be option."

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