State Sen. Don McEachin, D-Henrico, said Monday he felt "morally compelled" to introduce legislation in the upcoming General Assembly session on mental health and gun violence following the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. Friday in which a gunman killed 28 people, including 20 six and seven year olds, before turning the gun on himself.
“In light of last Friday's events, I feel morally compelled to introduce concrete legislation in the General Assembly Session in January," McEachin said in a press release. "Over the coming weeks, I will consult with my fellow legislators and announce specific plans that will help stem this horrific tide of gun violence."
McEachin, who chairs the Senate Democratic Caucus, did not offer specific legislation but said laws were needed that dealt with both the state's mental health system and keeping guns out of the hands of criminals.
"We must work as a nation to improve and strengthen our mental health system. We must ensure that teenagers and adults get the help they need and are not just pushed, ill and unready, into society," McEachin said.
"And we must address the tide of gun violence, fed by an unlimited supply of ever more dangerous guns. We can no longer pretend that the wide availability of dangerous weapons has had no impact on the brutal killings committed over the past year. In Newtown, not one child survived the hail of bullets from a semiautomatic assault weapon. I call on our national leaders to finally have a serious conversation about how to stop criminals and the mentally ill from accessing dangerous weapons."