McLean Democrat Kathleen Murphy on Tuesday called for expanding universal background checks for gun buyers and for more effective mental health services in Virginia following last week's mass shootings at the Washington Navy Yard.
Murphy is challenging Republican state Del. Barbara Comstock for her seat in the Virginia House of Delegates.
“In the aftermath of last week’s tragic gun assault at the Navy Yard, it is important that we not only mourn together, but also help mobilize to prevent gun violence and protect our children and our communities. Gun violence isn’t something that only happens somewhere else, it can happen here," Murphy said in a statement.
Many guns used in crimes around the country, particularly in New York City and across the Eastern Seaboard, originate in Virginia because of lax gun laws here, Murphy Campaign Manager Ray Rieling told Patch.
This month, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe added support for gun control measures to his platform, including universal background checks, limiting the size of magazines and a return to Virginia's limit on buying one gun per month.
Rieling said limits on the size of magazines and returning to the one-gun-per-month rule may be part of a broader discussion.
"We need to come together to have a discussion on how to reduce gun violence as a whole," he said. "Those may be part of the part of the discussion."
Eleven years ago, Murphy lost her younger brother, Steven, when he was shot to death during a robbery in Arizona.
Aaron Alexis, the man identified as the Navy Yard shooter, reportedly has had a history of mental illness yet was still able to legally buy the shotgun he used in last week's rampage.
“We need more effective services for the mentally ill; we need to expand background checks; we need to focus on sensible gun safety. Twelve families lost their loved ones including four from Fairfax County. I know from personal experience the awful power of that heartbreaking pain.” Murphy, a political consultant, said in a statement.
Nationally, more than 30,000 people die in gun-related deaths each year, and nearly 19,000 of those victims are children, according to Murphy's campaign.