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Moms Demand Action Awards "Gun Sense Candidate" Distinction to Alyia Gaskins

More Virginia Gun Sense Candidates Running Than In 2019 Primary; Women Represent Nearly 60% Of Candidates In First Round of Gun Sense Candidate Distinctions

Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund today endorsed a statewide ticket of gun sense champions for election this November in Virginia who will stand up for common-sense gun safety measures.

“Virginia’s elections have always been a national bellwether, so it says a lot about the strength of the gun safety movement that some 80 candidates have already sought and received our Gun Sense Distinction in a state that used to be an NRA stronghold,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety. “These candidates know that gun violence prevention is a winning issue in the Commonwealth, and that Moms Demand Action volunteers will go all out to elect gun sense champions up and down the ballot.”

“As we award these Gun Sense Candidate distinctions, we’re letting candidates know that if you have our backs, we’ll have yours,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action. “The last few years have shown that gun safety is a winning issue, from gun sense champions flipping the U.S. House in 2018, to winning a trifecta in Virginia in 2019, to the White House in 2020, to the U.S. Senate in 2021. In election after election, in state after state, Moms Demand Action volunteers have moved heaven and earth to elect gun sense champions up and down the ballot.”

Heading into November 2019, polls showed that gun safety was the number one issue for Virginia voters, and Virginians cast their ballots accordingly, flipping control of both the state Senate and House of Delegates to gun sense majorities for the first time in nearly 25 years. The legislature then passed a suite of gun safety reforms, from the signing of legislation to address the Charleston loophole to landmark legislation to require background checks on all gun sales.

Since the 2021 Moms Demand Action Gun Sense Candidate distinction program launched in May, volunteers from Moms Demand Action, a part of Everytown for Gun Safety, have been distributing questionnaires to candidates across the Commonwealth, from both political parties, and educating them on key policies and what it means to be a Gun Sense Candidate.

Nearly 90 candidates in Virginia have sought and received the distinction so far, demonstrating their commitment to run on their gun violence prevention credentials. These candidates represent the depth and breadth of the gun violence prevention movement:

  • Distinctions were sought and received by candidates running for office up and down the ballot, including Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, and House of Delegates;

  • Nearly 60% of the first round of Gun Sense Candidates are women;

  • More Gun Sense Candidate are on the ballot in Virginia this year than in 2019, and there is a Gun Sense Candidate on the ballot in nearly every battleground Virginia House of Delegates district;

  • Voters are able to view the complete list of gun sense candidates by visiting

The Gun Sense Candidate distinction is a signal to Everytown and Moms Demand Action’s nearly six million supporters, volunteers, and voters across the country that a candidate stands up for gun violence prevention. The Gun Sense Candidate distinction is not an endorsement from Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund, or its volunteer networks Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action. Receiving the Moms Demand Action Gun Sense Candidate distinction is a prerequisite for being considered for endorsement.

The Gun Sense Candidate Distinction program began in 2018, when the program recognized over 3,000 candidates running for office. In 2020, the program again recognized more than 3,000 candidates, including candidates in 49 states and Washington DC and for offices from President to State Legislature. Of the gun sense candidates who ran during the general election, nearly 60% won their races—resulting in a federal gun sense trifecta between the White House, the U.S. House, and the U.S. Senate.

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