Lawmakers in Virginia reject Governor Northam’s bid to attack weapons
- Virginia Government Ralph Northam lost its fight to ban the sale of assault weapons Monday after several Democrats joined the Republican senators to suspend the bill for the year
- The legislation would have prohibited the sale of some semi-automatic firearms, including guns in the AR-15 style
- The bill also prohibited the possession of magazines with more than 12 rounds
- The members of the Senate Court, who voted against the bill, include four Democrats, most moderates
Virginia Ralph Northam government lost its fight to ban the sale of assault weapons on Monday after several Democrats joined Republican senators to suspend the bill for the year
Virginia Government Ralph Northam lost its fight to ban the sale of assault weapons on Monday after lawmakers, including several Democrats, voted in the Senate Court to suspend the bill for the year.
Four Democrats, most moderates, joined their Republican counterparts in rejecting the legislation that would have prohibited the sale of some semi-automatic firearms, including AR-15 style guns.
It would also have banned the possession of magazines that may contain more than 12 rounds.
The Democrats included Virginia Senators R. Creigh Deeds, John S. Edwards, President of the Senate Court, Chap Petersen and Scott A. Surovell.
The commission vote was praised by the advocates of weapons, but is a big blow to the Northam government, which fought for a number of arms control measures.
Pictured here are Virginia Democratic Senators John Edwards, President of the Senate Court (left) and R. Creigh Deeds, two of the senators who voted to suspend the bill
Proponents of arms rights celebrate outside the meeting of the Senate Committee after they have heard that the bill has been submitted
A spokesperson for the governor said he was disappointed with the outcome, but plans to continue the fight next year.
Arms control was an important issue for Democrats during last year’s parliamentary elections when they first took over control of the General Assembly in more than two decades.
The issue continues to provoke a heated debate in the state, with arms owners, especially in rural communities, making their voice heard.
Last month, tens of thousands of gun rights activists – some in tactical equipment – traveled from across the country to the Capitol in Richmond and the surrounding area to protest.
More than 100 provinces, towns and villages have also declared themselves sanctuaries for the second amendment, and promise to oppose “unconstitutional restrictions” on guns.
Supporters of arms rights are protesting outside the Capitol in Richmond, Virginia
Demonstrant has a sign at a meeting of January 20 organized by the Virginia Citizens Defense League
A demonstrator is holding a sign at the meeting on January 20 and calling the governor of Virginia a tyrant
In Virginia, gun owners claimed that the governor was trying to seize guns and accessories in the hands of law-abiding citizens.
The governor said that that was not the purpose of the bill and that banning the sale of high-capacity assault weapons and magazines would help prevent mass killings.
Although previous proposals to prohibit possession of attack rivals or require owners to register, failed, the governor hoped that this bill would get enough Democratic votes to succeed.
However, moderate Democrats in the Virginia Senate said they felt uncomfortable with the legislation.
Lawmakers said it was not clear which types of weapons would constitute an assault weapon.
Senators have now asked the state committee to study the issue.
While this bill was being submitted, legislators in the House and the Senate have implemented other measures that are expected to be adopted in the coming days, including bills that require universal background controls on arms purchases and allow places for weapons in public buildings, parks and other areas.
Other legislative proposals limit the purchase of pistols to once a month and allow authorities to temporarily remove weapons from anyone who is considered a danger to themselves or others.