Guns and Gear

Virginia’s Gun Control Debate Begins Tuesday. Here’s What Northam Wants

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Virginia lawmakers will assemble Tuesday for the special session Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam called to debate a package of gun control measures.

Northam called the special session in the wake of the Virginia Beach shooting May 31, which killed 12 people, according to The Associated Press.

“Virginians deserve votes and laws, not thoughts and prayers. I urge the members of the General Assembly to engage in a thorough, meaningful discussion about these proposed bills and to allow every member to cast their votes on the floor,” said Northam in a statement to announce the agenda.

Northam published his gun control agenda ahead of the session, summarizing eight major items he hopes to pass, including:

  1. Bans on “assault weapons,” “high-capacity” magazines, bump stocks and silencers.
  2. One handgun purchase within 30-day period.
  3. Lost or stolen firearms must be reported to law enforcement within 24 hours.
  4. Extreme Risk Protective Orders, also known as “red flag laws” that allow law enforcement and the courts to temporarily confiscate weapons from people who exhibit “dangerous behavior that presents an immediate threat to self or others.”
  5. Prevent people named in restraining orders from obtaining firearms.
  6. Increase the punishment for allowing children access to loaded firearms to a Class 6 felony (currently Class 3 Misdemeanor).
  7. Allow local governments to enact stricter gun control laws than the state.

Republican lawmakers, who hold a majority by two seats in each house, have said Northam is exploiting the Virginia Beach tragedy for political gain, indicating the session beginning Tuesday will be contentious. (RELATED: Gun Control Advocates Take Easy Way Out)

Many of the reforms proposed have been attempted previously by Democrats, as lawmakers proposed more than 70 gun-control bills during the last session, only one of which was approved, according to WHSV.

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