The Democrat-controlled government of Virginia rejected Gov. Ralph Northam’s ban on assault weapons Monday, with the State Senate punting the vote to 2021.
Rather than pass the bill, a Senate committee voted to shelve the legislation and let the state crime commission investigate the issue, according to the Associated Press. The bill is one of eight in Northam’s gun control package, which has caused massive protests in the state. The legislation would have banned the sale of “assault-style” weapons, such as the AR-15, as well as magazines with a capacity of more than 12 rounds. Democrats gained majorities in both the state Senate and Assembly in 2018, in addition to the governorship.
“This is a victory for honest, hard-working Virginians who shared their support for the Second Amendment in rallies on the capitol, in one-on-one meetings with their lawmakers, in letters-to-the-editor, and in phone calls, emails,and texts to their state senators,” NRA spokeswoman Catherine Mortensen said in a statement. “We thank the senators on the judiciary committee for listening to their constituents and delivering a bi-partisan defeat of an egregious gun ban that would have criminalized law-abiding gun owners.”
Northam has been largely successful in passing the rest of his gun control package, however, which includes red flag laws, universal background checks, permission for localities to enact more strict gun laws, and limiting gun purchases to one per month. (RELATED: #BlackGunsMatter Activist Rips Media For VA Rally Coverage)
Roughly 22,000 gun rights advocates protested the package at the state capital on Jan. 20, causing Northam to declare a state of emergency and ban firearms at the capital. Roughly 6,000 followed the ban and went through airport-style security to protest on capital grounds, but the majority stayed outside. Many of them were armed and open-carried rifles.