Ralph Northam lost his fight to restrict the sale of assault weapons on Monday after lawmakers, along with several Democrats, voted to scrap the bill for the year on the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Four Democrats mostly moderates joined Republicans in Monday’s committee vote, dismissing legislation that might have banned the sale of some semiautomatic firearms, along with popular AR-15 style rifles, and would have also banned the possession of magazines holding more than 12 rounds.
Senators voted to shelve the bill for the year and ask the state crime commission to study the issue, an outcome that drew cheers from a committee room packed with gun advocates.
Senators voted to shelve the bill for next year and ask the State Crime Commission to examine the matter, an outcome that drew cheers from a committee room stuffed with gun advocates.
There were Virginia Senators R. Creigh Deeds, John S. Edwards, president of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Chap Petersen, and Scott A. Surovell among the Democrats.
This bill was a primary concern for Northam, that has been aggressively advocating for a large package of gun-control measures. Spokeswoman for the governor, Alena Yarmosky, said he was disappointed with the outcome but determined to keep fighting for the measure.
The subject tends to draw fierce debate within the state, with gun control advocates voicing their concerns especially in rural communities.
David Majure, a supporter of gun-rights who attended the meeting of the committee, said he was pleased with the results of Monday but did not convince the bill is dead for the year.
He further added, “I’m happy about it, but I do not trust them”.
Virginia is the present epicenter of the fierce debate regarding guns in the country, as a new Democratic coalition seeks to impose strict new restrictions.
Democrats ran extensively on gun control during most of the legislative elections last year, when they first flipped control of the General Assembly in more than two decades.
Last month, in protest, tens of thousands of gun-right activists from across the country flooded the Capitol and surrounding area, some putting on tactical gear and carrying rifles in the military style. And even more than 100 states, towns and cities have proclaimed themselves safe zones of the Second Amendment, vowing to condemn any proposed “unconstitutional limits” on weapons
While this bill was tabled, House and Senate representatives have introduced other legislation planned to be enacted in the coming days, including proposals that would mandate universal background checks on gun purchases and allow localities to prohibit guns in public buildings, parks and other locations.
Some Other legislation would restrict sales of handguns to about one a month and enable authorities to immediately take away guns from anyone they think would pose a threat to himself or anyone else.
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