VA. Democrats push to ban assault weapons fails Senate vote

Daniel Fowler
February 18, 2020

The Democrats' momentum on the gun control issue was at least temporarily derailed with Monday's committee vote.

However, Republicans and the handful of Democrats who voted with them on the Senate Judiciary Committee want to wait on the legislation and give time for a study to show whether such a ban carries any benefit in the first place.

It would also have banned the possession of magazines that can hold over 12 rounds. The governor's spokeswoman, Alena Yarmosky, said he's disappointed with the result but determined to continue to press for the measure.

During last year's state elections, Democrats ran heavily on gun control.

The bill's rejection is an embarrassing loss for Northam and Democrats in Virginia, who aimed to use their narrow and new-found majority to push a broad progressive gun control agenda in the state. These bills represent historic steps forward in keeping Virginians safe from gun violence.

Last month tens of thousands of gun-rights activists-some in tactical gear-from around the country descended on the Capitol in Richmond and the surrounding area to protest.

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The bill caused controversy when it was initially introduced and led to localities across the Commonwealth declaring themselves second amendment sanctuaries.

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam (D) has been pushing to ban assault-style weapons since taking office in 2018.

"In the meantime, the Judiciary Committee and Virginia Senate must swiftly pass the remaining seven, common-sense gun violence prevention laws before them".

Lawmakers voted to table the bill Monday with little debate, while noting that there was confusion over what types of guns would constitute an assault weapon.

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