A invoice backed by Gov. Ralph Northam that may ban the sale of assault-style weapons in Virginia failed on a committee vote Monday morning, setting again one of many largest priorities for the newly minted Democrat-controlled authorities within the state.
A crowd of gun-rights activists packed into the committee room cheered because the vote got here in, with 4 reasonable Democrats becoming a member of Republicans to shelve the invoice till subsequent yr. Heated exchanges over weapons have dominated this yr’s legislative session. They had been additionally a key matter of final yr’s legislative elections – notably after a mass shooting in Virginia Beach claimed a dozen lives – and gun management teams closely funded Democratic candidates.
Gun-rights protesters have been out in pressure for weeks in Richmond, Va., the state’s capital, over Democrats’ gun management agenda.
“I’ve mates that aren’t going to conform,” warned Nicholas McGraw, a gun proprietor from King William County who got here to protest the assault weapons invoice on Feb. 7, earlier than the measure died.
McGraw’s feedback mirrored the perspective of many conservatives and Second Modification activists in Virginia, particularly in its extra rural areas. Greater than 100 Virginia cities and counties have declared themselves to be sanctuary jurisdictions for gun rights since Democrats, led by Gov. Northam, took management of the state’s authorities.
Such “sanctuaries” would order native legislation enforcement to not implement state gun legal guidelines.
However proponents of the assault weapons invoice stated that they might take the setback in stride.
“Whereas we’re upset in in the present day’s vote, we’re undeterred. Assault-style weapons, large-capacity magazines, and different equipment designed to intensify the lethality of firearms haven’t any place in our communities,” Kris Brown, President of Brady United Towards Gun Violence, stated in a press release. “Within the meantime, the Judiciary Committee and Virginia Senate should swiftly go the remaining seven, commonsense gun violence prevention legal guidelines earlier than them. We want the motion that voters demanded in November.”
Earlier than the invoice failed, Virginia Secretary of Public Security and Homeland Safety Brian Moran underscored the resolve some Democrats need to get an assault weapons ban finished. He stated Individuals shouldn’t have a proper to personal such firearms below the Structure.
“Assault weapons will not be protected by the Second Modification as a result of they’re weapons of struggle,” Moran stated.
Different gun management payments have, nonetheless, made it by way of the Virginia Home and Senate. These embrace measures that may ban weapons in sure areas and buildings, require common background checks, restrict how continuously folks should purchase handguns and permit legislation enforcement to quickly take weapons away from somebody they deem harmful.
Whittney Evans, a reporter for myVPM, a neighborhood NPR affiliate, reported that Democratic Sen. Louise Louis stated, “you bunch of wimps,” after the vote outcomes got here in. The assault weapons invoice, which was extra reasonable than earlier proposals to outright ban possession of assault rifles or pressure house owners to register them with police, couldn’t get the reasonable Democrats wanted with the intention to go.
The Monday vote duties the state crime fee with learning the problem because the legislature places off any motion on assault weapons till no less than 2021. Virginia’s legislative session will finish on March 7.
Fox Information Barnini Chakraborty, Sam Dorman and the Related Press contributed to this report.