Four moderate Democrats in Virginia crossed party lines to vote with Republicans in rejecting an “assault weapons” ban being pushed by the governor.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam made the bill and other gun-control measures a top priority for the state, sparking outrage and protests by gun owners and gun-right advocates. Monday’s committee vote drew cheers from Second Amendment supporters as the proposed legislation failed to get approved.
“I’m happy about it, but I don’t trust them,” David Majure, a gun-rights supporter who was in attendance at the hearing told ABC News.
The state crime commission will be tasked with studying the controversial issue as senators on Monday voted to table the proposal for a year.
Committee chairman John Edwards and fellow Democrats Chap Petersen, Creigh Deeds and Scott Surovell sided with their GOP colleagues in voting against the measure which would have banned the sale of certain semiautomatic firearms, such as AR-15 style rifles, and it would have prohibited owning magazines holding more than 12 rounds.
“There are obviously a lot of questions about definitions in this bill. Definitions do matter,” Deeds said.
Northam has contended that the ban on sales of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines would effectively work to prevent mass murders. But gun-right advocates slammed the Democrat governor for seeking to restrict the rights of law-abiding gun owners, though Northam repeatedly insisted he was not looking to confiscate firearms.
“We will be back next year,” the governor’s spokeswoman, Alena Yarmosky, said.
Fox Business reported:
Lawmakers in both the House and Senate have already advanced several other gun-control measures and should finalize passage in the coming days. Those bills include limiting handgun purchases to once a month, universal background checks on gun purchases, allowing localities to ban guns in public buildings, parks and other areas, and a red flag bill that would allow authorities to temporarily take guns away from anyone deemed to be dangerous to themselves or others.
Three of the proposals in Northam’s gun control package have been defeated despite Virginia Democrats having control of the General Assembly for the first time in more than two decades.
Northam declared a state of emergency to ban all firearms around the Capitol last month in anticipation of a massive crowd for a rally against proposed gun control regulations which included universal background checks on gun sales, a “red flag” bill, and limits on gun sales.
The National Rifle Association shared that it would be giving out 1,000 30-round magazines for the planned “Lobby Day” at the state capitol.
Despite the alarms from liberals, the protest was a peaceful gathering.
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) January 20, 2020
Another one of the eight bills proposed by Northam would have made it a felony to “recklessly leave a loaded, unsecured firearm” endangering a minor but was rejected by Virginia lawmakers earlier this month.
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