Gov. Northam announces date for special session on gun control

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RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Governor Ralph Northam announced on Friday when the special legislative session on gun control will take place. 

The governor signed a proclamation summoning Virginia General Assembly members back to Richmond on Tuesday, July 9, for a special session to address gun violence in the Commonwealth.

This comes three days after Northam announced he would be urging the General Assembly to take up a new package of gun-control legislation in the wake of a mass shooting in Virginia Beach.

Northam’s bills include a ban on silencers and high-capacity magazines, as well as a broadening of the ability of local governments to limit guns in city buildings. The governor said he also wants mandatory, universal background checks before gun purchases; a limit of one handgun purchase per month; and a “red flag” law that would allow authorities to seize the weapons of those who are a threat to themselves or others.

“But we must do more than give our thoughts and prayers. We must give Virginians the action they deserve. You see, Virginia is heartbroken. We are heartbroken for the families who have lost their loved ones,” Northam said at Tuesday’s press conference.

Northam, a Democrat confronted with a Republican-controlled General Assembly in the middle of an election year, also said he wants every legislator to go on record for or against his proposals during the special session this summer, rather than avoid tough votes by quietly killing the bills in subcommittee.

“The nation will be watching,” the governor said, four days after Virginia Beach employee DeWayne Craddock used two semi-automatic handguns, a silencer and extended ammunition magazines to slaughter 12 people at a municipal building. Craddock was then killed in a gunbattle with police.

Read Northam’s full proclamation here.

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