RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The Democratic leader in the Virginia House of Delegates said his party hopes to pass gun restrictions this year, including proposals for waiting periods for firearm purchases and a ban on assault weapons.
House Minority Leader Don Scott (D-Portsmouth) told reporters Wednesday that Democrats will seek the changes during the 2023 General Assembly session, calling out Gov. Glenn Youngkin for his response to recent shootings in Virginia.
“The governor tries to pivot every single time when we have one of those, which we know we’re going to have another when we have a shooting in a school or we have, like in [the University of Virginia]. or we have a shooting with the 6-year-old kid going to school,” Del. Scott said after the House wrapped up its first session of the year.
“The first thing he [Youngkin] says is mental health, but he never talks about guns because they’re beholden to the NRA, they’re beholden to the extremists, and we want to make sure that they address the gun violence.”
Scott said Democrats would seek to impose a waiting period on purchases, pointing to the fatal shooting at a Chesapeake Walmart in November, where an employee killed six of his co-workers with a legally bought gun he got hours before.
Democrats will also revive a push to ban assault weapons in Virginia, Scott added, an effort that failed even when the party had total control of the government and Gov. Ralph Northam in office.
“We know that there are people who hunt, and that’s OK. You don’t need an AK-47 to go hunt,” Scott said Wednesday. “You don’t need an assault rifle with extended magazines to go hunt.”
Following the Chesapeake shooting and fatal shooting at the University of Virginia, the Democratic House caucus released a set of gun control priorities for this year’s legislative session.
They included prohibiting the use of ghost guns and putting restrictions on high-capacity magazines. Democrats tried to pass a ban on “ghost guns,” homemade firearms, and plastic guns assembled using 3D printers, but those efforts failed to get enough support.
With Republicans holding a majority in the House of Delegates and Youngkin’s ability to veto any of these proposals, it appears unlikely that any more gun restrictions will be passed or rolled back.
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