RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Democrats used their majority on a state Senate panel to reject an effort to reverse localities’ authority to prohibit guns in public spaces while advancing proposals to impose restrictions, including a ban on assault weapons.
The votes from the Virginia Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday didn’t come as a surprise after Democrats vowed to block Republican efforts to seek changes to laws passed during Gov. Ralph Northam’s (D) time in office — when Democrats controlled the General Assembly.
With Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) in place and Republicans in the majority in the House of Delegates, Democrats’ plans to move forward with more gun restrictions are improbable.
The Senate Judiciary Committee — made up of nine Democrats and six Republicans — heard multiple gun-related measures Monday. Most met the same fate: a party-line vote.
Legislation introduced by state Sen. Jennifer Boysko (D-Loudoun) to require adults to store firearms — unloaded and in a locked container — when a minor is in a home made it through the committee in a 9-6 party-line vote.
It would make any violation a Class 1 misdemeanor and subsequent violations as separate misdemeanors if passed into law.
The panel voted 9-6 to pass bills from state Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria) setting limits on “ghost guns” — homemade firearms and plastic guns without serial numbers typically assembled using 3D printers — and banning certain semi-automatic weapons from being carried in public.
In another party-line vote, the committee advanced a proposal to create a Class 1 misdemeanor for anyone “who imports, sells, manufactures, purchases, possesses, transports, or transfers an assault firearm,” with certain exceptions, and prohibit the sale of large capacity ammunition feeding devices.
Representatives from pro-gun rights groups, including Virginia Citizens Defense League President Philip Van Cleave and those from the National Rifle Association, spoke in opposition to the Democratic bills, saying they impose unlawful restrictions on firearms.
The committee killed a proposal from state Sen. Mark D. Obenshain (R-Rockingham) to remove a locality’s power to ban guns from parks, streets and other public places, including during an event that would require a permit.
This story is developing. Stay with 8News for updates.