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Virginia moves closer to ‘assault weapon’ ban

A rack of various modern sporting rifles, mostly AR-15s, in Gallenson's Gun Shop, located in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA. (Michael McConville/Wikimedia Commons)
February 10, 2020

The Democrat-controlled Virginia legislature moved forward on Friday to pass its strict gun-control legislation in a 12-9 vote to ban “assault weapons,” suppressors, and magazines that hold more than 12 rounds.

If passed into law, HB 961 would ban popular guns like AK-47s and AR-15s, effective July 1. The House Public Safety Committee vote brings gun-control measures one step further to receiving a signature from Gov. Ralph Northam.

While a handful of Democrats are unsupportive in the Senate, the bill is expected to easily pass the House of Delegates.

HB 961 also bans shotguns with magazines that hold more than seven rounds, which is a prohibition that applies currently in some localities in the commonwealth.

Breaking the new law would be a felony, ABC13 reported. Additionally, the bill prohibits someone from selling, renting, trading, or transferring from his inventory an assault firearm to any person

This development is one of several that Democrats in the commonwealth have proposed. Governor Northam is supportive of gun-control legislation, so it’s expected that any bills that reach his desk will be signed into law.

Northam has previously proposed gun-control measures that have resulted in some serious backlash, including using the National Guard to enforce gun laws, which has some citizens concerned it could spark a violent outbreak.

Now, 90 percent of the counties in Virginia have passed Second Amendment sanctuary resolutions which local law enforcement has generally supported.

“Any legislation that requires Virginians to surrender or destroy their lawfully possessed firearms or standard-issue magazines is tantamount to confiscation and a gross violation of our constitutional rights. Governor Northam and House Democrats are still going after law-abiding citizens with these policies, and Virginians who merely own the most common types of firearms and accessories would be made to be felons and subject to prison,” said House Republican Leader Rep. Todd Gilbert. “House Democrats seem to have learned nothing from the public outcry caused by their proposals. A similar Senate version of House Bill 961 is exactly what prompted the ‘Second Amendment sanctuary cities’ movement across Virginia. These efforts will continue to divide Virginia and without any meaningful public safety outcomes whatsoever.”

One sheriff said he would deputize thousands of residents if the state passed strict gun-control laws.

“They will be properly vetted through a normal process. Everything from normal background checks that we do for other deputy sheriffs as well as psych [evaluations]. It’s not just a blanket policy of swearing-in anyone who is interested,” Culpeper County Sheriff Scott Jenkins told “Fox & Friends” on Dec. 11.

“The Democrats want a vulnerable and subservient citizenry,” said RPV Chairman Jack Wilson. “Most of these General Assembly Democrats can’t tell the difference between an ‘assault weapon’ and a hole in the ground, yet they think they can regulate the Bill of Rights. Virginia won’t go down without a fight. Republicans are organized, energized, and inspired to turn out in 2020 to re-elect President Trump and take back the General Assembly in 2021.”