Posted by 13 January 2020
Democrats are now in charge of the two houses of the Virginia legislature and the governor’s mansion. They are taking advantage of this opportunity to push through gun control bills that had long been stopped by Republicans.
Among the bills moving through the legislature in Richmond:
- Banning firearms from the capitol building complex, including firearms carried by law enforcement, legislators, and those with concealed weapons permits
- Limiting handgun purchases to one per month
- Mandating background checks for all firearms purchases, including private sales between individuals
- Permitting local governments more leeway in enacting gun bans for certain events
- Giving police the ability to remove guns from someone’s possession if they think that person poses a threat of imminent harm
Democratic Virginia legislators have long tried to pass these bills, but Republicans who controlled the legislature quashed these efforts. Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat, called legislators into special session last year to consider gun control bills. Republican leaders adjourned the session without doing so.
In the 2019 elections, however, Virginia voters gave Democrats control of both legislative bodies for the first time in years. With Northam still in the governor’s mansion, it set up a situation where Republicans no longer had the votes to thwart gun control bills. This is what Democrats have focused on in the early days of the legislative session.
Those pushing these bills say they are necessary to reduce gun violence and protect Virginians. Opponents counter that gun control targets law-abiding gun owners and that there is little evidence that it actually reduces crime.
Do you support limiting handgun purchases to one per month? Should all gun sales, even private sales, be subject to background checks?