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BulletsThe now-majority Virginia Legislative Democrats recently passed seven out of eight proposed gun-control measures advocated by Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D-VA).

HB2 would enact background checks for any private gun sales.

HB9 bill stipulates that an owner of a gun that has been stolen or lost, must report the missing item with 24 hours. Failure to report lost or stolen firearms would result in a civil penalty not exceeding $250.

HB421 will give municipal governments the authority to enact their own gun prohibitions.

HB674also known as the “red flag” law, gives authorities the ability to temporarily seize firearms from individuals who demonstrate high-risk behaviors. Exercise of this law requires a court hearing and an issuance from a judge. Individuals who transfer firearms to those under an emergency risk order are subject to a Class 4 felony.

HB812 codifies an already established 2012 policy that limits handgun purchases to one purchase per month.

HB1004 refers to someone who is subject to a permanent protective order. They cannot knowingly possess a firearm. Failure to comply is categorized as a Class 6 felony.

HB1083 raised the offense of neglect to a felony charge if a firearm is left within reach of a minor. Previous legislation classified negligence as any child under the age of 14 injured by a firearm. It was deemed a Class 3 misdemeanor.

On Feb. 11, the Virginia Delegates passed HB 961 with a 51-48 vote. The bill strictly prohibits the transport, sale, importation, manufacturing, purchasing or transfer of assault firearms, certain firearm magazines, silencers, and trigger activators. Violation of said law is classified as a Class 6 felony in the Commonwealth of Virginia. However, possession of said firearms is classified as a Class 1 misdemeanor and owners would be legally required to either remove it from the Commonwealth or render it to the local law enforcement authorities.

On Feb. 17, HB 961 was met with resistance in the Virginia State Senate. Legislators opted to block the bill, extending its time frame for further discussion into the year 2021. Four democrats in the Virginia Senate Judiciary Committee voted against the bill, assisting the Republicans in attaining a minority victory. Tensions have risen in democratic ranks over disunity in regards to constitutional vs. public safety concerns.

Opposition from some Republican legislators such as Delegate Les Adams (R-VA District 16) and Second Amendment advocacy groups, including of course the NRA, have voiced criticism of the bills as being overreaching and “draconian.” Several Republican constituents descended onto Richmond to protest what they feel is an attack on their rural way of life.

Following a shooting that took place on May 31 at Virginia Beach, there has been a greater attention to gun regulation and access in the state of Virginia. In addition, the recent majority flip from Republican to Democrat has made way for more regulatory firearm bills to be enacted.

Nzinga Kelliebrew

Nzinga Kelliebrew

Content Manager, State