Gun control bills in the Virginia Legislature


Helen Ehrlich, News Editor

Virginia’s newly majority Democrat House Of Representatives passed eight gun control bills. These measures were some of the biggest campaign promises from Democrats when they sent a blue wave through Virginia. The biggest financial contributor in Virginia’s election was Everytown For Gun Safety, a gun violence prevention action group. These bills come weeks after approximately 22,000 pro-gun demonstrators protested in Richmond, against gun control.

The bills that were passed along to the Senate include bills to ensure universal background checks, allow local governments to make additional gun laws, place a limit on the number of guns someone can buy per month, force people to report a missing firearm within 24 hours, reinforce laws blocking firearm sales to people under protective order, ban firearms in areas that require permits and enact “red flag” laws. “Red flag” laws allow police to temporarily remove firearms from the possession of individuals who are deemed to be dangerous by courts.

The Senate, including a number of its newly elected Democrats, killed the bills that would have banned sale of most assault-rifles in Virginia and made it illegal to have silencers and magazines that can hold over 12 rounds. 

After the mass shooting in Virginia Beach rocked the state, taking measures against gun violence has become very important to a great deal of voters. Each year in Virginia, more people die from gun violence than automobile accidents, and the annual cost of gun violence in Virginia is $5.3 billion, according to Gifford Law Center. Gun violence prevention measures in Virginia have been considered unprecedented, as the National Rifle Association (NRA) is based in Fairfax County, and Virginia has been considered a Second Amendment protection state for decades.

Governor Northam stated, “I want to make a few things perfectly clear. Number one, our eight pieces of gun legislation do not threaten the Second Amendment. Number two, they are all constitutional.” In a recent statement he shared, “Dealing with the gun violence in Virginia will be a top priority of our administration. Now certainly with a Democratic Senate and House, I believe we can move forward with common sense gun legislation.”