Virginia governor Ralph Northam’s efforts to ban the sale of assault weapons failed after some of his fellow Democrats balked at the proposal. According to The Guardian, senators voted “to shelve the bill for the year and ask the state crime commission to study the issue, an outcome that drew cheers from a committee room packed with gun rights advocates.”
Four moderate Democrats joined their Republican counterparts in rejecting the legislation. The legislation would have banned the sale of some semiautomatic firearms, including AR-15-style rifles, reported The Daily Mail. The bill also banned the possession of magazines that hold over 12 rounds.
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The Democrats included Virginia Senators R. Creigh Deeds, John S. Edwards, chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Chap Petersen, and Scott A. Surovell.
While gun advocates praised the committee vote, this is a big blow to Gov. Northam who was fighting for several gun control measures. Northam treated the bill as a top priority. The governor’s spokeswoman, Alena Yarmosky, said he’s disappointed with the result but is determined to continue to press for the measure. “We will be back next year,” she said.
“Gun control was a key issue for Democrats during last year’s legislative elections when they gained control of the General Assembly for the first time in over two decades. The issue continues to draw heated debate in the state, with gun owners, especially in rural communities making their voices heard,” reported The Daily Mail.