Virginia legislature adjourns 2 hours into special session called after mass shooting

Republican lawmakers in the Virginia state legislature ended a special session called by Gov. Ralph Northam (D) to deal with gun legislation Tuesday after just two hours.

The Associated Press reported that GOP lawmakers in the Republican-held state Senate were unable to agree on a piece of gun control legislation that the Republican Senate leader previously indicated he'd support.


Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment reportedly withdrew his support for legislation he filed Monday that would have banned all guns from government buildings across the state, a move that caused the temporary resignation of the party's Senate Majority Whip, Sen. Bill Stanley (R).

Virginia's House Speaker, Kirk Cox (R), meanwhile called the session an "election-year stunt" by Northam, who is limited to one term.

The session ended without a vote on the legislation despite calls for action from dozens of gun violence prevention activists outside the state capitol.

"Republican Senators and Delegates showed today they are cowards who could give a damn about keeping Virginians safe from gun violence. They ran away from their jobs at a time when Virginians needed them most," the Virginia Democratic Party said in a statement following the end of the session.

"We will make sure on November 5th that their 90 minutes on the floor today are their last 90 minutes in the majority," the party added.

The Brady campaign against gun violence also released a statement on Tuesday's session, blasting Republican lawmakers as "cowards" unwilling to act in the public interest.

"Today, Tommy Norment and Kirk Cox revealed themselves as nothing short of cowards," the Brady campaign said. "If these 'leaders' won't enact solutions that their own constituents are demanding, then we're going to fight tooth and nail for representatives who will."