Virginia House passes Dems' gun reform laws 10 days after protests

The Virginia House of Delegates passed seven Democratic gun reform laws 10 days after large protests at the state capital over the proposed measures.  

The bills include regulations implementing universal background checks and “red flag” legislation allowing officials to take guns from those determined to be dangerous to themselves or others.

The other regulations involve requirements to report lost and stolen firearms, a limit of one handgun that can be bought per month, rules to ensure those under protective orders cannot own a gun, child access prevention and legislation giving local officials the authority to determine how firearms are regulated in public spaces. 

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“Today we answer the majority of Virginians who called for gun violence prevention legislation at the polls last November,” state House Majority Leader Charniele Herring (D) said in a statement. “Our goal is to save lives and promote responsible gun ownership in the Commonwealth. Public safety is our number one concern.”

The legislation will now move to the Virginia Senate for consideration. The state’s upper chamber has already passed four gun reform bills, including red flag and mandatory background checks bills.

The Brady Campaign to End Gun Violence celebrated that the bills' passage “put us one step closer” to Gov. Ralph Northam's (D) signature.

“These are sound public policies that do not violate individual rights and will make our communities safer,” Brady Campaign President Kris Brown said in a statement. 

Virginia Democrats ran on a pro-gun control agenda last year and captured united control of the state government for the first time in more than two decades.

The nation had its eyes on Virginia when pro-gun activists took to Richmond earlier this month to protest the reform bills, prompting Northam to declare a state of emergency.

At least 91 out of 95 Virginia counties, in addition to other localities, have now declared themselves “Second Amendment sanctuaries” where local officials say they will not enforce gun restriction laws.  

Gun Owners of America condemned the bills’ passage, saying the legislature is “ignoring the voice of the people on gun control.”

“Gun-grabbing Democrats in Virginia seem to be headed for that same electoral cliff, because voters will ‘remember in November,’ ” group President Erich Pratt said in a statement.