Virginia House approves assault weapons ban

Virginia's House of Delegates passed legislation Tuesday afternoon that would ban the sale of certain semi-automatic firearms, including the popular AR-15-style rifles. 

The vote on H.B. 961 was close, with a tally of 51-48, The Wall Street Journal reported. State Democrats currently control 55 seats in the chamber. 

Despite having the support of Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D), the passage of the bill in the state's Senate isn't guaranteed, as Democrats have only a two-seat majority in the 40-seat Senate.

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The bill isn't all that revolutionary; seven states, including California and New York, already have laws in place banning assault-style weapons. If the bill passes the Senate and is signed into law, then Virginia would become the eighth state with such a law.

Tuesday was also an important deadline. If the bill hadn't passed the House, then it wouldn't have been able to be sent to the Senate for consideration before Virginia's legislative session ends in March.

A similar gun control bill that was introduced in the Senate was withdrawn from the chamber in January, though it was more strict than the bill that was passed Tuesday.