State Watch

Virginia state legislature passes background checks for all firearm purchases

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The Virginia state legislature voted Saturday to mandate criminal background checks on all gun purchases in the chamber’s latest effort to tackle gun control.

The measure passed both the Senate and the General Assembly and is poised to be reviewed by Gov. Ralph Northam (D) for signature. The legislature also passed a measure Saturday limiting anyone who does not have a concealed carry permit to one handgun purchase a month. 

The state House passed the background check legislation by a 51-45 vote Thursday. The bill passed the state Senate by a 23-16 vote Saturday.

The two bills are part of a larger package Northam has backed. Of the eight measures, seven were passed by the state Senate, which killed a ban on the sale of assault weapons and ownership of high-capacity magazines. 

“I am so proud to finally see the passage of so many great bills this session that are going to save lives and protect Virginians throughout our commonwealth,” Del. Hala Ayala said in a statement.

“We promised to make Virginia safer from the senseless gun violence that has ravaged our communities. Promise kept,” added Eileen Filler-Corn, the Speaker of the Virginia state House.

State Democrats, who won control of state government last year for the first time since 1994, have prioritized passing gun control measures as they seek to flex their muscles in their newfound majority.

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