Virginia State Senate Vanquishes Weapon Bill


Virginia Statehouse. Credit: OZinOH

A controversial assault weapon ban is rejected in the VA Senate.

On February 17th, a controversial assault weapon ban was rejected by the Virginia Senate after it failed to pass a crucial vote. Democrat Virginia Governor Ralph Northam has been pushing for an assault weapon ban, which has also been a main point in his campaign of instituting several gun reforms. The vote to approve the bill failed after four moderate Democrats joined the Republicans’ side on the bill, which was intended to restrict the sale of assault weapons and magazine capacities. 

These proposals have risen as a result of a slew of mass shootings in recent years, as well as concerns over the use of assault weapons in other violent crimes. Northam is disappointed in the result but intends to pursue further legislation that would support his desire to restrict assault weapons. Pro-gun supporters lauded the decision by the Virginia Senate, but some remain unmoved with the idea that the decision will permanently offset the issue for a year as per protocol. 

Ever since the 2019 Virginia legislative elections, where the Democrats won a majority for the first time in two decades, Virginia has been a major focal point for the debate on gun usage. The Democrats intend to pursue firearm restrictions but many Virginians, particularly those in rural communities, have resisted. On January 20th, a pro-gun rally in Richmond drew several thousand protesters from all around the USA, decrying the decision by Democrats to pursue gun restrictions. 

Thankfully, the tense situation was resolved peacefully, but only goes to show the controversy regarding gun accessibility in Virginia and the country as a whole. In fact, more than 100 counties in Virginia have declared that they would not follow any legislation banning certain types of firearms, becoming self-proclaimed “Second Amendment Sanctuaries” in reference to the Constitutional Amendment that allows citizens to own guns. There has been extensive debate over whether the intentions to restrict gun ownership and operation is unconstitutional.

Legislation regarding gun control in Virginia hasn’t been met with much success, to say the least. Out of Governor Northam’s eight proposed gun control measures, three have already been rejected. The Governor has tried to “water down” the severity of such laws to help bring supporters to his side, but at the same time, many Democrats claim that they are uncomfortable with passing legislation that would affect so many gun owners. Whether you believe that gun control should be passed or not, one thing is for certain; this issue will keep firing away for a while.