Virginia Senate Committee Rejects ‘Assault Weapons’ Ban

A controversial bill that would have banned Virginians from selling so-called assault weapons and owning high-capacity magazines was defeated by lawmakers after a handful of Democrats rejected the proposal.

An AR-15 semi-automatic rifle at a gun shop in Richmond, Va., on Jan. 13, 2020. (Samira Bouaou/The Epoch Times)

State senators in the Judiciary Committee voted to shelve the bill (House Bill 961) until next year and asked the state crime commission to study the issue. Four Democratic senators—Creigh Deeds, John Edwards, Chap Petersen, and Scott Surovell—broke with their party and joined Republicans to reject the measure in a 10–5 vote…

The legislation, dubbed HB 961, expands the definition of “assault firearm” and “prohibits any person from importing, selling, transferring, manufacturing, purchasing, or transporting an assault firearm.” It defines an assault firearm as “a semi-automatic center-fire rifle that expels single or multiple projectiles by the action of an explosion of combustible material with a fixed magazine capacity in excess of 12 rounds,” among other things.

The original bill would have banned the ownership of all “assault weapons,” but an amendment would change it to only ban sales and transfers of assault firearms. The bill made clear that any Virginian who already owned a so-called assault firearm by July 1, 2020, would have been able to keep it.

“Today, the will of the people defeated Bloomberg’s attempt to buy off the legislature,” John Crump, Virginia state director at Gun Owners of America, told The Epoch Times, referring to former New York Mayor and current 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg…

“While this is a victory for gun owners in the Commonwealth, we still have to be ever vigilant,” Crump said via email. “The bill can still be brought back by Governor Northam. Gun owners need to stay engaged and, most importantly, vote. This is just one step toward taking back our state.”

About a dozen other gun control bills have advanced swiftly through Virginia’s state legislature in recent weeks and could be passed in coming days. Those bills include limiting handgun purchases to one per month, universal background checks on gun purchases, allowing localities to ban guns in public buildings, parks, and other areas, and a “red flag” bill that would allow authorities to temporarily take guns away from anyone deemed to be dangerous to themselves or others.

Read more at The Epoch Times