Virginia House Passes 'Assault Firearm' Ban, Magazine Size Restriction


The Virginia House of Delegates voted on Tuesday to ban so-called “assault weapons” and limit the round capacity of gun magazines.

House Bill 961 prohibits “any person from importing, selling, transferring, manufacturing, purchasing, possessing, or transporting an assault firearm” in the state of Virginia.

Violation of the law would be a Class 6 felony, carrying a penalty of up to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.

HB 961 passed the House of Delegates in a 51 – 48 vote, with all Republican lawmakers opposing it and nearly all Democrats voting for the measure.

The legislation offers detailed definitions of the different types of semi-automatic guns that would be classified as “assault firearms.”

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The bill also makes it a felony to have magazines that hold more than 12 rounds.

“HB 961 would make tens of thousands of gun owners in Virginia criminals overnight,” Republican Del. Nick Freitas told the Washington Examiner.

“This bill creates an environment where you could receive up to 12 months in jail for every magazine you have over 12 rounds,” he added. “At the same time that Democrats are voting for early release programs for people convicted of first-degree murder and rape, they are criminalizing law-abiding gun owners.”

HB 961 will now go to the Virginia Senate where it is expected to pass and be signed into law by Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam.

Republican Delegate Dave LaRock tweeted after the vote, “And just like that, Virginia House Democrats vote to make millions of Virginians surrender their property or become criminals.”

“If the Senate goes along with this nonsense, the Governor will sign it, and then AG Herring will spend YOUR $$$ to defend this unconstitutional overreach.”

The bill is one of eight that Northam is seeking to push through the newly Democrat-controlled legislature.

Some of the governor’s other proposals have passed both chambers of the legislature.

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Those bills include limiting handgun purchases to one per month, universal background checks and a “red flag” law.

The latter would allow “any attorney for the Commonwealth or any law-enforcement officer” to apply for a judge’s order to “prohibit a person who poses a substantial risk of injury to himself or others from purchasing, possessing, or transporting a firearm.”

Differences between the Senate and House of Delegates versions must be ironed out in the weeks ahead before they can go to Northam’s desk to be signed into law.

Do you oppose an "assault weapons" ban?

Last month, President Donald Trump said Democrats in Virginia are “working hard” to take away residents’ Second Amendment rights as a massive anti-gun-control rally took place in the state capital of Richmond.

Northam declared a state of emergency ahead of a Jan. 20 gun rights rally, banning firearms inside a security perimeter around the state Capitol.

Tens of thousands of Second Amendment advocates gathered without incident.

Philip Van Cleave, president of the Virginia Citizens Defense League and organizer of the rally, told USA Today what Northam and Democrat legislators propose threatens Virginians’ Second Amendment rights.

“The governor and leadership in the Democratic Party have declared war on law-abiding gun owners, and they’re tired of it,” Van Cleave said. “It’s basically people saying we’re fed up. We’ve had enough.”

“Look, they’ve woken up a base that’s been sleeping. … Purple areas will turn bright red,” Van Cleave predicted. “They’re going to pay for this at the polls.”

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Randy DeSoto has written more than 3,000 articles for The Western Journal since he joined the company in 2015. He is a graduate of West Point and Regent University School of Law. He is the author of the book "We Hold These Truths" and screenwriter of the political documentary "I Want Your Money."
Randy DeSoto is the senior staff writer for The Western Journal. He wrote and was the assistant producer of the documentary film "I Want Your Money" about the perils of Big Government, comparing the presidencies of Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama. Randy is the author of the book "We Hold These Truths," which addresses how leaders have appealed to beliefs found in the Declaration of Independence at defining moments in our nation's history. He has been published in several political sites and newspapers.

Randy graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point with a BS in political science and Regent University School of Law with a juris doctorate.
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Graduated dean's list from West Point
United States Military Academy at West Point, Regent University School of Law
Books Written
We Hold These Truths
Professional Memberships
Virginia and Pennsylvania state bars
Phoenix, Arizona
Languages Spoken
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Entertainment, Faith