The Virginia Senate voted to block one of Democrat Gov. Ralph Northam’s top gun control bills on Monday, and other legislation faces an uncertain future.
“The Senate Judiciary Committee voted against a bill that would make it a felony to ‘recklessly leave a loaded, unsecured firearm’ in a way that endangers a minor,” The Associated Press reported.
“This bill will keep children safe from loaded, unsecured firearms. Like Gov. Northam’s other commonsense gun safety measures, it is something that everyone — including responsible gun owners — should support,” Northam spokeswoman Alena Yarmosky said.
Two Democrats — Sens. Creigh Deeds and Chap Petersen — joined with Republicans to vote the measure down, citing concerns the bill could unfairly punish law-abiding gun owners.
A similar measure already passed the House of Delegates.
The bill is one of eight that Northam is seeking to push through the newly Democrat-controlled legislature.
“Lawmakers have already signaled that at least one other Northam-backed gun-control bill — a ban on so-called assault weapons like the popular AR-15-syle rifles — may not pass,” the AP reported.
Some of the governor’s other proposals have passed both chambers of the legislature.
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.
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 the Jan. 20 rally, banning firearms inside a security perimeter around the state Capitol.
Tens of thousands of gun rights advocates gathered without incident.
Crowds in Richmond, Virginia are already massive and In the thousands
— ELIJAH (@ElijahSchaffer) January 20, 2020
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.
“The governor has touched the third rail. He has motivated people to drive across the state and from other states to come protect our rights.”
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