Virginia Gov. Northam unveils gun violence prevention legislation before July 9 special session

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RICHMOND, Va. (WJHL) — Governor Ralph Northam has released his legislative agenda prior to the July 9 special session that was called in relation to gun violence.

According to a release from the office of the governor, Governor Northam is proposing eight bills as part of a package that he says will save lives and improve public safety.

“We continue to lose too many lives to senseless and preventable acts of gun violence, but we have the power to make meaningful change,” said Governor Northam. “Now is the time to act—Virginians deserve votes and laws, not thoughts and prayers. I urge the members of the General Assembly to engage in a thorough, meaningful discussion about these proposed bills and to allow every member to cast their votes on the floor.”

The package includes legislation that would do the following:

  • Require background checks on all firearms sales and transactions.
  • Reinstate Virginia’s one law that allows only one handgun purchase within a 30-day period.
  • Bans certain items classified as dangerous, such assault weapons, high-capacity magazines, bump stocks and silencers/suppressors.
  • Require lost and stolen firearms to be reported to authorities within 24 hours.
  • Create an Extreme Risk Protective Order, which would allow law enforcement and courts to temporarily separate a person from firearms if the person exhibits dangerous behavior that presents an immediate threat to self or others.
  • Prohibit all individuals subject to final protective orders from possessing firearms.
  • Enhance the punishment for allowing access to loaded and unsecured firearms by a child from a Class 3 misdemeanor to a Class 6 felony. This portion also raises the perceived age of a child from 14 to 18.
  • Enable localities to enact any firearms ordinances that are stricter than state law. This includes regulating firearms in municipal buildings, libraries and at permitted events.

“These proposals will undoubtedly save lives by keeping guns out of the hands of individuals who intend to do harm to themselves or others, stemming the illegal flow of firearms into our communities, and ensuring that our citizens do not have easy access to exceptionally lethal weapons like assault firearms,” said Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian J. Moran.

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