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Gun violence prevention measures pass Senate, headed to Northam’s desk

virginia state capitol
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The State Senate voted Thursday to pass two bills that would ban firearms at polling places and prohibit people convicted of domestic violence from firearms possession.

House Bill 2081, introduced by Del. Mark Levine, D-Alexandria, bans guns at polling places, vote counting centers and recount centers.

The Senate passed HB 2081 by a vote of 21-18. It passed the House on Jan. 25 by a 53-47 vote.

The bill now heads to Gov. Ralph Northam for his signature.

House Bill 1992, introduced by Del. Kathleen Murphy, D-McLean, prohibits a person who has been convicted of assault and battery of a family or household member from purchasing, possessing or transporting a firearm.

The Senate passed HB 1992 by a 20-19 vote. The House voted 54=46 back on Feb. 1 to pass the measure, so it will also head to Gov. Northam for his signature.

Coalition to Stop Gun Violence Virginia State Director Lori Haas issued a statement on the votes in the State Senate today.

“These bills bring us one step closer in ensuring Virginians’ freedom from gun violence,” Haas said. “HB 2081 would prohibit any person possessing a firearm within 40 feet of a polling place or an election board while the results of an election are being ascertained or recounted. If passed into law, this measure would protect an essential function of our democracy.

“The passage of HB 1992 would prohibit a person convicted of certain DV misdemeanors from purchasing, possessing, or transporting a firearm. A woman is five times more likely to be murdered when her abuser has access to a gun. We are pleased that the Senate of Virginia finally stepped up to pass this life saving legislation,” Haas said.

“CSGV applauds Del. Mark Levine and Attorney General Mark Herring for their leadership in ensuring the safety of our fundamental right to vote free from firearms.  We thank Del. Kathleen Murphy for her tireless efforts to keep domestic violence victims and survivors safe from armed abusers.

“Signing these bills into law will help ensure the ability of voters to exercise their constitutional rights free of intimidation or fear and save lives by prohibiting violent abusers from possessing guns,” Haas said.

Levine also offered comment today.

“Our polling places and vote counting centers are the heart of our democracy,” Levine said. “Virginia’s voters, election workers, and public servants must be protected from intimidation and threats of violence. Those with guns don’t make the rules. Voters do. This commonsense bill will have us join a host of other states, including Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, South Carolina and Texas, in explicitly prohibiting guns in polling places.”

Story by Chris Graham

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