Senate passes gun safety package: Bills headed to Northam
A series of votes in the State Senate Thursday advanced five gun safety bills to the desk of Gov. Ralph Northam.
The bills include HB 674, which creates a process enabling law enforcement officers to seek a court order based on the protective-order process removing guns temporarily from people deemed to be in a mental-health crisis situation, another (HB 421) empowering localities to enact local-specific laws to limit gun violence, a third (HB 9) requiring gun owners to report lost or stolen guns, and measures aimed at disarming domestic abusers (HB 1004) and preventing access for children to firearms (HB 1083).
The votes for each of these five measures approved bills that had already won approval in the House of Delegates, meaning they will all go to Gov. Ralph Northam to be signed into law.
Two other bills – closing the loophole that allows unlicensed sellers to sell guns without background checks (HB 2), and imposing a one-gun-a-month purchase limit (HB 812) – were passed in each chamber with different language, and will need to go to a conference committee.
Each of the measures has strong public support in polls of Virginia voters, though they have been under attack from gun groups, who have used the push from safety advocates for political purposes at the local level in counties across the Commonwealth, including Augusta County, which at the behest of local gun groups declared the county a “Second Amendment sanctuary.”
Story by Chris Graham