Virginia Senate Republicans go extreme on guns measures

Democrat vs. Republican on whiteThis morning, the GOP-controlled Senate Courts of Justice Committee voted in party-line or near party-line votes to defeat bills to close the gun show loophole, institute universal background checks, and keep guns out of the hands of very small children (among many other commonsense gun safety measures). Conversely, the committee voted to advance bills that would allow guns on school property and end the requirement that concealed carriers renew their permits every five years.

Said Sen. Mamie Locke (D – Hampton), “Today, Republicans opposed efforts to keep guns out of the hands of criminals, the mentally ill, and very small children. Some of them even voted against a bill to bar convicted stalkers and sexual batterers from owning guns. Virginians deserve leaders who will champion their safety — not kowtow to extreme special interests.”

Said Sen. Donald McEachin (D – Henrico), “Instead of embracing background checks and other measures that would save lives, Republicans voted for laws that make us less safe — laws that would allow guns on school property and remove regulations on concealed carry permits. Republicans today didn’t just ignore the problem of gun violence — they moved us in the wrong direction.”

Said Sen. Adam Ebbin (D – Alexandria), “Instead of working to enact commonsense reforms that protect women, children, and law enforcement officials — and all Virginians — Republicans chose to support extreme legislation that would allow guns on school property. Virginians expect their leaders to act in the public interest, but that is not what happened today.”

Among the bills defeated today were:

  • SB 768Sen. McEachin’s bill to institute universal background checks for all gun purchases, whether or not they are made from a licensed dealer.
  • SB 798Sen. Locke’s bill to reinstate Virginia’s one-handgun-a-month law, repealed in 2012.
  • SB 909Sen. Janet Howell’s (D – Reston) bill to prevent those subject to protective orders from possessing firearms.
  • SB 943 — Sen. Barbara Favola’s (D – Arlington) bill to keep guns out of the hands of convicted stalkers and sexual batterers.
  • SB 993Sen. Louise Lucas’ (D – Portsmouth) and Sen. Dave Marsden’s (D – Fairfax) bill to close the gun show loophole by requiring all vendors at such shows to perform background checks on buyers.
  • SB 1108Sen. Toddy Puller’s (D – Fairfax) bill to revoke the concealed carry permits of those who fall ninety days or $5,000 behind on their child support payments.
  • SB 1179Sen. Ebbin’s bill to keep guns out of the hands of children aged four or younger by making it a misdemeanor to allow them to use firearms.
  • SB 1429Sen. George Barker’s (D – Fairfax) bill to enable courts to temporarily remove firearms when there exists probable cause to believe that their owners pose “a substantial risk of injury to [themselves] or others.”

The Virginia State Police testified in support of several of these bills, and many are broadly popular with Virginia voters. For instance, 92% of Virginians supported universal background checks in one Quinnipiac poll, including 91% of those from gun-owning households.Republicans also voted to report several harmful bills:

  • SB 689Sen. Dick Black’s (R – Loudoun) bill to end the need for concealed carriers to renew their permits every five years.
  • SB 1132Sen. Tom Garrett’s (R – Buckingham) bill to allow concealed carry permit holders to bring guns onto school property outside of school hours.
  • SB 1137Sen. Garrett’s bill to exempt concealed carry permit holders from local rules limiting possession of loaded rifles and shotguns in vehicles on public roads.

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