Democratic Senators Vote to Curb Gun Violence in Committee

Republican House measures fail on party line votes

RICHMOND, VA – This afternoon, Democrats in the Courts of Justice committee voted to curb gun violence by stopping two House bills. These would have weakened existing regulations to keep dangerous weapons including machine guns and bazookas out of public circulation and recognize more easily obtained out-of-state concealed carry permits.

HB 878 would remove local law enforcement’s discretion to approve class 3 firearms purchases, even if they have reason to believe the purchaser might commit a crime. Critics of the measure cited that this would weaken existing regulations to limit the sale and distribution of class 3 firearms. The bill was passed by indefinitely on a party-line vote.

The definition of "firearm" in this bill includes machine guns, rifles and shotguns of a certain length, weapons made from certain rifles or shotguns, silencers, and destructive devices. In federal code, “destructive devices” include: any explosive, incendiary, or poison gases; bombs; grenades; rockets having a propellant charge of more than 4 ounces; missiles having an explosive charge of more than 1/4 ounce; and mines.

HB 705 would eliminate certain requirements for an out-of-state concealed handgun permit to be recognized in Virginia. Critics of the bill noted that not every state maintains the same stringent standards for concealed carry permits as Virginia. By granting an on-face acceptance of an out-of-state concealed carry permit, the state police would be unable to verify the validity of the permits in all situations. The measure failed 6-9.

Pro-gun advocates keep saying: enforce the laws on the books. Today, we acted to keep some of the protections we already have in Virginia from being chipped away. After all, if we have a high standard for the legal sale of bombs, grenades, or rockets, why make it easier to buy them?” said Senator McEachin of the Committee's votes today. “Once again, Democrats chose commonsense, pragmatic governing as opposed to adherence to a rigid ideology.”

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