SENATE REPUBLICANS CHANGE VOTES FROM 'YES' TO 'NO' ON BILL TO KEEP GUNS AWAY FROM STALKERS AND SEXUAL BATTERERS
RICHMOND, VA -- In a shocking move earlier today, multiple Senate Republicans seemingly changed their votes on Senator Barbara Favola’s (D-Arlington) SB 943, a bill to keep guns out of the hands of convicted stalkers and sexual batterers. Committee Chair Tommy Norment ruled the bill reported in front of an audience of reporters, committee members, and dozens of others. The ruling was promptly reported by numerous media outlets. Nevertheless, later this afternoon, the Legislative Information Service posted a different result showing the bill as being defeated. Under the Rules of the Senate, votes changed after the fact are not allowed to change outcomes. Given that the bill was reported in committee, it must now be referred to Senate Finance despite the change.
Video of this morning’s vote clearly shows Sen. Tommy Norment (R-James City) voting “aye” and announcing that the bill has reported; no one contradicts him. The votes of Sen. Jill Vogel (R - Fauquier) and Sen. Ryan McDougle (R-Hanover) cannot be determined for certain, but both appear to be in support. Mathematically, one or both must have changed their votes, as well. LIS now indicates that all three voted “no,” and incorrectly lists the bill as having been defeated.
Lori Haas, Director of Virginians for Responsible Gun Laws, said, “This is simply the worst of politics--as usual. Everyone in the hearing room understood SB943 to have passed. These kind of backroom shenanigans are what destroy Virginians' faith in their government.”
“SB 943 represents a common sense measure to protect vulnerable populations and restrict firearm access for violent offenders,” said SB 943 Chief Patron Senator Favola. “This decision to kill the bill champions the rights of violent criminals at the expense of victims.”
We expect to see SB 943 on the Senate Finance Committee docket in the coming days.