FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 17, 2020
202-408-00610 Ext 1017
Virginia Senate Punts on Assault Weapons Ban
Richmond, VA (February 17, 2020) — Today, the Virginia Senate Judiciary Committee voted to continue to next year HB 961 — legislation prohibiting the sale of assault weapons, high capacity magazines, and bump stocks. Four Democrats — Senators Deeds, Edwards, Peterson, and Surovell — joined all the Republicans to continue the bill. Senators Deeds and Edwards had pledged to support the bill in their re-election campaigns last fall.
Coalition to Stop Gun Violence Virginia State Director Lori Haas issued the following statement:
“Virginia voted for change in November. That change included addressing weapons that have become the guns and accessories of choice for mass shooters around the nation — in schools, theaters, churches, concerts, and municipal buildings. Last week, we saw a Virginia House of Delegates, led by Speaker Filler-Corn, show the courage to address these weapons of war head-on. This morning, however, in the Virginia Senate Committee on Judiciary, that type of courage was nowhere to be found.
“Virginia senators — some of whom came to us seeking an endorsement last summer — deferred when they could have acted. They displayed the timidity and small mindedness that has dominated the General Assembly in previous sessions under Republican control. They called themselves gun violence prevention champions and then cut and run when their jobs got hard. But their jobs will never be as hard as a mother who can no longer see her child because we allow assault weapons to be sold without regulation in Virginia.
“With the last election, many had thought that the antiquated political thinking around guns was over — but today a few Democratic senators showed that they are still stuck in the past.
“Thank you to Speaker Filler-Corn, Delegate Levine, Chairman Hope, and all the members of the House of Delegates for putting safety of our commonwealth first and having the conviction to pass this important legislation. The voters understand these weapons of war have no place on the streets of Virginia — and that they must be regulated.
“This bill will be issue number one in the 2021 session. We are hopeful that the Democratic majority in the Senate will have located its backbone by then.”