Ban on assault weapons, high-capacity magazines passes Virginia House

Wednesday, February 12, 2020 | Tag Cloud Tags: , , , , , , ,

By Tyler Arnold | The Center Square

(Worthy News) – Legislation that would ban the sale of assault weapons and the sale and possession of high-capacity magazines passed the Virginia House of Delegates in a narrow vote Tuesday.

If it becomes law, House Bill 961 would prohibit the sale or transfer of assault weapons, but allow current owners to keep their weapons. The bill would grandfather in any gun owner who purchased the weapon before Jan. 1, 2021.

The bill does not contain a grandfather provision for high-capacity magazines, which are defined as any magazine designed to hold more than 12 rounds of ammunition. A person caught possessing such a magazine after Jan. 1, 2021, would be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor, which could get someone up to a year in prison.

The legislation received fierce opposition from Republicans, with every voting against this bill. Although some moderate Democrats voted with the Republican minority, the bill passed on a 51-48 vote.

Del. Nick Rush, R-Christiansburg, said on the House floor that 40 percent of Virginians own firearms and that most magazines hold more than 12 rounds. He said this bill would turn law-abiding citizens into criminals overnight.

“I don’t have any magazines that are under 12 rounds,” Rush said.

Del. Daniel Helmer, D-Dale City, said the legislation would help keep Virginians safe from gun violence.

Similar legislation was introduced in the and sent to the Judiciary Committee. It was brought onto the docket, but then struck at the request of the patron. The Senate has a 21-19 Democratic majority, but some Democratic senators have expressed reservations about a ban.

Democrats in both chambers already have passed their own versions of some aspects of Gov. Ralph Northam’s agenda, including red-flag laws and expanded background checks.

Reprinted with permission from The Center Square.
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