Virginia Senate Republicans Obstruct Gun Violence Prevention Measures

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"Virginia Senate Republicans Obstruct Gun Violence Prevention Measures"

State Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-VA)

State Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-VA)

The Virginia Senate’s Courts of Justice Committee defeated several proposals for gun violence prevention, on party-line votes at an unscheduled meeting on Friday. And while one bill initially passed the committee — a proposal to prevent unlicensed vendors who don’t run background checks from selling firearms at gun shows — the committee rescinded its initial 8-6 vote an hour later and delayed reconsideration until Monday after a Republican Senator changed his mind.

On eight-to-six votes, the committee’s Republican majority defeated proposals to require universal background checks, ban guns in Richmond’s Capitol Square, and to allow local governments to establish firearm ordinances for their own property. One Republican crossed the aisle to back a proposal to ban high-capacity magazines, but that measure too failed on a 7-7 tie.

A separate bill, which would allow only federally licensed vendors who perform background checks to sell guns at Virginia gun shows initially passed with two Republicans voting in support. When one of those Republicans became concerned about the language, a hastily called informal meeting of the committee was held at the chairman’s desk at which the bill was reconsidered and postponed until Monday.

Sen. Adam Ebbin (D), author of several of the defeated bills, told ThinkProgress, “It was really sad to see committee Republicans searching for any pretense to defeat bills that would require all gun buyers to go through the same commonsense background check that most buyers already go through. We don’t need to have loopholes the size of Texas. People who want to buy guns in VA and don’t want to go through the background check can easily work their and that’s deadly wrong.”

Ebbin, along with Del. Patrick Hope (D), recently recorded an undercover video at a gunshow and was told since he didn’t look like a felon or a bank-robber, as long as he had a Virginia driver’s license everything would be fine. He was able to purchase guns and high-capacity magazines without any background check.

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