Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe made gun control a top priority for his administration late last year, introducing a number of what he called “common-sense” bills. Yet on Monday, most of those gun control bills died in a Republican-controlled State Senate committee.
Instead, the committee chose to pass several pro-gun bills, including legislation that would allow Virginia residents to purchase lifetime concealed-carry permits and another that would allow gun owners to possess firearms on certain school campuses.
“I am disappointed to see these common-sense measures to keep Virginians safe fall to special interest politics,” McAuliffe said in a statement to The Washington Post. “Too many families in Virginia and across the nation have lost loved ones to gun crimes that these proposals could help prevent.”
Of the gun control package, 10 bills were rejected outright with little deliberation from the committee. These included legislation that would:
- Limit residents to purchasing only one firearm per month.
- Revoke handgun permits for gun owners who are behind on child support payments.
- Prohibit children younger than four from holding a firearm, airgun, or airsoft gun.
Only two gun control bills passed out of the committee, including one that would prohibit the possession of firearms on school buses and most school campuses, as well as another that would allow the state police to perform voluntary background checks.
“It was a very good day for gun owners,” Philip Van Cleave, the president of Virginia Citizens Defense League, told the Richmond Times-Dispatch. “A lot of useless gun control legislation was (defeated) and gun owner’s rights were moved forward.”
The Senate committee also passed several bills that would make it easier for gun owners to renew their concealed-carry permits and expand the list of places where they can carry firearms. However, political experts said that it is likely that these bills will be vetoed if they come before Governor McAuliffe’s desk.