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By David E. Hubler
Contributor, EDM Digest
In the coming weeks, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam (D) will convene a special legislative session to pass new gun measures. Northam is proposing the special session in the wake of last Friday’s mass killing of 12 office workers and the gunman in Virginia Beach.
“It’s time for decisive action,” Northam announced on Wednesday, according to United Press International. “Let Virginia show the nation that we can respond to tragedy with decisive action.”
Northam said that the killings call for “votes and laws, not thoughts and prayers,” the Associated Press reported.
Virginia Tech: Site of One of the Deadliest School Shootings in the Nation
Virginia was also the scene of one of the nation’s deadliest school shootings. In April of 2007, Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 students on the campus of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg before killing himself. Seventeen others suffered gunshot wounds. It was the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history until the 2016 nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida, that left 49 people dead.
Northam Proposals to Include Better Restrictions on Firearms to Improve Public Safety
Northam’s proposals include universal background checks, a ban on silencers and bump stocks, a court mechanism to remove guns from extremely high-risk individuals, and a requirement that gun owners report all lost or stolen weapons, AP said.
Previous efforts to curtail the proliferation of guns have failed to pass the Republican-controlled General Assembly. Last year, Northam tried unsuccessfully to pass legislation that would have required universal background checks on all gun sales.
In recent years, however, Virginia voters have been electing Democrats in increasing numbers. The state’s top three officials and its two U.S. Senators are all Democrats, which has reduced what once was a Republican-dominated government.
Northam’s Request for Legislative Session Called ‘Hasty and Suspect’
It didn’t take long for gun-rights advocates to criticize Northam’s plan. House of Delegates Speaker Kirk Cox (R) termed the special session “hasty and suspect,” UPI said.
And a prominent local gun-rights advocate called Northam’s plan “political theater.” Philip Van Cleave, president of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, told AP that he couldn’t “think of a single gun control thing that would have prevented what happened at Virginia Beach.”