Virginia Lawmakers Move Forward With Bill To Ban Assault Weapons

A controversial new bill that would ban the sale of assault weapons in Virginia passed the House of Delegates Committee on Public Safety with a vote of 12-9 and will now head to the floor of the House for a full vote.

The bill will not require those who own assault weapons to turn them in or register them with the state police.

"This is a compromise that takes into account folk's concerns and is still a good bill that will help reduce mass murders in the commonwealth," said Del. Mark Levine, a Democrat sponsoring the legislation.

Republicans have slammed the proposed bill and vowed to fight it.

"Any legislation that requires Virginians to surrender or destroy their lawfully possessed firearms or standard-issue magazines is tantamount to confiscation and a gross violation of our constitutional rights. Governor Northam and House Democrats are still going after law-abiding citizens with these policies, and Virginians who merely own the most common types of firearms and accessories would be made to be felons and subject to prison," said House Republican Leader Rep. Todd Gilbert.

A similar bill failed to pass the state Senate after a few moderate Democrats indicated they could not support it. Legislators from both the House and Senate have until next Tuesday (February 11) to pass the latest version of the assault weapons ban.

If the bill does pass both chambers, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam said he will sign it into law.

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