Thursday was a bad night for gun control advocates in Richmond.
The House Committee on Militia, Police and Public Safety effectively rejected a number of gun-control measures, including legislation that called for an assault weapon ban, universal background checks for prospective gun buyers, and a ban on selling magazines with more than 20 rounds of ammunition.
But the GOP-dominated committee also decided not to act immediately on Rep. Bob Marshall’s controversial measure to arm some school staff members, deferring it instead to Gov. Bob McDonnell’s school safety taskforce because of its complexity. Marshall’s bill would require school board members to designate at least one person in every school to be authorized to carry a concealed handgun on school grounds. This person could be any staff member—teacher, librarian, etc and would undergo training.
NBC4’s Julie Carey was in Richmond Thursday night and reported that two teachers came to testify in favor of the bill and Marshall was brought to tears as he made a final plea in favor of acting on this legislation now, saying, "everyday we wait we expose children to the circumstance of being slaughtered"
There is still a chance the legislation can be reintroduced once the taskforce examines the idea.
The results Thursday night seem to run contrary to recent public polling in the state on gun control. A recent Quinnipiac University poll found that 66-percent of Virginian voters said teachers should not be allowed to carry concealed weapons in school. Voters were also widely in favor (58-39 percent) of a national ban on assault weapons. And ninety-two percent of voters said they support requiring background checks on people who buy guns at gun shows.
A Senate commitee takes up that chambers gun bills Friday morning.
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