Virginia Senator Mark Warner—a Democrat with an A-rating from the NRA—may have changed his views on gun control in the wake of mass shooting in Newtown, but does that signal wide change in typically pro-gun Virginia?
Well, Gov. Bob McDonnell said its still “way too early” to know whether new gun laws are needed, meaning he’s not yet committing to any changes in gun laws.
“So for me, it’s way too early to start reacting or overreacting with what the right policies might be. I think there’ll be a time to reflect maybe over the next 30 days,” he said, referring to the General Assembly session that begins Jan. 9.
But State Sen. Janet D. Howell (D-Fairfax) says the time is now, and has already decided to propose legislation that would close the “gun show loophole”—a loophole that allows people to buy guns at gun events without background checks.
That’s not sweeping change, but it could be, if nothing else, symbolically significant in Virginia—a state that has moved to loosen gun laws in recent years.
Last year, for instance, the state legislature overturned a 19-year old law that limited gun purchases to one per month.
Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe called for an assault weapon ban Monday and the reimplementation of Virginia’s one-gun-a-month rule.
On the other side of the Potomac, top lawmakers in Annapolis are taking a firmer stance and say legislation to ban assault weapons will be introduced this legislative session, according to the Baltimore Sun.
"This is an absolute tipping point," said Sen. Jamie Raskin, a Montgomery County Democrat who plans to introduce a broad state-level assault weapons ban. "If we don't act now, it is hard to see when we ever would act on this."
Gov. O’Malley—who has a record dating back to his days as Baltimore mayor as being tough on crime—seems on board, saying people can expect legislators to strengthen gun laws to make children safer.
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