Gun Control Advocates, Opponents Square Off in Richmond


Advocates and opponents of gun control held dueling demonstrations at the Virginia Capitol on Monday as the perennial debate over the hot-button topic began anew.

Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe is pushing a package of gun control measures ahead of this fall's state legislative elections even though they stand little chance of passage in the Republican-controlled General Assembly.

Pro-gun forces held a rally Monday morning. Many attendees wore orange ``Guns Save Lives'' stickers and a speaker assailed McAuliffe and other gun-control advocates as ``gun grabbers.''

In the afternoon, gun-control backers wore yellow ``Background Checks Save Lives'' stickers and displayed a string of red paper hearts representing the more than 800 gun deaths in Virginia last year.

Among the speakers was Democratic Attorney General Mark Herring.

McAuliffe has proposed restoring a Virginia law, repealed in 2012, limiting handgun purchases to one a month; closing the so-called ``gun show loophole'' that allows sales by private sellers without a criminal background check; prohibiting possession of firearms by people convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence and those subject to protective orders; and revoking concealed handgun permits of parents delinquent on child support payments.

Meanwhile, Republican lawmakers have introduced a variety of gun-rights measures, including bills that would allow concealed-handgun permit holders to carry their guns on school property outside normal school hours; prohibit colleges and universities from restricting the carrying of concealed handguns on campus; allow handguns in unsecured areas of airport terminals; and allow lifetime concealed handgun permits. Under current law, permits must be renewed every five years.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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