Wide-ranging gun control measures won approval from a Virginia Senate committee Monday while hundreds of gun rights activists showed up to try to fight against them.
Culpeper County’s sheriff was among the first to speak against the proposals at the Senate Judiciary Committee meeting Monday, urging Democratic lawmakers to back off.
“We’re not asking for gun control, and you didn’t get a mandate when you got elected in November on the Second Amendment,” Sheriff Scott Jenkins said.
On party line votes, committee Democrats approved a one handgun per month purchase limit, universal background checks for gun sales, a red flag law to seize guns from those who pose a danger and allowing local governments to ban guns at certain events.
News4's Northern Virginia Bureau Chief Julie Carey has been covering this side of the state since joining NBC4 in 1992. She's joined by reporter Drew Wilder.
A measure to ban the sale and possession of assault weapons was taken off the table Monday.
“In the city of Alexandria, they don’t want AR-15s at their farmers market,” said Sen. Scott Surovell, D-Prince William County.
“Virginia spoke loud and clear that this is what we want at the election, and 90% of us support background checks, for example, so although there are hundreds here, Virginians spoke their minds during the election, and there’s nothing to worry about if you are not a criminal,” Moms Demand Action volunteer Karen Vaught said.
But gun owners complain the bills would hurt law-abiding citizens more than criminals. Some of the most heated debate was over red flag laws.
"I cannot stress enough, the law you just discussed, the red flag, without due process you are signing the death warrant of citizens and possibly officers with the way you implement bills without the proper care," Jenkins said.
The measures approved Monday move on to the full Senate. Similar bills will be proposed and voted on in the House as well.
Gun rights activists hope they can sway Democrats in rural Virginia to vote against the measures.