After a Mass Shooting, Virginia Is Rethinking Its Gun Laws—and Rewiring the 2020 Race

After a Mass Shooting, Virginia Is Rethinking Its Gun Laws—and Rewiring the 2020 Race

Gun Rights

In the wake of last week’s shooting at a municipal building in Virginia Beach — which left 12 dead, making it the state’s deadliest shooting in as many years — Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam called for a special session of the state’s general assembly to pass stricter gun laws. How the state’s GOP-held legislature behaves in that session, expected to take place this month, could be a bellwether for not only the midterm elections this November, but also the high-stakes elections in 2020. “There’s going to be substantial national coverage looking at Virginia and talking about what it means for the federal election. You’re going to see presidential candidates reflecting on it,” says Kris Brown, the president of the Brady Campaign, a national gun-violence prevention organization. “Whether or not the general assembly passes anything, there’s a huge amount at stake for gun violence prevention in [Virginia’s] upcoming election.” Northam’s agenda for the special session includes laws to limit handgun purchases to one a month, an obligation to report lost or stolen firearms, and a ban on assault weapons and related devices like silencers and high-capacity magazines that the shooter in Virginia Beach used last Friday. He’s most likely to win over GOP supporters in his ask for universal background checks, which more than 90 percent of Virginia voters supported in a 2017 Quinnipiac poll . But exactly what the political landscape looks like when this session convenes is yet to be seen. Virginia hosts its midterm primaries next week […]

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