After stripping prohibition on stun weapons, Va. House passes Capitol area gun ban

After stripping prohibition on stun weapons, Va. House passes Capitol area gun ban

Men wearing Hawaiian prints adopted by the far-right Boogaloo movement stand outside Capitol Square with rifles during a pro-gun rally in Richmond on Monday, Jan. 18, 2021. (Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury) Legislation to ban firearms in and around the Virginia Capitol cleared the House of Delegates Monday on a 51-45 vote, just weeks after heavily armed demonstrators rallied near the building for the second time in two years. Supporters called the proposal a common-sense way to secure the seat of state government and ensure Virginians can exercise their rights to democratic participation without having to worry about the presence of guns. “I call this the safe Capitol bill,” said Del. Mark Levine, D-Alexandria, the legislation’s sponsor. The bill passed along party lines after Republicans criticized an earlier version that would have banned non-lethal stun weapons as well as firearms. Democrats removed the prohibition on stun weapons after Republicans warned it could create safety risks for people visiting and working at the Capitol, particularly women. The bill also covers state buildings beyond the Capitol complex, a more permanent continuation of gun bans Gov. Ralph Northam and former Gov. Terry McAuliffe enacted through executive orders. Similar legislation is pending in the state Senate and could come up for a final vote Tuesday. If the proposal becomes law, it’s unclear what it might mean for the gatherings of gun-rights advocates held in Richmond annually in mid-January. Gov. Ralph Northam ordered a gun ban on the grounds of the Capitol ahead of the massive […]

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