Virginia legislators approved seven new gun control laws, despite a massive protest in the capital of Richmond earlier in the month.
The new bills aimed at curbing gun violence include universal background checks, a monthly limit on how many handguns an individual can purchase, and a controversial "red flag" law. The state Senate passed similar bills two weeks ago, and Governor Ralph Northam has expressed his support for the measures.
"While [Thursday's] actions will not lessen the grief of those who have lost loved ones to gun violence, the legislation passed in the House of Delegates will prevent more senseless deaths and make our Commonwealth safer," said House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn.
The bills faced vocal opposition from Republican lawmakers, but they were unable to block the package of gun control laws from getting approved.
In response to the proposed laws, many counties and cities in the state declared themselves "second amendment sanctuaries" and vowed not to enforce the gun control measures. On January 20, roughly 16,000 armed protesters showed up in Richmond to oppose the package of gun control laws. While Northam declared a state of emergency and banned people from carrying weapons on the grounds of the Capitol Building, many of the protesters showed up with their guns and peacefully marched through the streets of Richmond.
The protest movement did see one of the bills get dropped. The Democrats were forced to abandon an assault rifle ban after some moderate Democrats said they could not support the bill.
The two chambers will now work out any differences between their respective bills and hope to send them to Northam's desk in the coming weeks.
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