HB 961 passed advanced out of a state House committee on Friday, but not before the packed chamber erupted in protest, forcing state police to order the rowdy crowd to clear the assembly under threat of arrest for trespassing.
"House Democrats seem to have learned nothing from the public outcry caused by their proposals. A similar Senate version of House Bill 961 is exactly what prompted the 'Second Amendment sanctuary cities' movement across Virginia," House Republican Leader Todd Gilbert said in a statement.
Bill reports out party line. Shouts of “We will not comply!” pic.twitter.com/4jsa30ztYq— Amy Friedenberger (@AJFriedenberger) February 7, 2020
According to the bill, “any person who legally owns an assault firearm on July 1, 2020, may retain possession of such assault firearm after January 1, 2021, if such person has obtained a permit from the Department of State Police to possess an assault firearm in accordance with procedures established in the bill.”
Read the full text of “HB 961 Assault firearms, certain firearm magazines, etc.; prohibiting sale, transport, etc., penalties” here.
They’re only letting media stay in the room now to take up the last bill about guns on school property. Northam administration people had to leave too. pic.twitter.com/uSHVM4K9w5— Amy Friedenberger (@AJFriedenberger) February 7, 2020
"This egregious gun ban is designed to make millions of law-abiding Virginians felons overnight. Lawmakers have delayed bringing up this gun ban because voters from across the Commonwealth oppose it. With their billionaire benefactor coming to Richmond next week to headline a Democratic Party fundraiser, however, it is clear that House leaders would rather bow to out-of-state interests than listen to their constituents and fellow lawmakers," NRA Spokesperson Catherine Mortensen said in a statement.
Here we go. Closing out the week at the Capitol with an assault weapons ban proposal. Lots more gun rights activists standing in the hallway because the Public Safety Committee room is full. pic.twitter.com/ev5OfXN8HU— Amy Friedenberger (@AJFriedenberger) February 7, 2020
Watch a discussion below on HB 961 after the House committee vote by Philip Van Cleave, President of the Virginia Citizens Defense League.
There's some debate as to whether the Virginia State Police formed a line in front of lawmakers during the crowd eruption, ostensibly to protect them from their own constituents. This account of events was documented by an Instragram post from VCHL's official account. See below for some pictures of the incident in question along with a screenshot of the post.
4 VSP Officers formed a line between the committee and attendees in order to control the movement of and disperse all attendees except "media" to the door where a 5th officer is controlling egress. It is not a "lie" to simplify that to "riot line." @VCDL_ORG https://t.co/3NTjPl46WK pic.twitter.com/oWDPaTTA6G— Sesrun (@Sesrun) February 7, 2020
"House Democrats seem to have learned nothing from the public outcry caused by their proposals. A similar Senate version of House Bill 961 is exactly what prompted the 'Second Amendment sanctuary cities' movement across Virginia." - @cToddGilbert pic.twitter.com/eDmTdhwGY1— VA House GOP (@vahousegop) February 7, 2020