2020 General Assembly: Sen. Norment predicts passage of universal background checks for guns

Virginia Politics

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — State Sen. Tommy Norment (R-James City County) had news about gun legislation in this year’s General Assembly session during a forum in Virginia Beach Friday.

Norment said mandatory background checks will likely pass in this year’s General Assembly.

He made the statement at the annual Kaufman & Canoles Business Leaders Forum at the Princess Anne Country Club in Virginia Beach. During the luncheon, Norment and Virginia Beach Del. Barry Knight (R-81st District) talked about some legislation Virginia can expect to see.

Norment’s official position as co-chair of the Senate Finance Committee makes him the man at the tip of the spear for all things budget-related. His position as Senate majority leader has changed as Democrats take control of the Senate.

Norment said it’s clear recent gatherings at local government meetings supporting gun rights are making a statement. There’s no legal impact, but the protests are expressions of pro-gun values.

“Universal background checks, I predict, is coming out no matter what the governor has said. It is going to happen because there is majority of Republicans and Democrats who will pass it,” he said.

Norment then went on to make more news.

He said a “red flag law” that would take guns from those who are known dangers to themselves or others could also pass.

“But let me be clear about that,” he told the gathering of about 100 people. “If there is an appropriately, narrowly-drawn red flag law it will pass, but it must be drawn so tightly that due process is preserved.”

At the “Sanctuary City” gatherings all across Hampton Roads, many people have voiced concerns that guns will be confiscated.

Norment said there was “no way” that would happen.

“There ain’t no way in hell that any legislation will pass confiscating guns and locking people up under the pretext of amending the federal Constitution of the Second Amendment,” he said, garnering some applause.

On other issues, Virginia Beach Del. Barry Knight (R-81st District) — who supports casinos in Virginia — says don’t expect much to come out of the General Assembly except for a very important first step.

“We are also going to have a referendum this year … that each locality will have a public referendum,” he said.

It’s possible those referendums could take place in November.

On the subject of gaming, the Republican senator and delegate also had some remarks.

In November, 10 On Your Side reported on gray slot machines. They are called “gray” because they are in the gray area of the law.

Norment says he wants to shut them down. Knight says Virginia should shut them down or significantly regulate them so they don’t compete with possible casinos on the horizon.

Due to last year’s November elections, Hampton Roads power has shifted to Northern Virginia.

“Republican, Democrats, or Independents must congeal and come together, and if we do not, we will have our heads handed to us legislatively,” Norment said.

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