Gov. Northam holds ceremonial signing for new gun laws

Virginia Politics

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Governor Ralph Northam ceremoniously signed several bills Thursday that tighten Virginia’s gun laws.

The new gun laws that went into effect July 1 include measures that require background checks on all firearm sales and that establish a red flag law in Virginia, which allows authorities to temporarily take firearms from those who are deemed dangerous.

The governor signed the bills a year after the 2019 special session, which was adjourned by Virginia Republicans, who wanted to address gun-control proposals after the November elections, after roughly 90 minutes.

“Today would not have been possible without many Virginians saying, ‘enough is enough,’” Northam said Thursday. “I want to thank all who advocated for commonsense gun safety laws, as well as all of the legislators who listened to them. These laws will save lives.”

Lawmakers also passed legislation reinstating the state’s one-handgun-a-month policy.

Here’s a list of bills signed by the governor in April:

  • Senate Bill 70 and House Bill 2 require background checks on all firearm sales in Virginia, which will prevent guns from ending up in dangerous hands.
  • Senate Bill 240 and House Bill 674 establish an Extreme Risk Protective Order, which creates a legal mechanism for law enforcement to temporarily separate a person from their firearms when they represent a danger to themselves or others. Virginia is now among 19 other states and the District of Columbia in enacting this type of law.
  • Senate Bill 69 and House Bill 812 reinstate Virginia’s one-handgun-a-month rule to help curtail stockpiling of firearms and trafficking.
  • House Bill 9 requires gun owners to report their lost or stolen firearms to law enforcement within 48 hours or face a civil penalty.
  • House Bill 1083 prevents children from accessing firearms by increasing the penalty for recklessly leaving firearms in their presence.

Two other bills, one that allows localities to regulate firearms in their public spaces and another that prevents anyone under protective orders from possessing a gun, were passed after amendments were proposed by the governor.

One gun safety measure backed by Northam that did not pass was one that would have banned assault-style weapons. Those against the new laws say they violate their Second Amendment rights.


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