RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) — Several measures that would have increased gun rights in Virginia were blocked in committee by Democrats Tuesday.
One Republican-introduced bill, House Bill 162 was supported by Jason Nixon — whose wife, Kate, was killed in a mass shooting May 31 in Virginia Beach — but now he took their stories to a General Assembly subcommittee on firearms.
One of Nixon’s messages was both sides — Democrats and Republicans — need to work together to pass fair and meaningful legislation. That includes HB 162, which would have made it easier to file a lawsuit against the state or locality if a person was killed or injured while in a government-designated firearm-free zone.
“It was actually called the ‘Kate Nixon Act’ and I am really upset about how it ended,” Nixon told 10 On Your Side while sitting next to the bill sponsor Del. John McGuire, (R-Louisa County), in his Richmond office.
“It made no sense the way they voted. They basically voted [along] party line[s],” Nixon said.
The Democrat-led majority struck down the bill in subcommittee with a vote of 6-2.
House Bill 162 reads:
“If Commonwealth … locality … designates any property … firearm-free zone… (they) waive sovereign immunity as it relates to any injuries sustained by persons lawfully present in such firearm-free-zone.”
“They knew they had a violent employee coming to work the next day, so Jason told her to take her gun and [Kate] said, ‘I can’t because I’m not allowed to.’ Had she been able to do that, she might still be here and some others might still be here,” McGuire told 10 On Your Side.
Ironically, the man Kate feared had been fired the day before the shooting, not the employee who ended up killing 12 during the mass shooting at Building 2 in Virginia Beach May 31. However, Jason thinks had she taken the gun to work, she would have been ready.
“She had enough time to call me on a phone, she could have easily got up and shot the person,” he said.
One of the Democrats voting down the Kate Nixon Act was newly-elected Del. Clinton Jenkins, (D-Suffolk), who says there are no guarantees in life, and you can’t predict what’s going to happen, like when you’re driving a car.
“We are all at-risk wherever we go. Driving down the street, whether we obey the laws, no speeding or slow down. There is no guarantee. The only thing we can do is put vehicles in place to do the best we can,” Jenkins said.
McGuire has a second name for his bill.
“It should be called the ‘Put the money where your mouth is bill.’ If the government says it’s a gun-free zone, it is their responsibility to keep you safe,” he said.
Jenkins said the subcommittee voted down gun bills because “we have bills on the books now that would accomplish what they were trying to accomplish in that meeting.”
That subcommittee meeting also shot down two of McGuire’s other gun bills.
“It’s not looking good up here. The liberals just want to get control of the people to get rid of weapons,” McGuire said, letting his opinion be known.
On Tuesday alone, 11 gun bills were struck down in the General Assembly.
As for Jason Nixon, this will not be the last visit he makes to the General Assembly.
On Jan. 28, Nixon and other family members will speak out on a proposal to form an independent commission to investigate the mass shooting in Virginia Beach.
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