Virginia House Democrats push gun control proposals after mass shootings

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – In the Follow another mass shooting in VirginiaHouse Democrats say they will propose gun control measures next year.

The Democratic faction in the House of Representatives on Wednesday announced plans to introduce legislation for the next session of the Virginia General Assembly — which begins Jan. 11, 2023 — to ban the use of spirit weapons and limit high-capacity magazines.

The Virginia House Democrats’ pledge comes after a mass shooting at a Chesapeake Walmart where police say: a Manager killed six people Tuesday night before taking his own life.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to all the victims and their families. But thoughts and prayers without action are empty. Enough is enough,” the caucus said in a statement. “We can do more than just thoughts and prayers in Virginia.”

The statement added that the caucus would support proposals that would set age limits for certain firearms and increase gun industry accountability.

Virginia House Democrats said they will also seek to “empower communities and community-based organizations to deal with the crippling effects of poverty and our lack of mental health resources and create more youth engagement programs.”

Addressing the Chesapeake shooting, Gov. Glenn Youngkin told reporters Wednesday that he wants to increase mental health resources in Virginia.

A spokesman for the governor did not respond to a request for comment on the Democrats’ statement, but referred 8News to Youngkin’s response when asked if he was open to legislation that would impose gun restrictions.

Youngkin said Wednesday he felt it was “not the time” to discuss the proposals, citing the need to support affected families and communities.

“At the end of all the investigations, when the facts are in, we have time to come together and talk about what action we can take,” he said.

Tuesday’s shooting came after that three students from the University of Virginia Members of the school’s football team were fatally shot and two others were injured on a charter bus following a November 13 field trip. A mass shooting also ensues at a gay nightclub in Colorado five people lost their lives.

Before the Republicans took over the House of Representatives, the Democrats used their majority to pass comprehensive gun control measures. Among other things, the party passed a “Red Flag” law and expanded background checks.

Democrats tried to pass a ban on “ghost guns,” homemade firearms, and plastic guns assembled with 3D printers, but those efforts didn’t get enough support.

With Republicans now in control of the House of Representatives and Youngkin in office, it seems unlikely that any of the measures Democrats want to put forward will become law.

The Democratic faction in the Virginia Senate, which has a slim majority in the chamber, released a statement not long after House Democrats on Wednesday. In it, Senate Democrats said it was time to “come together together” to help end gun violence, but made no specific proposals for the 2023 legislative session.

“We have moved beyond the point of ‘thoughts and prayers,’ and we should all agree that enough is easy enough,” the caucus wrote in its statement. “We must come together to end gun violence in the Commonwealth of Virginia. That is sensible and reasonable.”