RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The gun rights movement is testing its newfound muscle at the General Assembly. Wednesday, state lawmakers took a key step toward relaxing one of Virginia's gun laws.
A senate committee voted 8-6 to repeal Virginia's "one gun a month" law...an indication that the gun-rights lobby will enjoy some success this year.
Gun rights and gun control activists filled a hearing room...taking aim at a series of bills that would loosen Virginia's gun laws.
Early on, pro-gun lobbyists supported a measure that would exempt rifles and shotguns from the state's lengthy background checks.
"If they can get this thing solved and be back to these 30 second checks, we're happy with the State Police," said Philip Van Cleve of the Virginia Citizens Defense League.
That measure, however, was tabled for the year. Also tabled: a bill that would've barred colleges from regulating gun possession. Both were seen as surprising victories for gun control.
Gun rights advocates say they still have the momentum, and they showed up last week to prove it with a rally at the Capitol bell tower. Armed with Republican control in both the House and Senate...expectations are high. But the work is not over...
"Really, you never know. Some people flip flop in their votes. We're always pushing toward the 2nd Amendments rights being extended to more and more people,' said Daniel Dorer at last week's rally.
The committee's decision here is only the first step in a long process. Bills move on to the full Senate, then possibly the House, and ultimately the governor.
Much is left to unfold over the next two months.