Virginia Senate leader spikes his gun ban bill after majority whip resigns in protest

Session adjourns 90 minutes after it started
Virginia State Capitol.
Virginia State Capitol.((Source: Capital News Service))
Updated: Jul. 9, 2019 at 3:05 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (AP/WWBT) - The Virginia General Assembly has voted to adjourn until November, as Republicans rejected Democrats’ request to vote on a series of gun control measures.

The move comes after Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment says he’s spiking his gun-control legislation, only a day after proposing to ban guns in all government buildings statewide.

The reversal followed Senate GOP majority whip Sen. Bill Stanley’s resignation in protest to Norment’s bill.

Stanley told The Associated Press on Tuesday that he’s resigned as majority whip of the GOP Senate caucus after Norment sponsored legislation to implement a broad ban on government buildings.

Norment's legislation caught both Republicans and gun-control advocates off guard. His GOP colleagues immediately pushed back. They say it's an infringement on the rights of law-abiding citizens to prevent them from carrying guns into government buildings.

Norment is married to a lobbyist for the city of Virginia Beach, where a municipal worker gunned down his co-workers in a mass shooting.

He now says he won’t support “any measure that restricts the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens.” His statement says he’ll ask that Senate Bill 4013 be stricken in committee, because “as currently drafted, the legislation represents neither my views nor my intention.”

The session ended just 90 minutes after it started.

“That was pathetic. Virginians deserve better," said Attorney General Mark R Herring in a statement.

"There were important measures introduced that could save lives and keep Virginians safe, like universal background checks, a ban on high capacity magazines, silencers, bump stocks, and assault weapons, a reinstatement of the one handgun a month law, and red flag laws. But instead of a thoughtful discussion about how to keep our communities safe, Republicans in the General Assembly packed up and went home, but not before making sure they got paid for the day. For years Republicans have hidden behind subcommittees to block these bills and duck accountability. This time they didn’t even pretend.”

Mark Herring

Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam called the special session in response to the May 31 mass shooting in Virginia Beach in which a city employee killed a dozen people.

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