Virginia Senate passes ‘Red Flag’ gun bill

Virginia Senate passes “Red Flag” gun bill

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - A vote at the state Capitol Wednesday is meeting both praise and criticism after senators approved what’s being called the “Red Flag” bill.

That’s a proposal to temporarily take away guns from a person who has been deemed a threat to themselves or to others. That measure is facing some resistance. The vote was 21 in favor, 19 against. Supporters say it’s all about public safety. Opponents say it’s intruding on your American rights.

Virginia could be inching closer in joining 17 other states who have already passed what's been called the Red Flag law.

"Legislators who vote in favor of this bill are deemed traitors of the Commonwealth and their vote will be posted on my page for all Virginians to see,” Sen. Amanda Chase told her fellow lawmakers. She voted against the measure and didn’t mince words.

“Would it be OK for a rape victim to not be able to defend herself for 14 days because her gun was confiscated because her abuser used the Red Flag to claim she was not competent…The Second Amendment is non-negotiable,” she said.

Supporters say the law could help prevent mass shootings and gun violence where there were warning signs.

"It is my responsibility to report it to authorities anyways but this measure would take it to another level,” Dr. Lakesha Roney, a licensed counselor said.

She believes the proposal would do some good.

"Too many people have died. Too many clients have suffered personally from gun violence…I understand the right to bear arms in that way to protect and to provide for your family, but I do understand putting limitations on that for the safety and welfare of our public,” Roney added.

The move comes days after thousands crowded the state capitol in protest of any restrictions to gun rights. Chase says she’s speaking out on behalf of those who elected her.

"They believe that members of this body that vote on legislation that restricts their constitutionally protected rights are guilty of treason. That's the way they feel,” she said.

This measure would make it a felony offense for anyone who transfers a gun to someone who is deemed at risk. A computerized registry would keep track of people who fall in that category. The Senate bill now heads to the House of Delegates for a vote.

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