Gov. Northam signs gun violence prevention bill

Governor Ralph Northam holding a news briefing in Richmond.
Governor Ralph Northam holding a news briefing in Richmond.(VPM)
Updated: Jun. 2, 2021 at 6:16 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Governor Ralph Northam signed legislation aimed at preventing gun violence across the state on Wednesday.

The bill temporarily takes away gun rights for people convicted of domestic violence against a co-parent, spouse or ex-spouse.

Under the legislation, violators who knowingly purchase, possess or transport a gun, despite being banned, could be charged and face a year in jail.

Their gun rights are restored three years after their conviction.

Those in favor of the new legislation say this will save lives.

“Prior to this, law enforcement did not have the legal authority to disarm domestic violence persons convicted of a misdemeanor crime. Right now, if law enforcement comes across a person who has this conviction on his or her record, they can immediately disarm that person there and is a good law and it’s going to save lives,” Lori Haas with Coalition to Stop Gun Violence.

The law goes into effect July 1.

Northam said the next priority will be to ban assault weapons, which would have to be done during the next General Assembly session in the spring.

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