Apr 11, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Virginia Gov. Northam signs gun control laws, expands abortion protection

Gun rights advocates rally outside the Virginia capital building Jan. 20 in Richmond, Virginia. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) on Friday signed five gun control bills into law and repealed the state's 24-hour waiting period for individuals seeking abortions.

The big picture: A stream of progressive legislation was expected in the state, after Democrats took control of the state House and Senate in Virginia's General Assembly last year.

  • Virginia is among the most restrictive states in the country for abortions, as women are required to undergo several steps before the procedure.

Details: The gun control bills require background checks on all firearm sales in the state, allow police to temporarily take someone's firearm if they present a danger to themselves or others, require gun owners to report lost or stolen weapons, and mandate that residents only buy one handgun per month.

  • Another bill signed by Northam on Friday stipulates that those seeking abortions do not have to undergo an ultrasound before the procedure.

Flashback: Thousands of people participated in a gun-rights rally outside the state Capitol in January to protest then-proposed gun restrictions. The protest ended peacefully after Northam temporarily banned firearms at the capitol and declared a state of emergency in anticipation of the event, saying he wanted to avoid a repeat of Charlottesville.

Go deeper: Northam temporarily bans weapons from Virginia Capitol amid threats

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