12 years after the Virginia Tech massacre, another mass shooting has pushed the Old Dominion in the direction of gun control.
- "We must give Virginians the action they deserve," Gov. Ralph Northam said at a press conference today calling a special legislative session this summer.
- "I will be asking for votes and laws, not thoughts and prayers."
- Northam was flanked by Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax and Attorney General Mark Herring, their first time together in public since political scandals this spring.
Why it matters: Gun control legislation failed by a slim margin earlier this year in the Virginia legislature. Now Democrats are advancing specific legislation that would have made it harder to carry out attacks like the Virginia Beach shooting.
- Northam wants bans on high-capacity magazines and gun silencers — both used by the Virginia Beach shooter — along with universal background checks and restrictions on the timing of buying guns.
- "Northam did not indicate when the session will take place ... Northam does not need authorization from the GOP-controlled General Assembly to call lawmakers to Richmond." [Richmond Times-Dispatch]
Flashback: "After the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre, in which a student with a history of mental problems shot 32 people to death, the state passed a law prohibiting people adjudicated as seriously mentally ill from buying a gun." [AP]
- "But a push at the time for universal background checks failed."
Be smart: "Either a handful of Republicans in both houses eat their earlier opposition to gun control measures and help pass some appropriate post-VA Beach legislation OR Democrats will use their recalcitrance to batter the GOP at the polls in November," UVA's Larry Sabato emails.
- "Democrats only have to pick up two seats in each house and they’ll rule the roost in Richmond."