RICHMOND, Va. (WSET) — A bill regulating assault weapons has passed the House of Delegates with a vote of 51-48.
HB 961 prohibits the sale of certain semi-automatic firearms, including popular AR-15 style rifles, and ban the possession of magazines that hold more than 12 rounds.
"And just like that, Virginia House Democrats vote to make millions of Virginians surrender their property or become criminals," said Del. Dave Larock. "If the Senate goes along with this nonsense, the Governor will sign it, and then AG Herring will spend YOUR [money] to defend this unconstitutional overreach."
The bill prohibits the sale, transporting, transferring, or manufacturing of an assault firearm and it would be illegal to import, sell, transfer, manufacture or purchase a bump stock after July 1, 2020.
Violation would be a Class 6 felony.
Current owners of assault weapons would be grandfathered in and therefore able to keep their firearms.
In the bill an "assault firearm" is defined as "a semi-automatic center-fire rifle that expels single or multiple projectiles by action of an explosion of a combustible material with a fixed magazine capacity in excess of 12 rounds."
"This is a compromise that takes into account folk's concerns and is still a good bill that will help reduce mass murders in the commonwealth," said Del. Mark Levine, a Democrat sponsoring the legislation. "This bill will save lives."
An estimated eight million AR-style guns have been sold since they were introduced to the public in the 1960s. The weapons are known as easy to use, easy to clean and easy to modify with a variety of scopes, stocks and rails.
The bill will now go to the Senate, where moderate Democrats have said they wouldn't support it.
The Associated Press contributed to this article