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Democratic Delegates propose 17 bills on gun violence prevention

Democratic Delegates propose 17 bills on gun violence prevention. (Photo credit: WLOS Staff)
Democratic Delegates propose 17 bills on gun violence prevention. (Photo credit: WLOS Staff)
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Democrats in the House of Delegates introduced the 17 bills they submitted regarding gun violence prevention.

Some big items in this bundle include raising the age of purchase to 21 years old and restricting the sale of assault firearms, large-capacity magazines, and silencers.

Delegate Marcia Price (D) is one of the five lawmakers making this push for reform. She thinks that reform is something both Democrats and Republicans can agree on in order to make our communities safer.

Price's contribution to this bundle is a proposal for a two-year study by the JLARC (Joint Legislative Audit & Review Commission) on the social, physical, emotional, and economic effects of gun violence on communities across the Commonwealth. This is just one piece of what she thinks is a comprehensive group that encompasses the various issues involved in the gun violence epidemic.

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"In order to combat a comprehensive problem, we have to come to the table with comprehensive solutions, and that's what I think you see with the agenda that we've put forward. They're common sense. They're also evidence-based," said Price.

Delegate Wendell Walker (R) feels that it is important not to restrict individuals' rights in the process. He isn't optimistic about the future of this slate.

"I feel that they will not see the light of day coming out of General Assembly. While we are concerned about gun violence, I think that their proposals are not the best way to go about this," shared Walker.

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Walker would like to see more resources for law enforcement, but he does think there is room to make reforms to existing laws.

"I think we can tighten up laws where the access to firearms are the responsibility of the owner, certainly. But we should not be taking away firearms from individual, freedom-loving, constitutional individuals," said Walker.

Delegate Sam Rasoul (D) said that there is still a lot of time to negotiate specifics within these bills in order to achieve bipartisan approval. As a gun owner himself, he feels that it's a common goal to keep people safe.

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"The reality is most people want to figure out how we can make our communities safer and that's what we really want to get down to," said Rasoul.

According to the Department of Health, 2,532 people were sent to emergency rooms across Virginia in 2022 with injuries that resulted from firearms.

Below is the full list of gun violence prevention legislation being brought forth by Democrats so far this session:

HB1579: Delegate Rip Sullivan’s bill bars anyone convicted twice within a 5-year period of operating a vehicle while intoxicated from being allowed to purchase or transport firearms; the bar is removed once five years have passed with no further convictions for DUI.

HB1656: Delegate Marcia Price’s bill authorizes a two-year JLARC study of the social, physical, emotional, and economic effects of gun violence on communities across the Commonwealth. JLARC (Joint Legislative Audit & Review Commission) is the General Assembly’s nonpartisan policy analysis agency, which conducts rigorous and objective research to serve the public.

HB1729: Delegate Elizabeth Bennett-Parker's bill supports robust and effective enforcement of the law by closing the dangerous loophole created when those subject to Final Protective Orders and those convicted of assault and battery transfer their firearms to a third party. The bill requires that prohibited persons report to the Court the name and address of the transferee and requires the transferee to live in another household.

HB1788: Delegate Eileen Filler-Corn’s bill will bring microstamping technology to Virginia to help law enforcement solve gun crimes by requiring licensed dealers to sell or transfer only microstamping-enabled firearms beginning July 1, 2025. Modifying or disabling a firearm’s ability to stamp information on the casing of ammunition when fired from that firearm will be illegal.

HB1936: Delegate Kenneth Plum’s bill establishes the Virginia Firearm Buy-Back Program and Fund within the Virginia State Police Department, to set up uniform standards for local law enforcement agencies if they choose to conduct firearms buy-back programs.

HB2070: Delegate Kathleen Murphy’s bill will close the “dating relationship” loophole in current Virginia law barring a person convicted of assault & battery of a family or household member from purchasing, possessing, or transporting a firearm.

HB2078: Delegate Kathleen Murphy’s bill will help keep children safer by requiring licensed dealers, when selling or transferring a handgun, to provide a locking device for that firearm or include a specific written warning that handguns should be locked and kept away from children and that there can be civil or criminal liability for failing to do so.

HB2141: Delegate Schuyler Van Valkenburg’s bill places criminal liability on a gun owner who allows a minor access to the gun if the minor uses it to commit a crime or to cause bodily harm to themselves or others.

HB2227: Delegate Kathleen Murphy’s bill makes a parent/guardian who fails to reasonably secure a firearm away from a minor liable in a civil suit for injury to the person or property of another or for wrongful death caused by the minor’s possession and use of that firearm.

HB2240: Delegate Dan Helmer’s bill prohibits the sale, manufacture, purchase, or transport of assault firearms, large-capacity firearm magazines, or silencers.

HB2273: Delegate Cliff Hayes’s bill mandates a three-day waiting period between the customer’s consent for a firearms dealer to conduct the required criminal history check and the actual purchase of a firearm.

HB2288: Delegate Mark Sickles’s bill expands the definition of “assault firearm” and requires that any person purchasing an assault firearm must be at least 21 years of age.

HB2346: Delegate Elizabeth Guzman’s bill encourages Virginia school boards to make available to students a system to share (anonymously) messages and tips relating to violence or harm to self or others, including access to crisis counselors trained in violence risk assessment, suicide prevention, crisis management, and mental health support.

HD2350: Delegate Marcus Simon’s bill requires separate locked storage for an unloaded firearm and its ammunition in any residence where the firearm owner knows (or should reasonably know) that a minor under 18 years of age is present.

HB2365: Delegate Sally Hudson’s bill would ban firearms and explosives on public college campuses, just like Virginia already does for our K-12 public schools and other state-owned buildings.

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HB 2232: Delegate Kathleen Murphy's bill would amend the state plan for medical assistance services to ensure greater access and treatment for individuals who have sustained injury due to community or interpersonal violence, including gun violence.

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