Bills Focused On Gun Restrictions Failed To Advance
Lawmakers in a Senate Courts of Justice Committee considered more than a dozen bills Wednesday dealing with firearms. Every bill that focused on gun restrictions failed to advance, including a measure to temporarily remove guns from people in crisis that died in a tie vote.
The committee voted along party lines to reject bills that would require background checks and raise the legal age to purchase a gun, ban bump stocks and allow cities to ban guns during permitted events. The only proposal that attracted any Republican support was a bill that would allow law enforcement to obtain a temporary, extreme risk protective order to prohibit a person in crisis from buying or possessing a firearm.
“Family members are asking for tools to keep their loved ones safe,” said Lori Haas with the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence. Haas said the bill would help prevent suicides by providing a way to intervene when someone’s a danger to themselves or others. She gave several definitions of crisis.
“People can be abusing alcohol,” Haas said. “Abusing drugs. Angry. All sorts of reasons for a crisis that don’t rise to the level of a mental illness.”
Gun rights advocate Philip Van Cleave said the measure was a way for the government to seize personal property.
“Let’s be frank. It’s a confiscation bill. It’s not a bill about saving lives,” Van Cleave said.
The bill ultimately failed to advance on a tied vote with Sen. Glen Sturtevant (R-Richmond) crossing the aisle to support the bill.
The same committee approved two bills Wednesday to expand gun rights. Senate Bill 1158, patroned by retiring Senator Richard Black would allow any person,otherwise eligible to have a firearm to carry a concealed handgun without a permit.
Senate Bill 1012, patroned by Sen. Amanda Chase (R-Chesterfield) would allow firefighters and emergency responders who were previously employed as law enforcement officers or as a member of the military to carry a concealed firearm without a permit.