Governor Northam ceremonially signs gun safety legislation for change

Virginia

"Every year we lose more than a 1,000 Virginians to gun violence, that's more than 3 Virginians everyday in communities across our commonwealth, whether those deaths are a homicide, suicide, or accidents"

CHANTILLY, Va. (WDVM)– Governor Northam passed historic gun safety laws in the Commonwealth.

These new laws include sweeping measures to require background checks on all gun sales, establish an extreme risk protective order, prevent children from accessing firearms, establish an Extreme Risk Protective Order, reinstate Virginia’s successful one handgun a month policy, and mandate reporting of lost and stolen firearms. Northam said these new laws will save lives.

“Every year we lose more than a 1,000 Virginians to gun violence, that’s more than 3 Virginians every day in communities across our commonwealth, whether those deaths are homicide, suicide, or accidents. Every one of them is a tragedy, everyone of them is a family that will never be the same” said Northam.

Northam said he looks forward to working with state and local partners to implement these laws and save lives in the Commonwealth.

Governor Northam signed these bills:

  • Senate Bill 70 and House Bill 2 require background checks on all firearm sales in Virginia, which will prevent guns from ending up in dangerous hands.
  • Senate Bill 240 and House Bill 674 establish an Extreme Risk Protective Order, which creates a legal mechanism for law enforcement to temporarily separate a person from their firearms when they represent a danger to themselves or others. Virginia is now among 19 other states and the District of Columbia in enacting this type of law.
  • Senate Bill 69 and House Bill 812 reinstate Virginia’s one-handgun-a-month rule to help curtail stockpiling of firearms and trafficking.
  • House Bill 9 requires gun owners to report their lost or stolen firearms to law enforcement within 48 hours or face a civil penalty.
  • House Bill 1083 prevents children from accessing firearms by increasing the penalty for recklessly leaving firearms in their presence.

Governor Northam proposed amendments to these bills:

  • Senate Bill 35 and House Bill 421 allow localities to regulate firearms in public buildings, parks, recreation centers, and during permitted events. Amendments clarify the exemption for institutions of higher education. 
  • Senate Bill 479 and House Bill 1004 prohibit individuals subject to protective orders from possessing firearms, require them to turn over their firearms within 24 hours, and certify to the court that they have turned over their weapons. Governor Northam amended this legislation at the request of the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance. This will enhance safety for victims by allowing judges to hold the respondent in contempt of court if they fail to comply with the certification requirements.

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