Richmond, VA – Virginia Governor Ralph Northam signed five anti-gun bills into law on Friday as gun control advocates celebrated.
Northam signed a bill that requires background checks for all firearms sales in the state of Virginia on April 10, The Virginian-Pilot reported.
The governor also signed the re-instatement of a law that limits residents to one handgun purchase per month.
He put into place a “red flag” law that allows police to take guns away from anyone deemed a danger to themselves or others, The Virginian-Pilot reported.
The batch of new gun control legislation Northam enacted also included a law that requires gun owners to report lost or stolen firearms within 24 hours and another that increased penalties for leaving a loaded gun accessible to children.
The governor sent two bills back to the statehouse with technical changes, The Virginian-Pilot reported.
The first included a clarification of an exemption for universities under a bill that allows localities to ban guns in public.
For the other, Northam suggested that people under a permanent protective order who can’t prove they have given up their guns should be held in contempt of court by judges, The Virginian-Pilot reported.
The governor also vowed to take another run at an “assault weapons” ban in 2021, after more moderate Democrats in the state senate tabled it in February.
“I have always said that we do not need weapons of war on our streets,” he said.
Gun control advocates celebrated what have become major changes to the state’s gun laws under the newly-elected Democratic majority in its capitol, The Virginian-Pilot reported.
“Virginians wanted change,” Democratic State House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn told reporters. “We were not leaving Richmond in March without historic progress on gun violence prevention.”
But the House Republican leader, State Delegate Todd Gilbert, pointed to the fact that gun sales across the state had been through the roof since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, The Virginian-Pilot reported.
“To take a victory lap on such a controversial issue at a time when Virginians are buying firearms at a record pace to protect themselves and their families is counterintuitive,” Gilbert said.
The new laws go in to effect on July 1, The Virginian-Pilot reported.