STAUNTON, VA (WHSV)--- UPDATE (Feb. 4):
State Senator Emmett Hanger, a Republican, voted with the Democrats to the surprise of his party-mates. WHSV reached out to Sen. Hanger's office for comment on his vote. We heard back on Thursday. Sen. Hanger said in a statement:
"I remain a strong supporter of the 2nd Amendment, but SB 48 would have, in my opinion gutted our carefully constructed process for obtaining a permit. Good gun laws protect and preserve our 2nd Amendment rights at the same time they enhance the safety of law enforcement and the general public. I didn't pay attention to the fact that I was the only Republican opposing the bill. The Democrats voted with me."
ORIGINAL STORY (Feb. 1):
There were 20 yeas and 20 nays cast in the upper house of the Virginia General Assembly building in Richmond Monday.
The votes were regarding Senate Bill 48. The measure would have done away with the state's concealed handgun permit requirement.
Jim Wood is a firearms instructor in Augusta County. He said the Second Amendment already guarantees this right. "The framers of our country, that's what they intended for us as citizens so we don't become subjects," said Wood.
All 19 senate Democrats voted against the bill, while 20 of 21 senate Republicans were for it. The swing vote was Republican senator Emmett Hanger. He represents the 24th District, covering parts of Rockingham and Augusta Counties. With all the votes in, a tiebreaker vote was needed. Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam cast that decisive vote, striking the proposed bill down.
Hanger has an A rating with the NRA, and on his campaign website he says he is an advocate for Second Amendment rights.
Wood said he was surprised by Hanger's vote. "To see that he would vote against a Constitutional carry Bill, for that to happen yeah it kind of shocks folks."
Right now, to get a concealed weapons permit, you have to take a class and go through a background check. Woods said the extra check is excessive. "If they already know who you are, what difference does it make if you get an extra piece of paper other than it creates revenue for the state?"
We reached out to Senator Hanger's office for comment on his vote. As of Monday evening we were still waiting to hear back.