Virginia Senate advances two proposed gun control measures

Published: Feb. 26, 2020 at 3:40 PM EST
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The Virginia Senate has advanced two pieces of Gov. Ralph Northam's proposed gun-control measures after previously rejecting them.

The Senate voted Wednesday to advance legislation that would require gun owners to report to police any lost or stolen firearms and to toughen the penalty for leaving a loaded, unsecured firearm in a reckless manner that endangers a child.

Northam's office agreed to water down both measures in order to to win support of some Democrats who rejected earlier versions.

Northam initially wanted to make it a felony to leave an unsecured firearm around a child. The new version keeps the penalty as misdemeanor, albeit a more serious one than what's in current law.

The Senate also changed legislation to give gun owners 48 hours instead of 24 hours to report stolen or lost guns. a change sought by Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax.

Lawmakers are set to give final passage in coming days to seven out of eight gun-control bills backed by Northam. The Senate has already killed legislation to ban the sale of assault weapons.

Virginia is the current epicenter of the country's heated debate over gun control and mass shootings. Tens of thousands of gun-rights activists from across the country

and surrounding area in protest near the start of the General Assembly session, some donning tactical gear and carrying military-style rifles.

Northam has been able to get much of his gun-control agenda passed this year, but a proposed assault weapon ban was voted down in the Senate. The governor had hoped a watered-down version would win over enough Democratic moderates for passage.

Lawmakers in both the House and Senate have already

and should finalize passage in the coming days. Those bills include

to once a month,

on gun purchases,

in public buildings, parks and other areas, and

that would allow authorities to temporarily take guns away from anyone deemed to be dangerous to themselves or others.