House Speaker Kirk Cox says the special session was premature because the Virginia Beach shooting is still being investigated.
Cox and Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment say Northam should have called for a blue-ribbon commission to study gun and mental health issues like former Gov. Tim Kaine did after the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre.
The Virginia General Assembly has voted to adjourn until November, as Republicans rejected Democrats’ request to vote on a series of gun control measures.
The special session on gun violence got off to a chaotic start Tuesday before ending the same day.
Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam called the special session in response to the May 31 mass shooting in Virginia Beach in which a city employee killed a dozen people.
Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment says he’s spiking his gun-control legislation, only a day after proposing to ban guns in all government buildings statewide.
Norment’s statement says he’ll ask that Senate Bill 4013 be stricken in committee, because “as currently drafted, the legislation represents neither my views nor my intention.”
He says he won’t support “any measure that restricts the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens.”
The reversal comes after Senate GOP majority whip Bill Stanley resigned to protest Norment’s bill. Norment then apologized to his caucus and moved to reinstate Stanley to his key leadership post. Stanley was the only one of his Republican colleagues to vote against himself.
A Virginia Republican senator has resigned his leadership role to protest a top Republican’s push to ban guns in government controlled buildings.
Sen. Bill Stanley told The Associated Press on Tuesday that he’s resigned as majority whip of the GOP Senate caucus after Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment sponsored legislation to implement a broad ban on government buildings.
Norment’s legislation caught both Republicans and gun-control advocates off guard. His GOP colleagues immediately pushed back. They say it’s an infringement on the rights of law-abiding citizens to prevent them from carrying guns into government buildings.
Norment is married to a lobbyist for the city of Virginia Beach, where a municipal worker gunned down his co-workers in a mass shooting.
Advocates for and against stricter gun laws are holding rallies at the Virginia Capitol as lawmakers gather for a special session.
Gun-control supporters demonstrated on Capitol Square Tuesday morning to urge lawmakers to pass a package of measures proposed by Gov. Ralph Northam. The Democratic leader called a special session in response to the May 31 mass shooting in Virginia Beach in which a city employee killed a dozen people.
The rally started with advocates reading out the names of the state’s recent gun violence victims, including those in Virginia Beach.
Northam then led the gun-control advocates in chants of “enough is enough.”
A small group of gun-rights supporters also gathered. One man said the Virginia Beach shooting shouldn’t prompt the government to take away his guns.
Virginia lawmakers are set to debate and vote on new gun laws after a gunman killed a dozen people in a local government building.
Gov. Ralph Northam ordered lawmakers to return to the Capitol and called for passage of a wide range of gun-control measures. The Democrat said people need “votes and laws, not thoughts and prayers” after a Virginia Beach city employee shot and killed 12 people on May 31.
GOP lawmakers criticized Northam as trying to exploit a tragedy for political gain. And in the leadup to Tuesday’s session, Republican leaders who control the legislature signaled they wouldn’t pass gun controls, focusing instead on increasing criminal penalties after gun crimes.
But Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment filed surprise legislation Monday to broadly ban guns in any government building.