If there’s one thing that can spark a heated debate, it’s gun control laws. While there is a large percentage of lawmakers and citizens who believe current gun laws are too lax and there is a need for more stringent laws to be enacted and enforced, there are plenty of others who disagree. In fact, Virginia’s Capitol was recently greeted by more than 16,000 of those individuals who attended the pro-gun rally that was held in Richmond on January 20, 2020 [Source: Fox News].
The Capitol drew in the large crowd after three gun control-related bills advanced in Virginia’s General Assembly last week. The Democratic lawmakers who support the bills are merely looking for a change that could help reduce and even eliminate gun violence. Just last year, a mass shooting occurred at a Virginia Beach municipal complex that claimed the lives of 12 innocent people.
Although many might agree that the U.S. does need to start seeing some sort of change that would prevent these deadly shootings from happening, those who attended clearly aren’t prepared to give up their Second Amendment rights in an effort to make this happen. The news source reported that approximately 6,000 people were allowed into a fenced-in area of Capitol Square while another 16,000 or so waited outside the gates.
What changes would these bills bring if they were enacted?
If Virginia Democratic lawmakers were successful at getting the bills passed, Fox News says that they would likely:
- Require that background checks be conducted when a firearm is being purchased.
- Permit law enforcement to temporarily remove guns from individuals who are considered to be a risk to themselves or others.
- Limit handgun purchases to only one a month.
- Let localities decide on whether to ban weapons from certain events.
However, before these bills could actually become laws, they would need to “pass the full Senate and the House of Delegates before going to the governor for his signature.” Until they do, VA criminal defense attorneys urge citizens to familiarize themselves with their state’s gun laws to ensure they are always in compliance with them.
While Virginia’s Governor, Ralph Northam, “beefed up his security” for the event and even declared a state of emergency last week as he expected white supremacists, armed militia, and other extremist groups to attend, the rally ended peacefully, says Fox News.
The source reported that there was little disruption during the rally, except for one incident that arose that involved a 21-year-old woman. The woman was arrested and charged with one felony count of wearing a mask in public after she was warned twice by law enforcement officers to remove a bandana that covered her face but refused to do so.
After the rally concluded, Northam issued a statement that evening saying “Today showed that when people disagree, they can do so peacefully. The issues before us evoke strong emotions, and progress is often difficult. I will continue to listen to the voices of Virginians, and I will continue to do everything in my power to keep our commonwealth safe.”