In a raucous session on Tuesday, the Virginia House of Delegates passed gun-control legislation that would ban the sale of certain semi-automatic rifles and make the possession of magazines holding more than twelve rounds a felony.
The House voted to approve the legislation 51–48, with all Republicans and some Democrats voting against. Capitol police removed gun-rights supporters from the chamber due for the manner in which they protested the bill’s passage.
The bill would require any owner of a semi-automatic rifle it classifies as an “assault weapon,“ including AR-15 rifles, to register the weapon with government authorities by 2021. It would also make magazines of over twelve rounds and silencers illegal. It will now head to the state Senate, where previous legislation that would have enacted an “assault weapons” ban failed to get out committee.
Democrats in November won control of both houses of the state legislature for the first time since 1994. In concert with Democratic governor Ralph Northam, state lawmakers are attempting to pass a flurry of liberal-leaning laws on gun control, abortion, and other issues. The Washington Post on Tuesday noted that Democrats have introduced so much legislation after years out of power that the legislature has been working late-night hours trying to process the backlog. Democrats have also struggled to take control of the legislative process due to their inexperience holding power.