Virginia Senate committee defeats proposed gun-control measures, a top Democratic priority



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RICHMOND, Virginia — A Republican-controlled Virginia Senate voted to approve Monday measures aimed at easing restrictions on gun owners while voting against several gun-control measures championed by Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe.

The Senate Courts of Justice panel voted Monday against bills aimed at beefing up Virginia's gun control laws. The proposals include limiting handgun purchases to one a month and closing the so-called gun show loophole that allows sales by private sellers without a criminal background check.

Most bills were dispatched with minimal discussion, as gun-control advocates said the measures were needed to increase public safety while gun-rights advocates said the proposals infringed on Virginians' Second Amendment rights. The proposals included the revocation of concealed carry permits of those delinquent on child support payments, and prohibiting subjects of a protective order from buying guns.

McAuliffe and Democratic lawmakers are pushing a package of gun control measures ahead of this fall's state legislative elections even though they stand little chance of passage in the Republican-controlled General Assembly.

Sen. Adam Ebbin, an Alexandria Democrat, introduced a measure that would prohibit giving a gun to children under 5 years old. Ebbin called the measure a "common sense" solution that would help prevent accidental gun deaths of children.

"In gun ownership comes gun responsibility," Ebbin said.

But Anna Kopperud, a state liaison for the National Rifle Association, said the law set an "arbitrary" age limit, and parents should be able to decide when their children should be introduced to guns.

Committee chairman Sen. Thomas K. Norment Jr. said at the hearing that a bill that would make it illegal for those convicted of certain violent crimes to transport or possess guns had passed the committee. But the General Assembly's database of vote results later showed the vote failed by a large margin.

The committee also voted in favor of gun-rights measures backed by Republican senators. They include a bill that would allow concealed-handgun permit holders to carry their guns on school property outside normal school hours and another proposal that would allow lifetime concealed handgun permits. Under current law, permits must be renewed every five years.

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