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Northam Calls For Special Session To Address Gun Control

Northam alongside other top state Democrats at a press conference on Tuesday.
Northam alongside other top state Democrats at a press conference on Tuesday. Ben Paviour/WCVE

Gov. Ralph Northam announced that he’ll convene a special session of the General Assembly to consider new gun control bills later this month, a plan a top Republican called “hasty and suspect” given Northam's recent political troubles.

The governor's announcement comes just days after a shooter killed 12 people in Virginia Beach. 

Northam said he and fellow Democrats are tired of Republicans blocking what he called common-sense gun control legislation.

“I will be asking for votes and laws, not thoughts and prayers,” Northam said. 

Northam’s wish list for a session later this month includes universal background checks and a ban on assault weapons.

He made his call alongside Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax and Attorney General Mark Herring. It’s the trio’s first public appearance since they became embroiled in scandals in February.

Republican Speaker of the House Kirk Cox called the special session “hasty and suspect” given those scandals. He said the Republican-controlled legislature would instead focus on creating stricter mandatory minimum sentencing laws.

“We believe addressing gun violence starts with holding criminals accountable for their actions, not infringing on the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens,” Cox said.

Ben Paviour covers courts and criminal justice for VPM News with a focus on accountability.
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