Virginia House passes bill that bans assault weapons

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RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY/AP) – The Virginia House of Delegates has voted to pass a bill that bans assault weapons and other firearm accessories.

House Bill 961, sponsored by Delegate Mark Levine, D – Alexandria, narrowly passed with a 51-48 vote Tuesday afternoon.

The legislation would prohibit the sale of certain semiautomatic firearms, including popular AR-15-style rifles, as well as ban the possession of magazines that hold more than 12 rounds. 

The bill prohibits the sale, transporting, transferring, manufacturing, purchasing, or possessing of an assault firearm. Doing so would result in a Class 6 felony, which is punishable between one and five years in prison in Virginia.

Current owners of assault weapons would be grandfathered in and therefore able to keep their firearms.

The bill also doesn’t ban the possession of suppressors or silencers, but it does ban the sale of them after the bill takes effect.

The bill states it will be illegal for anyone to import, sell, transfer, manufacture or purchase a silencer, which is also punishable as a Class 6 Felony, after January 1, 2021. The same goes for trigger activators.

The amended assault weapons bill cleared a House subcommittee last week. It now moves to the Senate, where moderate Democrats have indicated they are unlikely to support the measure.

Heated debates over guns have dominated this year’s legislative session, as Virginia has become ground zero in the nation’s raging debate over gun control and mass shootings.

(Photo courtesy: Jackie DeFusco/Nexstar)

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