Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has called for a special session of the state’s General Assembly to take up a package of gun-control bills after a man fatally shot 12 people last week at work in Virginia Beach. “We must do more than give our thoughts and prayers,” Northam said. “We must give Virginians the action they deserve.” Republicans control the General Assembly and have repeatedly stifled efforts to consider any form of gun control. Northam, along with Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax and Attorney General Mark R. Herring, also Democrats, have joined forces to challenge GOP leaders in the assembly.
Previous bills limiting firearms in public buildings, mandating universal background checks, allowing authorities to seize the weapons of a person found to be a threat, and capping purchases to one handgun per month have all failed due to a handful of Republican lawmakers in committees. Northam intends to bring lawmakers back to the state capital at the end of June so the full assembly can debate and vote on the bills. “It’s time for decisive action,” Northam said. “Let Virginia show the nation that we can respond to tragedy with decisive action.”