By Kris Brown – Kris Brown is the president of Brady, formerly the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.
After many years of work and several months of almost blink-and-you’ll-miss-it progress, our effort to ban assault weapons and large-capacity magazines in Virginia was dealt a blow in the Virginia Senate Judiciary Committee, where the committee voted to put this bill, HB 961, off until the next legislative session in 2021. As a Virginia resident and voter, I can personally share my disappointment in this decision, especially because voters such as myself went to the polls and chose candidates who ran on common-sense gun-safety laws exactly like this one. We know that the mass shooting in Virginia Beach last year was made more deadly by the presence of large-capacity magazines, allowing the gunman to continue a “long gun battle” with law enforcement. We know that assault weapons are uniquely deadly. They are designed with characteristics similar to military-grade assault weapons, maximizing operability and lethality. These weapons are intended to kill. An AR-15-type bullet exits its barrel almost three times faster than a 9mm bullet from a handgun. The weapons’ rapid rate of fire and high muzzle velocity allow the shooter to fire dozens of gunshots without needing to reload. [full article]