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Assault weapon ban continued

The Virginia General Assembly has reached the halfway point of the 2020 Session.

Known as Crossover, this is the point at which the House and Senate exchange legislation and begin to work on the other chamber’s bills.

I first wanted to let you know the big news this morning is that the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to continue House Bill 961, the so called “assault-weapon” ban. I always have and will continue to oppose any legislation that would infringe on the Second Amendment rights of my constituents.

I wanted to take a moment to renew my commitment to you and the citizens of District 61, as well as my dedication to the principles you elected me to uphold.

Democrats have wasted no time in moving to overturn years of Republican-crafted legislation that has protected individual liberties, positioned Virginia to have the nation’s top business environment.

Democrats have approved legislation that will make a number of major changes to Virginia, including the following:

Taxes: Increase taxes for cigarettes, admissions, meals, and lodgings without a voter referendum — totaling up to $528 million. Another bill would allow localities to enact taxes on plastic bags.

Public Safety: HB 34 would make it harder to prosecute drunk drivers, while HB 33 would grant eligibility for parole to an estimated 280 violent offenders in Virginia.

Immigration: HB 1150 would eliminate the requirement that jail/prison officials determine the citizenship status of inmates. Other bills would allow undocumented noncitizens to obtain Virginia driver’s licenses and receive in-state tuition at state universities.

Firearms: The House Democrats passed eight bills endorsed by Governor Northam, including HB 421, which would allow any locality to pass its own criminal ordinances covering possession of firearms, and HB 961, which forbids purchase or sale of certain firearms.

Statues: HB 1625 will empower localities to remove Civil War — and other war — statues.

Abortion: House Democrats passed HB 980, which would eliminate most legal restrictions on abortions in Virginia, including the waiting period.

Republicans have voiced numerous concerns about the unintended consequences that these potential new laws may pose to the rights of Virginians like you. We have urged Democrats to consider the economic toll that raising the minimum wage would place on small businesses. We have pressed them to understand the need to protect unborn life, and we have fought to preserve the rights guaranteed to us by the U.S. Constitution, including our Second Amendment right to bear arms.

Del. Tommy Wright can be reached via email at DelTWright@house.virginia.gov or (804) 698-1061.