Republican-led Virginia lawmakers rejected Democrats’ request to debate a series of gun control measures, voting to adjourn Tuesday’s special session after only two hours.
Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam had summoned legislators to the special session to consider eight gun control measures he proposed in the wake of the Virginia Beach shooting, according to the Associated Press.
“I called legislators back to Richmond for this special session so we could take immediate action to address the gun violence emergency that takes more than a thousand Virginians’ lives each year. I expected lawmakers to take this seriously,” Northam said in a statement.
“It is shameful and disappointing that Republicans in the General Assembly refuse to do their jobs, and take immediate action to save lives. I expected better of them. Virginians expect better of them,” he added.
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Less than two hours after beginning a special session called in response to a mass shooting, Virginia lawmakers abruptly adjourned https://t.co/5ezBLkjD16
— WVVA News (@WVVA) July 9, 2019
Tuesday’s special session started with Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment disavowing his own recent proposal to ban guns in public buildings after facing a backlash from fellow Republicans, including the resignation of Sen. Bill Stanley, his majority whip.
During the abbreviated session, Northam stood outside the Capitol building protesting with gun-control supporters, who chanted “Enough is Enough!”
“The whole thing is just an election-year stunt,” said Republican House Speaker Kirk Cox, who added that the session was scheduled prematurely given the shooting investigation is still underway.
Republicans hold a slim majority in the Virginia Assembly, with a 20-19 advantage in the Senate, and a 49-51 lead in the House.
13 people were killed June 1 when DeWayne Craddock, 40, a Virginia Beach city employee armed with a .45-caliber handgun, opened fire on coworkers in a municipal building.
Lawmakers will return in November.
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