RICHMOND, Va. -- Democratic lawmakers in Virginia are advancing legislation to ban the sale of assault weapons and the possession of high-capacity magazines despite fierce opposition from gun owners.
A state House committee on Friday advanced a legislation backed by Gov. Ralph Northam on Friday that would ban the sale of certain semi-automatic firearms, including popular AR-15 style rifles, and prohibit the possession of silencers and magazines that hold more than 12 rounds.
It's the most ambitious measure proposed by Northam and one that's met the most pushback, including from members of his own party.
Gun owners packed the committee room Friday and erupted in protest when the measured passed. Capitol Police cleared the committee room of almost every spectator after the vote.
The bill will now head to the House floor.
President of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, Philip Van Cleave, said the “battle is far from over.”
Unfortunately after a long debate and a change to the bill that really didn’t help, HB 961 passed out of committee and will head to the floor of the house. If it passes there then I will head to the Senate. Battle far from over. I’m going to do a video to explain all this today.
— Phil Van Cleave VCDL (@VCDL_ORG) February 7, 2020
The National Rifle Association released a statement Friday on the bill’s advancement.
“This gun ban will make millions of law-abiding Virginians felons overnight while doing nothing to decrease crime. That’s why a majority of Virginians oppose it,” said NRA spokesperson Catherine Mortensen. “The fact is lawmakers delayed bringing up this bill so they could pander to Mike Bloomberg, their billionaire benefactor who will be in Richmond next week to headline a Democratic fundraiser to further enrich themselves. It is clear that House leaders would rather bow to out-of-state interests than listen to their constituents and fellow lawmakers.”
Stay with CBS 6 for the latest on this developing story.