RICHMOND, Va. – Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam's push to ban the sale of assault weapons failed on Monday after some of his fellow Democrats balked at the proposal.
Senators voted to shelve the bill for the year and ask the state crime commission to study the issue, an outcome that drew cheers from a committee room packed with gun advocates.
Four Democrats — most of them moderates — joined Republicans in Monday's committee vote, rejecting legislation that would have prohibited the sale of certain semiautomatic firearms, including popular AR-15 style rifles, and banned the possession of magazines that hold more than 12 rounds.
The bill was a top priority for Northam, who has campaigned heavily for a broad package of gun-control measures. The governor's spokeswoman, Alena Yarmosky, said he's disappointed with the result but determined to continue to press for the measure.
“We will be back next year," she said.
David Majure, a gun-rights supporter who attended the committee hearing, said he's glad about Monday's results but not convinced the bill is dead for the year.
“I'm happy about it, but I don't trust them," he said.
Virginia is the current epicenter of the country's heated debate over guns, as a new Democratic majority seeks to enact strict new limits.