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Democratic Gun Control Legislation May Bar Guns From State Capitol

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Gun control is expected to be one of the top agenda items for Democrats as they take control of the General Assembly next month. And, that could include a ban on guns in and around the Capitol.

Every year in February, Capitol Square is flooded with advocates for and against gun control. The opposing rallies are staggered on Martin Luthur King Day, one in the morning and then another in the afternoon. The pro-gun rally features advocates wearing their guns on their backs and their sides. But that might come to an end.

Democratic Senator Adam Ebbin of Alexandria has introduced a bill outlawing guns in Capitol Square. 

“We have Capitol Square police officers, and people don’t need to arm themselves in Capitol Square," Ebbin says. "They potentially risk more harm than good.”

That would make Capitol Square a gun free zone, a move Philip Van Cleve at the Virginia Citizens Defense League says would be a big mistake. 

“People are going to be evil. You’re not going to be able to stop all the evil people. You can dance jigs in the street. You can whistle Dixie. You can do whatever you want to do something," Van Cleve explains. "But nothing you do is going to stop the fact that there are dangerous people. The main thing you are going to be able to do is protect yourself.”

Democrats say they want to protect Virginians by allowing local governments the ability to implement stricter gun control measures, limiting how many guns people can buy in a month and closing the gun-show loophole.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.