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State Democrats Working Out Differences on Gun Control Legislation

AP Photo / Lisa Marie Pane

Democrats campaigned on a platform of taking action to crack down on gun violence. Now, they're divided on some of the details.

Lawmakers are considering a bill aimed at making sure guns are not available to people who shouldn't have them. Delegate Elizabeth Guzman is a Democrat from Prince William County who introduced a bill to create new penalties for gun owners who don’t secure their firearms from people who live with them and aren’t allowed to have a gun.

"If we're going to make the decision to live with someone, for the safety of our families, we will ensure that there is a criminal background check if it's going to be a stranger,” Guzman explained.

"Anyone you live with? They should do a criminal background check," asked Petersen.

That question was from Senator Chap Petersen, a Democrat from Fairfax City who’s critical of the idea that people can be held liable for guns that are in the possession of someone they live with.

"You know I never made my wife do a criminal background check before I married her. I probably should have done that," Petersen said.

The bill introduced by Delegate Guzman has already been approved by the House, but it's now before a Senate committee with some skeptical Senate Democrats.

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

Michael Pope is an author and journalist who lives in Old Town Alexandria.