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State Democrats Want to Prevent Those Convicted of Domestic Abuse From Having Firearms

AP Photo / Lisa Marie Pane

Lawmakers are considering a bill designed to keep guns out of the hands of people convicted of domestic violence.

When Republicans were in power, Democrats tried again and again to pass a law to keep guns out of the hands of people who have been convicted of domestic violence. Time and time again, they failed. But, now that Democrats are in control of the General Assembly, they may be poised to finally accomplish that goal this year.  


Senator Barbara Favola is a Democrat from Arlington. 


"The calls that police officers go on, 70% of them, are related to domestic violence. In fact, removing a firearm, our police chiefs would say, actually protects our police officers," Favola says. 


Senator Bill Stanley is a Republican from Franklin County who opposed this bill and others Democrats are pressing this year. 


"We want to give more people expungements and rights and restoration of stuff but it always seems to be these bills fall right down the line with what you want to do, which is to restrict the Second Amendment," he explains. "Can't have a gun near a polling place. Can't have a firearm if a domestic assault occurs for three years. Now you can't have one under your pillow. Next year, pretty soon, you can only hunt with your finger." 


Last year and this year, Democrats approved a host of new gun control bills that will be law this fall during campaign season, when voters will have an opportunity to weigh in when they elect all 100 seats in the House of Delegates and all three statewide constitutional offices. 


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.