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An effort to roll back Virginia's red flag law is done for the year

This Wednesday, June 29, 2016, photo shows guns on display at a gun store.
Alan Diaz/AP
This Wednesday, June 29, 2016, photo shows guns on display at a gun store.

Virginia has a red-flag law designed to combat gun violence. A Republican effort to overturn the law has failed.

Republicans don't like Virginia's new red flag law, which uses court-imposed risk orders to remove guns from people who might be a danger to themselves or others. Republican Delegate Marie March of Floyd County introduced a bill that would ditch the red flag law.

"We are depriving people of liberty and property for accused thought crime. This isn't proactive policing," March said. "This is a bad law to deprive people of their rights."

Delegate Wendy Gooditis is a Democrat from Clarke County whose brother had a mental health crisis, and his gun was temporarily removed by a sheriff's deputy.

"At the end of 45 minutes, he had no choice because of our laws in Virginia a few years ago but to hand the firearm back to my brother. I no longer have that brother," Gooditis said. "A few weeks later, he shot himself with that firearm. You think about that!"

On Monday, a Senate panel rejected the effort to repeal the red flag law, which will continue to be used by law enforcement officials across Virginia.

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.