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Youngkin takes action on several gun-related bills

Assault weapons and hand guns for sale.
Seth Perlman
State legislators offered 47 bills to control gun sales and use in Virginia.

We’re about 80 days into the year, and so far, according to Richmond Police, 135 guns have been stolen from people’s cars. It’s a trend that peaked during the pandemic with over 600 guns stolen from Richmonders’ cars in 2022.

Governor Glenn Youngkin took action on over three dozen gun bills earlier this week. The actions will stop many new gun laws from going into effect, but efforts he agreed with are ok with Second Amendment activists.

Among the bills Governor Glenn Youngkin vetoed Tuesday was an effort to punish Virginians who leave guns in their cars. In a statement, Youngkin said the law quote “penalizes law-abiding” citizens when “the culpability is on the criminal who stole the firearm.”

But Albemarle County Delegate Amy Laufer, who patroned the bill, pointed to the heightened number of gun thefts in the Commonwealth as a need for action.

“A gun is stolen from a vehicle every 36 hours," Laufer said. "This was an attempt to allow police departments to take action before the gun was stolen.”

Other gun bills vetoed by Youngkin include a ban on so-called assault weapons, a closure of the ‘dating partner loophole’ which would have limited firearm access for partners accused of abuse and a bill to limit guns on college campuses.

Phillip Van Cleave, president of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, was pleased with Youngkin’s actions. That includes his signature on a bill which bans modifying firearms to make them automatic. Van Cleave said the effort brings the state in line with federal law.

“Bottom line: the gun-grabbers struck out," Van Cleave said in a statement. "There are no significant changes to Virginia’s gun laws this year!”

Youngkin’s veto spree is expected to continue until April 8th when actions on all bills are due. The state’s Democrat-led legislature and Youngkin will reconvene a few weeks after to hammer out a budget.

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

Brad Kutner is Radio IQ's reporter in Richmond.