The Only Gun Bill Still Alive In The General Assembly? One To Allow Them In Churches

Feb 15, 2018

Gun violence is back in the news this week. It’s also a topic that lawmakers in Richmond are debating.

Universal background checks? Nope. A ban on bumpstocks? No way. Keeping guns away from people who are a threat to themselves or others? Uh uh. Lawmakers have already rejected all of that. 

When Democratic Delegate Marcus Simon of Fairfax County introduced a bill to create a new Stop Gun Violence license plate, the Republicans amended it to raise money for mental health.   “They were trying to make the point that we don’t have a gun violence problem we have a mental health problem. I think that’s wrong," Simon said. "We actually have a gun violence problem, and it is in fact about the instrument.”

Gun safety bills have all been shot down. But one gun bill is still moving forward, a bill introduced by Republican Senator Ben Chafin of Russell County that would allow guns in churches during worship services. 

"Virginia has the archaic law that says you’re not supposed to have firearms in the church even if the faith leaders of the church, even if the people that own the church even if the people who control the church want to have some members of their church provide protection.”

A similar bill in was quietly killed in the House by sending it back to a committee that wasn’t meeting again, which allowed the members to avoid being on the record for or against the bill. Now they still might have to cast a vote on it if Chafin’s bill gets to the floor.

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