State Democrats Working Out Differences on Gun Control Legislation

Feb 16, 2021

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.

Credit AP Photo / Lisa Marie Pane

"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.