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Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam signs five gun control bills into law

The Democrat told gun control activists, 'This is an exciting day for me'

(Preston Ehrler / Echoes Wire / Barcroft Media via Getty Images)

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) is celebrating after signing five new gun control bills into law on Friday as part of the agenda he promised when Democrats won control of both chambers of the commonwealth's General Assembly in November.

What are the details?

Gov. Northam announced he signed into law a "red flag" bill, an expansion of background checks, and reinstated a limit that restricts Virginians from purchasing more than one handgun in a one-month period "to help curtail stockpiling of firearms and trafficking."

Citizens of the commonwealth will also now face a civil penalty if they do not report a lost or stolen firearm to law enforcement within 48 hours, and will face a criminal charge for leaving "a loaded, unsecured firearm in such a manner as to endanger" a child younger than 14.

"This is an exciting day for me," Northam told gun control activists during a conference call on Friday, according to Fox News. He added, "It was time to have our legislators come to Richmond and to take votes and pass laws, and that's exactly what they did this year."

Democratic Speaker of the House Eileen Filler-Corn also took a victory lap on Friday, saying in a statement, "In November, Virginians called out loud and clear for meaningful legislation to address gun violence in the Commonwealth. They demanded action and we delivered."

While Northam made gains with his gun-control platform this week, his push to ban so-called assault weapons failed in February when a handful of moderate Democrats joined Republicans in shutting down the initiative in a Senate committee following protests from gun owners.

Undeterred, Northam has vowed to take up the assault weapons ban again next year, acknowledging that he "came up short" on that goal, ABC News reported. The governor vowed, "I will not stop."


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