Virginia GOP Hijacks Gov. Northam’s Special Session on Gun Control, Adjourns After 2 Hours

Gov. Northam’s political stunt ended quickly this week. (Photo: Gov. Ralph Northam Facebook)

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s much-touted special session to address “gun violence” ended with a whimper yesterday when the state’s Republican legislators moved to adjourn after being in session less than two hours and not debating or voting on any of Gov. Northam’s gun-control legislation.

The GOP argued that the governor’s special session was nothing more than a politically-motivated strategy to distract from his blackface scandal earlier this year. They said that none of Gov. Northam’s proposals would have stopped the Virginia Beach massacre, and the best response would have been to assign a blue-ribbon committee to address gun control and mental health, according to the Associated Press.

“Quite frankly, we need to take a little bit deeper look at these issues and actually do something rather than stage manage a vote in which we’re just trying to embarrass each other,” state Sen. Mark Obenshain told the AP.

Republicans assigned the state’s bipartisan crime commission to study the Virginia Beach shooting and the governor’s proposed legislation.

Gov. Northam and his gun control allies decried the move as “shameful” and suggested that the GOP is beholden to the pro-gun lobby.

“It is shameful and disappointing that Republicans in the General Assembly refuse to do their jobs, and take immediate action to save lives. I expected better of them. Virginians expect better of them,” Gov. Northam said in a statement.

SEE ALSO: Virginians Push Back on Gov. Northam’s Calls for Increased Gun Control

“Our lawmakers should be ashamed of themselves,” said Sibel Galindez, a Virginia Beach resident and a volunteer with the Virginia chapter of Moms Demand Action. “Today was an opportunity for state legislators to do something about the shootings that are tearing our communities apart. Instead, they played partisan games and caved to NRA pressure. It’s time to vote out lawmakers who have shown us, time after time, that they don’t have the heart or the backbone to stand up for public safety by strengthening our gun laws.”

In the Senate, the motion to adjourn was proposed by Republican Sen. Steve Newman after less than two hours in session. The Senate hadn’t debated or voted on any legislation until that point, though they had passed resolutions honoring those killed in Virginia Beach.

When the move to adjourn was made, Democratic Sen. Chap Peterson tried to debate the motion, but Republican Sen. Thomas K. Norment, Jr., pointed out that the motion was not debatable and he refused to cede the floor.

During the voice vote, Democrats could be heard yelling against the motion. Since the voice vote was unclear, the motion moved to a recorded vote, where it passed along party lines 20-18.

SEE ALSO: ‘Tools of Death!’ Suppressor Ban Introduced in U.S. Senate by NJ Sen. Menendez

Republicans hold slim majorities in both the House and the Senate, but all 140 seats in both chambers are on the ballot in November. The GOP’s move was likely motivated both by a commitment to Second Amendment rights and a desire to avoid contentious legislation that could damage their reelection chances in the fall.

The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence called Virginia Republicans “cowards” and vowed to unseat them in November.

“Today, Tommy Norment and Kirk Cox revealed themselves as nothing short of cowards. But if these ‘leaders’ won’t enact solutions that their own constituents are demanding, then we’re going to fight tooth and nail for representatives who will. There are 119 days between now and Election Day, and we are going to work every single one of them to ensure that the next time these votes come around, we’re going to see real and meaningful action instead of this shameful nonsense.”

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About the author: Jordan Michaels has been reviewing firearm-related products for over six years and enjoying them for much longer. With family in Canada, he’s seen first hand how quickly the right to self-defense can be stripped from law-abiding citizens. He escaped that statist paradise at a young age, married a sixth-generation Texan, and currently lives in Tyler. Got a hot tip? Send him an email at

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  • BRAD Lane April 25, 2020, 11:40 am

    J your right it is a shame that republican’s are not doing there job. they should have gov northrams placed in handcuffs. he is a traitor, and should be treated as such. all persons that have been elected to office not protecting the constitution, need to be stripped of there office and title. not to hold any office of any kind as long as they live.

  • Northwoodsman January 10, 2020, 11:07 am

    “When government fears the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny,”

  • Winston July 12, 2019, 1:00 pm

    When Trump bans suppressors ( as he did bump stocks and he also backs the anti-Bill of Rights ‘Red Flag Law’ ), maybe white ‘conservatives’ of the 99% will finally wake up and understand that there is no one in the corporate-Left halls of power on their side.

  • Michael Gothard July 12, 2019, 11:28 am

    How long will it take before people wake up and realize that the democrats intentions are gun confiscations, that’s their idea of control. And how long after destroying the 2A will it be before they come after the 1A, 4A…? Are the democrats going to give up their armed security forces? They are driving this country close to another civil war, but this will be one of Americans against democrats.

  • briguy July 12, 2019, 11:08 am

    As a resident in Virginia, (and one of the people who contacted my representative to not entertain Gov. Northam’s new laws) I’m happy that cooler heads prevailed. Though I think there should be some reforms, what Gov. Northam suggested wouldn’t have prevented that shooting in VA. Beach.

  • Clint W. July 12, 2019, 10:51 am

    “Today was an opportunity for state legislators to do something about the shootings that are tearing our communities apart…”

    Past tense people, you can’t do anything about past events. The people and groups that adhere to this above quote, will not do what is needed to stop similar incidents, because it goes so much deeper than the freedom to own a firearm. It goes back to LBJ’s ‘Great Society’ that destroyed the black family, it goes to the Democrats opening immigration back in the mid 60’s, the doors flung open after being basically shut since the 1920’s. it goes back to kicking God out of schools and the public arena. It goes back to legalizing all forms of perversions and drug access. Now it goes back to embracing the ideals of Socialism and Communism. What proof do I have? How many school, church and business shooting were there before 1960? When you could buy a Thompson submachine gun for 180 bucks and all the ammo you could carry from even a hardware store back in the 1930’s, who bought one and went to the nearest school? Yes, there is romanticized violence of the gang wars during prohibition, but it was not a nationwide epidemic as violence is today. Even Bonnie and Clyde did not kill as many as some of the modern wackos do. It is the people that are different, and they are only getting worse.

  • J July 12, 2019, 8:46 am

    “It is shameful and disappointing that Republicans in the General Assembly refuse to do their jobs, and take immediate action to save lives. I expected better of them. Virginians expect better of them,” Gov. Northam said…They did their job by not shitting all over peoples right and the constitution, lefties never learn.

  • SELDEN DENTON July 12, 2019, 7:24 am

    Good for the republicans finally showing some backbone. Lose your second amendment and the rest will soon follow.

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