Virginia Advances ‘Assault Weapons’ Ban in House

Despite a packed committee room in opposition to the bill, a House committee passed the “assault weapons” ban 12-9. (Photo: WAVY YouTube)

Update (2/11 4:54 PM): The full Virginia House voted to pass HB 961, which bans the sale and possession of “assault weapons,” magazines holding more than 12 rounds, and suppressors. Those who already own “assault weapons” and suppresses can keep their possessions without registering them. The House voted to pass the measure 51-48. The bill now heads to the Senate, where Democrats hold a 21-19 majority, but where moderate Democrats have said they will not support the measure, according to local media.

A Virginia House committee advanced this week a bill banning the sale, manufacture, and possession of “assault weapons,” “high-capacity” magazines, and suppressors (HB 961). The House Public Safety Committee passed the legislation on a 12-9 party-line vote and sent it to the full House for consideration.

The legislation will still need to pass the state Senate, where Democrats only hold a slim 19-21 majority and where some Democrats have hesitated to support the legislation, according to the Washington Examiner.

Virginia Citizens Defense League President Phil Van Cleave, whose organization has led many of the pro-2A efforts in the state, stressed in a live broadcast following the vote that HB 961 is still a long way from becoming law.

“They haven’t passed the bill into law. It’s nowhere near that step. There’s a series of steps these bills go through,” he explained. “It can die at any one of many points along the road, and we need to make sure that we do everything we can to stop it.”

As originally drafted by Virginia Assemblymember Mark Levine, HB 961 would have required those who owned “assault weapons” prior to the bill’s effective date to register their firearms with the state. The House committee amended the bill to eliminate that provision, but it still bans any future importation, sale, transfer, manufacture, or purchase of “assault weapons.”

SEE ALSO: Virginia House Passes Slate of Anti-Gun Measures, Including Universal Background Checks

The bill defines “assault weapons” along the same lines as bans in other states: any semi-automatic firearm (including a shotgun) that can accept detachable magazines and has a pistol grip, folding stock, flash suppressor, etc.

The bill will also ban magazines that can accept more than 12 rounds as well as suppressors.

At the committee hearing, pro-gun advocates massively outnumbered those in support of the bill. The crowd erupted after the bill’s passage, and law enforcement forced everyone out as the committee continued its business in any empty hearing room.

SEE ALSO: YouTube Quashed Live Streams of Virginia Gun Rights Rally

The state Senate killed a similar bill earlier this session, and supporters had been hopeful an “assault weapons” ban wouldn’t be considered again. But NRA spokesperson Catherine Mortensen suggested that the bill had only been stalled so its re-consideration could align with Democratic presidential candidate and long-time anit-gun activist Michael Bloomberg’s visit to the state.

“The fact is lawmakers delayed bringing up this bill so they could pander to Mike Bloomberg, their billionaire benefactor who will be in Richmond next week to headline a Democratic fundraiser to further enrich themselves,” Mortensen said, according to the Washington Examiner. “It is clear that House leaders would rather bow to out-of-state interests than listen to their constituents and fellow lawmakers.”

The VCDL recruited about 200 pro-gun activists to meet Bloomberg during his visit to Arlington and voice their disapproval of his gun control agenda.

Check out Phil Van Cleave’s full breakdown of the HB 961 vote below.

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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

{ 48 comments… add one }
  • Big Al February 17, 2020, 12:38 pm

    Some of you clowns need to give it a rest, the fact is that certain States WILL go down this road as they have a majority of Lefties supporting Lefties, calling the Republicans or Conservatives in those States names is just stupid.
    A Minority CANNOT win against the majority, in case some of you can’t do the math.
    California is the perfect example, if you expect a Republican majority there, you are dreaming.
    And some of the good people in those States will have little choice, they may have a lot invested in land or family in a State where they now feel outcast, and where leaving would be very tough for them.
    They are victims of a tyrannical majority, JUST as was predicted by several of the Founding Fathers.
    I find many of these posts outrageous in the blaming of a few outnumbered by the many.

  • Beachhawk February 15, 2020, 5:03 pm

    Good luck, Virginia. You elected a bunch of fanatical, gun-banning Democrats to run your state and now you have to live with that decision. Before they are done, every law abiding citizen in the Commonwealth will be disarmed and defenseless.

    • Cholmes February 25, 2020, 12:48 am

      Do you really think more than a few peeps are actually gonna comply with this , I give the rural folks alot more credit

  • The Bearded Pretender February 15, 2020, 12:01 am

    You Idiots voted them in, now deal with the consequences.
    Maybe you should have gotten off your asses and rallied against the Democrats.
    This should be a lesson to all you other lazy Gun Owner just sitting back on their fat asses and letting the other people tow the load.
    Get up, get involved, get people to ban together of sit down, STFU and let these anti gunner Democrats do you from behind.

  • Joe February 14, 2020, 4:20 pm

    I hope now all you idiots that voted these libtards in office will vote Republican next time!!!!!

  • John February 14, 2020, 3:20 pm

    What is happening in this country is exactly what our founders fought and died for in the war against a tyrannical king. We have come full circle and are at the precedence of another war against a tyrannical government. Our founders were worried this would happen again, that is why the 2nd amendment was put right behind the first amendment for free speech. They knew some where in our future history that we would need our weapons to protect our freedoms. What they didn’t know was that there would be so many complete moronic sheep who would cause all this up coming civil war. And a war there will be, unless you Virginians find your balls and stand the fuck up against a tyrannical state government led by a fucking asshole from NYC who has money to burn. This is your fight for your rights because you voted in a fucking liptard motherfucker. Where were all you sanctuary pro gun counties when the vote for governor came up. I will tell you where. Sitting home, being complacent assholes saying someone else will do it, and now you are the ones bitching about your gun rights being taken away. You are a day late and a dollar short on fucking brains. Put this pos governor up for a recall, and get your state back and throw that dumb fuck from NYC out when he lands in Richmond.

  • robert February 14, 2020, 1:30 pm

    hope they don’t ban a mans penis. that would be horrible.

  • Chevisn7 Tampa Florida February 14, 2020, 1:22 pm

    Virginia. You bring these problems upon yourself because you elected a left wing gun hating Democrat to run your state. Then you get pissed off when this asshole does exactly what he told you he was going to do. Take away your rights to bear arms. If you want this issue put to rest. Let your politicians know at the poles that you will only elect someone that believe in the Constitution of the United States and the Bill of rights. I for one am tired of every time some crazy person goes out and kills someone that my rights as a law abiding citizen are put to the test and some crazy left wing Democrat says I have to give up my rights because they have not got the balls to stand up for the Constitution. Put that crazy son of a bitch in jail and leave my rights alone. People do you realize that when you allow the government to take away your right to bear arms that only the crooks will have guns. Think about this. If you could not have a fire extinguisher in your home and you had to wait for the fire department to put out a fire your home would burn down. The same applies to the right to own an gun and defend yourself. Police only show up to defend after the crazy person has run out of bullets and he is finished killing your friends and family. They show up at your home only after it has been robed, your family raped and murdered and everything you have worked for all your life is gone. I for one will never give up my right to defend myself. As Charleston Heston once said. You can have my guns when you pry them from my cold dead hands. But understand when you send someone to try to take them. Those that you send will join me in my grave. Oh and one last point. The average actual gun fight where a homeowner has attempted to protect his family and wasn’t able to kill the intruder with the first round fired. The average rounds exchanged after that between the homeowner and the crook or crooks is between 15 and 30 rounds. Some have even been recorded as firing as many as 100 rounds. Screw the law about my only being allowed to have a 10 round clip in any of my guns. Good luck Virginia. You know what you need to do. Get the left wing gun hating money sucking Democrats out of your government. Put someone in their place that cares about your rights. Or don’t complain when you are forced to live in a Socialist Society where you have no rights. That is what Michael Bloomberg and Bernie Sanders have in store for you if they are elected in 2020

    • talonn February 15, 2020, 11:26 am

      my take . the second ammendment was especially written for americans to be able to protect themselves against their government, from doing exactly what they are doing. and it means you have a right to own whatever weapon you need to defend yourselves against your enemy. (government) the dems know this and know what it means. how can some people be so blind

    • Scotty Gunn February 15, 2020, 2:56 pm

      The gun owners did not vote the democrats in. So why are you lecturing them? Virginia got flooded with new immigrants intentionally placed there for just this reason. Then Soros gave a lot of money to the election to help elect a democrat.
      it will happen where you live, too, someday. Stand with your fellow gun owning Americans rather than acting like you are smarter than they are.

    • Al C February 15, 2020, 11:59 pm

      How can you write such stupidities. I didn’t bring these problems on to myself. I voted republican and it wasn’t enough. I left California for these very same reasons after living there for 20+ years, and the garbage followed me here to Virginia. There is nowhere else to run. Every state is being infected with this garbage. Arizona is next – and I lived there too. The entire country has been brainwashed starting at the kindergarten level – be afraid of your own shadow – tell your parents off – tell your teachers off – take God out of schools. What’s left – the garbage you see around you…. and it will be coming to you too – if Florida is your current location. The minority population have more rights than us tax paying, honest citizens.
      And watch, if these bills pass the senate, and the republicans ever retake Virginia, you think they’ll repeal any of these laws? Look at National Reciprocity, or the National Hearing Act – they had all 3 Federal houses and nothing happened – these scumbag politicians lie to all of us just to get in and stay in power.

    • Jerry wilson February 16, 2020, 1:07 pm

      Chevisn7 thanks for your input. You are so right. I am from Virginia and never in my life would I thought that one day I would be so concerned with Virginia turning over to communism. Just to let you know where I stand your beliefs and mind are very close to the same. And please know I did not vote for the communist that is running Virginia today. Thanks Buddy. Jerry

    • Ricky Price February 16, 2020, 2:35 pm

      With you 1,000 per cent.

    • Colin b November 28, 2020, 8:07 pm

      Ok I guess I’ll have to be “that guy”. It’s called a MAGAZINE! Not a clip. If you want to act all informed and educated on the subject of firearms and the laws pertaining to them at least use the proper terminology. And the average number of rounds fired in a self defense situation it 2-3 rounds. This is real life not the old west, not the military, and not the movies. Unless you are absolutely garbage at shooting your own firearm there’s no reason at any self-defense distance you should need to fire 15 to 30 rounds. Now with my little rant out of the way. If you want to keep your gun rights just move to Ohio. They aren’t getting stricter around here if anything they’re trying to loosen up restrictions around here. Even bumpstocks are under reconsideration at the moment. Just remember even if some stupid “assault rifle” or magazine ban/restriction happens don’t give in and under no circumstance let yourself get put on a list. Lists never end well. Just look at history.

  • Christopher Chason February 14, 2020, 1:11 pm

    Well, someday, the idiots are going too realize that “Assault Weapons” are EVERY weapon! A STICK becomes an “Assault Weapon” the moment you ASSAULT someone with it! Now, as for “Assault Rifles”? Since the AR-15 and all other Semi-Auto rifles DO NOT HAVE select fire capability, they are NOT ASSAULT RIFLES! So the new “Ban” on “Assault Rifles” only manages to BAN something that is ALREADY BANNED! (Unless you have an FFL!) I think the good people of Virginia should check and be sure that the “gov” has not banned ROPE? If not, BUY SOME and go have a Necktie Party at the crapitol!

    • Easy Eddie February 14, 2020, 2:31 pm

      Exactly. A gun, or a knife, or whatever, is simply a tool. I am the weapon. Take away a man’s firearms and he can probably quickly cobble up something that will prove more deadly.

    • Ted February 14, 2020, 3:37 pm

      Full auto weapons are not “banned” in MOST states ! The “transferable ” ( anything registered PRE 1986) ones are just UN AFFORDABLE to most people. You do NOT need a FFL to own one, just tons of money and live in a “free state” !

    • Darrell February 14, 2020, 10:24 pm

      In Washington my 10/22 is a Assault weapons

  • kjj1564 February 14, 2020, 12:45 pm

    This is how the democrats roll, first try to take away all gun rights by making it a felony for the American people to posses one, leave everyone vulnerable to home invasions. Then hide behind guns for there personal protection.

  • Dexter Winslett February 14, 2020, 12:36 pm

    Water the Tree!

  • John Bianco February 14, 2020, 12:33 pm

    I read a few comments. The people who want to protect their home, families and, neighbors from whom? Who or what exactly are you afraid of? Is it the guy down the street with more and bigger guns? Is it your local police?, other militia’s, The federal government? or is it just because you ” have a right ” to own any kind of weapon you want because of the 2nd amendment? This is beginning to sound like a hoarders convention. The more I have the badder I am, you be bad. Are you expecting a civil war to break out and you just want to be prepared?, Who would you be fighting? how successful would you be at winning. Seriously, I’m curious about your motivations and how you view your future. I’m not asking to agitate anyone but, just so I can better understand…

    • Willie-O February 14, 2020, 2:06 pm

      Think about this for a moment – the men that wrote the Constitution also included a Bill of Rights. The only RIGHT deemed more important than our RIGHT to bear arms was our RIGHT to openly discuss things and express our point of view. If the 1st amendment fails, refer to the 2nd. These supposedly “inalienable” rights obviously aren’t and our founding fathers knew this was possible, if not likely. Enough said.

    • Fergus Boone February 14, 2020, 9:01 pm

      I am afraid of people like you buttercup. People who don’t trust their fathers, mothers, brothers, wifes, coworkers, friends, to own firearms to defend themselves. You ask against whom? I realize you are an idiot because surely yo leave your door open at night because the world is populated with godly people who wish you well.

      God gave me commonsense he apparently didn’t give you. I want a gun because I can’t carry a cop with me.
      I want a gun because I do not trust the government to protect me. especially since the SCOTUS has repeatedly ruled the police have no responsibility to protect you. So who will protect me against the criminal class and with what.

      Am I to use narwal tusks as the British have been reduced to? I do realize you have been denied either the commonsense or ability to recognize that there are those who wish to harm you and hope you do not meet your inevitable fate too soon. But I do not wish to share your meeting with a psycho killer if you don’t mind. We see this all too often in NYC, Seattle, Dan Francisco, Chicago, Philly, Baltimore where your particular mental illness predominates. Why is it that despite these strict gun controls crime rates are so much higher than in areas where these laws do not exist. Common sense tells us. A trait that eludes the Leftards among us.

      So let me tell you something. In 1775 some gun grabbers decided a bunch of Americans shouldn’t be allowed to own guns as they would disturb the peace and upset their sensibilities. Our forefathers tried to set them straight but some hothead let the matter get out of hand, must have been a Smallwell type or perhaps a Bloomberg. To make it short, at Lexington and Concord the British learned that Americans do not get their rights from their alien overlords. Nor do they take the violation or threats of their rights lightly.

      So keep poking the bear buttercup. Molon Lobe.

    • Robert l Gault February 15, 2020, 1:17 am

      You should direct your comments and questions about motivations and view of the future to the good people of Venezuela, who, five years ago were asked by their Socialist government to register their guns. Shortly after that, of course, the government seized their guns. Today, people survive by eating rats or anything else the can find. They would very much like to overthrow their government, which is now run by a Dictator. Unfortunately, they cannot because they are unarmed while the government is very well armed.

      This is always the results of Socialism. You say it couldn’t happen here? If you believe that you must have been asleep the last few years or brain dead. The very same thing is happening in some Central America countries as I write this.

      Wake up!

    • Scotty Gunn February 15, 2020, 3:01 pm

      It is a right to be able to defend yourself and to own and enjoy firearms as a hobby. Being able to defend yourself in and of itself is a deterrent. It is a Right.
      Where I live, there is only state police protection, no locals. I am a half mile from my neighbors. If a bad person came here, I am on my own. Same for my family. From whom? Anyone that might want to steal or harm us. Your asking this shows ignorance of how the world is today. That’s okay, your husband will protect you….

  • Robert Frasconi February 14, 2020, 12:04 pm

    I’m sure the red flag statute advocate, gun accessory banner, and Tweeter-in-chief is on the job.

  • Troop Emonds February 14, 2020, 12:03 pm

    I like the idea of all counties in Virginia who’s counties who want to leave Virginia and join West Virginia, do so.

    Virginia can have their own little commie/Nazi state.

  • joe jensen February 14, 2020, 11:14 am

    People of Virginia, especially the law abiding gun owners. You have my sympathy. I read the book from tactical survival called 2ND Amendment Rights. It did outline and tell all about the right to bear arms and defend your home.Educated and responsible gun ownership is the way to defeat these anti-gun politicians at the polls. We must create awareness among the voting public as to what is going on with anti-gun laws and politicians.

  • Clint W. February 14, 2020, 10:07 am

    Virginia is now in the orbit of other states like NY, CA, ILL and Colorado, with many other states slowly moving that way too. It has large urban areas with more people than the rest of the state that decide who the US Senators and President will be by the sheer numbers of votes available. They will make gun laws because they elect politicians who want them. If you are in any of those states, and do not live in the large cities, you vote is pretty much worthless. I have camped all over with my family, and talking to the backwoods residents of NY, they turn out to be just as patriotic, red neck, gun owning as any Southern stater, and get more locale specific in their disdain for New York City Yankees as much as everybody else, but their vote, except in House of Representatives areas, counts for nothing.

    • Marshall Mayes February 15, 2020, 7:17 pm

      We are the same here in California, Sacramento and Los Angles and San Francisco run this state, we conservatives have no say here

  • Higgs Boson February 14, 2020, 9:59 am

    Democrats? JFK was a democrat. These America hating pukes are nothing close to a democrat. We’ve spilled American blood to fight their ideals in Korea, Viet Nam and endured several decades of having their twisted agenda grow out of control and shoved down our throats. They’ve reached a stone wall in moving it forward and they have to disarm the public before it can advance totally.
    They keep pushing and encroaching and sooner or later and they’re going to get the guns they’re after…the wrong end and lead first.

  • Robert J. Lucas February 14, 2020, 8:34 am


    What are you afraid of? I will tell what I fear, the erosion of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights without due process in which the foundations of this country have existed upon for over two centuries. The re-interpretation, and the re-defining of these original documents is a perverted insult to the legal citizens of the United States. Many U.S. Families, including mine, since the inception of these documents have shed their blood to protect these foundations, and continue to do so in the present day. Our forefathers did not arm the American people for hunting, but rather to protect themselves from those who were doing the hunting, namely the tyrant King George. The second amendment is only to vouchsafe our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and to ensure all the other rights given unto us by our Creator.
    The wisdom of the framers of the Constitution once again is found consistent with the lessons of the Bible they used as their bedrock for civil law. The people’s individual protection should always be a primary concern of government “of the people”. In a righteous country, self-government reigns by the constraint of Christian morals. The civil government that desires such a monopoly of force (i.e. they are the only ones with guns) is a threat to the lives, liberty, and property of its citizens, for that government ceases to be “of and for the people.”
    Anti-constitutionalist’s stand for nothing. The situation determines their support for an issue and their emotions rule, not reason and rationality.
    The self- proclaimed “social-justice warriors” hopes that no one has educated themselves on past extermination history that this globe has suffered time and time again, which proves their circle of insanity.
    Anti-Constitutionalist’s=Anti-Americans=Enemies of the United States…
    “The right of decent private United States citizens to personally possess, transport, and responsibly use arms without government interference is the ultimate freedom and the main pillar supporting all other liberties.”
    “The inalienable and fundamental right to keep and bear arms which is enumerated by (but predates) the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is not about hunting, gun collecting, or target shooting. Its purpose is to ensure that every RESPONSIBLE American personally possesses the means to defend the Republic from all forms of tyranny, within and without. It is what permits the other nine Amendments in the Bill of Rights to be more than mere hollow phrases on a piece of paper. “Its free exercise is the antithesis of serfdom and THE ONLY MEANINGFUL FORM OF HOLOCAUST INSURANCE KNOWN TO MAN”.

  • Christopher February 14, 2020, 8:30 am

    Wow. I for one did not think the general gun owning public could purchase an “assault weapon”. And what is defined as an “assault weapon” ? A rifle that looks like an assault weapon but isn’t ? Virginia has some very serious problems that can only be remedied at the ballot box. I own an AR-15 chambered in .223. I also own a Ruger Mini-14 Ranch Rifle. These two rifles use the exact same ammunition. They are both semi-automatic. They both send rounds downrange as fast as I can pull the trigger. They both have 5,10,20 and thirty round magazine capabilities. Nobody (so far) has ever held up a Ruger Mini-14 at a anti gun event and called it bad and evil. What thee heck is wrong with these politicians ??? Vote them out Virginia, and help us take our country back !

  • Liberty February 14, 2020, 8:00 am

    Everyonce in a while, u need a 1776 to set things straight again

  • John C February 14, 2020, 7:42 am

    Vote all liberal socialist politicians out as soon as possible!!!!

    • Ghost February 14, 2020, 8:41 am

      A headless snake.

      • Fergus Boone February 14, 2020, 9:03 pm

        After you have cut off the snake’s head, burn out its nest.

  • Area52 February 14, 2020, 7:25 am

    The lesson here is; it’s easier to show up on election day and keep the democrats out of office than to show up at multiple gun rallies trying to keep gun bans from passing.

    • Paul February 14, 2020, 12:53 pm

      You are assuming the elections aren’t rigged. That’s how dems gain and keep control. They lie cheat and steal their way into office. Dead people voting, illegals voting, people being bussed around to vote multiple times in different districts and electronic tampering called “Fractional Magic”. Only a overwhelming landslide can overcome the kinds of tactics they use. Unbiased exit polls showed Trump had 67% of voters supporting him and Hillary only had 14% and yet the numbers were neck and neck. It will likely take an even greater landslide to win future elections unless the cheaters are exposed and locked up. The deep state traitors should be running from arrest warrants not running for office.

    • Jim February 14, 2020, 1:17 pm

      Years of forced and liberal planned immigration into Virginia changed the voting majority from Republicans to Democrats. The general public can only stand by and watch.

  • thomas jefferson February 14, 2020, 6:57 am

    I ask you, Virginians, is it not way past time to water the tree of Liberty? Is it not way past time to utilize the 2nd amendment specifically for what it was intended? Tyrants will never stop at an inch given, but will take the mile. Best to act now, while you still can.

    • Ghost February 14, 2020, 8:39 am

      Cut the head off the snake, the snake dies..So will the rest of it..

      • John Rogers February 15, 2020, 2:12 pm

        Nice to see another person who gets it.

  • terry bell February 14, 2020, 6:48 am

    this is what Bloomberg done to VA and now he wants to do the same to the country as president,he must be stoped there are too many communist trying to take over our country.

  • Jack V February 14, 2020, 6:45 am

    Glad I don’t live in Virginia! All theses lawmakers should investigate how many innocent people are seriously injured and killed by cell phone use in vehicles on public roads and highways!

    • Godfrey Washington February 14, 2020, 8:49 am

      Stay vigilant! I used to say the same thing (glad I dont live there!) and now look at VA! Or I guess we call us california jr.

  • wampuscat February 11, 2020, 4:22 pm

    I was trying to think up some smart ass remark and then I realized this is simply a way for democrats to appear to be doing something, the reality is that I’m sure there are more pressing issues in the state, but they have no expertise or ability to deal with real problems.

    • Jim February 15, 2020, 10:33 pm

      Thank you, I was thinking the exact same thing.
      Surely there is some serious problem that needs to be addressed in VA other than their fear of the ominous black rifle.
      It’s long past time for the elected officials to get busy fixing budgets, working on jobs and the economy, repairing our infrastructure, providing for our children and grandchildren’s future.
      They have lost touch with who they work for and why.
      Time to remind many of them that they are working a temp job.

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