The Virginia House of Delegates has voted to pass House Bill 961 – a statewide ban on the sale of widely owned semi-automatic firearms, as well as the possession of suppressors and of magazines capable of holding 12 or more rounds of ammunition.

The bill, introduced by Northern Virginia Democrat Mark Levine, has faced widespread opposition from legislators and citizens alike and was listed as a top concern of Lobby Day attendees last month.

Passing the House by a hyperpartisan vote of 51-48, the bill is seen as such a legislative overreach that even a few Democrats joined in voting against it. It will now head to the Senate, where a previous push to pass a similar bill has already failed.

In a press release made shortly after the vote was held, the NRA credited Michael Bloomberg’s “bought and paid for lawmakers” with the bill’s passage and warned Virginians of Bloomberg and the Democrats’ end game.

“House Bill 961, as amended, is a comprehensive ban on many commonly-owned semi-automatic firearms, suppressors, and standard capacity magazines. Though the committee amended the bill to allow citizens to keep currently owned firearms and suppressors, confiscation is undoubtedly still the end goal. There is no option for citizens to keep their lawfully acquired magazines with capacities greater than twelve rounds, forcing millions of Virginians to dispose of their property, become a criminal, or surrender them to the government.”

Delegate Dave LaRock, a Republican who serves the 33rd District, posted to Twitter after the vote, drawing attention to a side effect of the bill that is not often discussed.

If HB 961 passes the Senate, it will most certainly be challenged in court and seen as blatant government overreach in violation of the constitutions of both Virginia and the United States.

When that happens, Mark Herring and the Virginia Attorney General’s Office will be using lots of taxpayer dollars to fight for the law to remain intact.

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