RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – Virginia lawmakers are set to assemble Tuesday for what will likely be a contentious legislative session on gun laws.
Gov. Ralph Northam called the special session last month shortly after a Virginia Beach city employee opened fire on his coworkers at a municipal building on May 31 and killed twelve people.
Northam is a Democrat faced with a gun-friendly, Republican-controlled General Assembly. He is urging action on a several gun-control measures. He said lawmakers owe the victims of gun violence “votes and laws, not thoughts and prayers,” but has conceded his proposals wouldn’t necessarily have stopped the Virginia Beach massacre.
Republicans have criticized the governor as an opportunist trying to exploit a tragedy for political gain. They’ve indicated they plan to push legislation implementing new mandatory minimum penalties for repeat domestic abusers, which Northam has said he won’t sign.