/Northam sets date for Virginia legislatures special session on guns

Northam sets date for Virginia legislatures special session on guns

Justin Fairfax, Ralph Northam, Mark Herring

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (center) makes remarks as he held a news conference dealing with gun violence while Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax (left) and Attorney General Mark Herring (right) look on in Richmond, Va. on Tuesday. | Bob Brown/Richmond Times-Dispatch via AP

politics

06/07/2019 01:25 PM EDT

Virginia’s governor has set a July 9 start date for a special legislative session on gun-related legislation after last week’s deadly shooting rampage in Virginia Beach.

Gov. Ralph Northam announced the date Friday.

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The Democratic governor says the best way to respond to the May 31 mass shooting at a municipal building is with “votes and laws, not thoughts and prayers.” He wants the Republican-led General Assembly to consider gun-control measures including universal background checks and a ban on silencers . Police say the gunman who fatally shot 12 people used a silencer.

Northam can call the session but can’t dictate how it’s conducted. Republican leaders have given little indication they plan to follow his agenda.

Instead, they’ve said they’ll propose tougher penalties for those who use guns to commit crimes.

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