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Virginia Democrats Punish One Of Their Own For Voting Against Northam-Backed Gun Ban
Virginia Speaker of the House M. Kirkland "Kirk" Cox (R-Colonial Heights) presides over the House chamber during session as controversy swirls around the State Capitol February 07, 2019 in Richmond, VA.
Katherine Frey/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Democrats in the Virginia House of Delegates killed a bill that had been introduced by one of the state senators who joined Republicans to vote against a separate bill that would have banned “assault weapons” in the state.

A House panel was discussing a bill introduced by state Sen. Chap Petersen, which had passed unanimously in the state Senate, which would allow part-time law enforcement officers to purchase their service firearms when they retired. Currently, full-time officers can purchase their firearms once they retire.

Amy Friedenberger, state capitol correspondent for The Roanoke Times, reported that many of the people who were present when the bill was being discussed in the House suggested it was killed because Petersen had voted against Gov. Ralph Northam’s (D-VA) gun ban proposal. Friedenberger even suggested gun-control advocates liked Petersen’s bill.

“House panel dealing with guns killed a bill from Sen. @ChapPetersen, Democrat, that would have allowed part-time law enforcement to purchase their service firearms at retirement (only full-time can right now). It passed out of the Senate 40-0,” Friedenberger tweeted. “People in the room — including gun control advocates who liked the bill — believe Democrats killed it because Petersen voted against the assault weapons bill yesterday.”

Graham Moomaw, a reporter for The Virginia Mercury, also reported that Petersen appeared on “Fox and Friends” the morning his bill was killed to explain why he voted against the Northam gun ban.

“Sen. Chap Petersen, D-Fairfax, went on Fox and Friends this morning to explain why he voted against the assault weapon bill,” Moomaw tweeted. “‘I was surprised, frankly, that the bill came over from the House of Delegates,’ he says.”

Cam Edwards of Bearing Arms called the move by Virginia House Democrats “pure political pettiness,” and added that it is not Petersen who will be hurt by the move.

“Instead, it will be part-time law enforcement officers who bear the brunt of the anti-gun Democrats’ willingness to play games with public safety. House Democrats aimed for Petersen but ended up hitting Virginia residents, all because they wanted to send a message to Petersen that he’s going to pay a political price for his intransigence,” Edwards wrote.

More from Edwards:

Will House Democrats also target bills by Sen. John Edwards, who chaired the Judiciary Committee that sent HB961 off to the Virginia Crime Commission to be studied instead of voting to pass the gun ban? What about Sen. Creigh Deeds, the Democrat who was the one to propose letting the VCC study the bill instead of lawmakers voting on it? If not, why not? They’ve already demonstrated their petulance with the political temper tantrum they threw on Tuesday morning. Why stop now?

We have about three weeks left in the legislative session, and the more in-fighting among Senate and House Democrats the better. Many of the gun control proposals passed by the state Senate have been modified by the House of Delegates, and they’ll likely end up in a conference committee to hash out the differences. I suspect that behind closed doors, Democrats will work for a way to come to an agreement on the gun control bills, but stories like this give me a little bit of hope that the rancor will last long enough to kill the momentum for at least a few more of Ralph Northam’s gun control proposals, whether its [sic] in a conference committee or even on the Senate floor.”

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