Former Vice President Joe Biden blasted the Virginia State Senate Judiciary Committee for voting to put a hold on HB961, the "assault weapons" ban and magazine confiscation bill, for the rest of the year on Monday. The Judiciary Committee instead ordered a crime commission to study the bill.
The bill would have banned AR-15s and other similar styles of rifles and banned being able to own magazines that hold more than 12 rounds. It was defeated in a 10-5 vote, with four Democrats joining the Republicans.
When the bill was defeated, a majority of those in the committee room, including county sheriffs, broke out in celebration.
"Assault weapons and high-capacity magazines are designed for one purpose—to kill as many people as possible as quickly as possible. There is no reason to have these weapons of war in our communities," Biden said in a press release.
"I commend the Virginia legislature for the steps they have taken to enact sensible gun safety measures, but I'm disappointed that the measure to limit the sale of assault weapons and to ban high-capacity magazines will not have the opportunity for a vote in the Virginia Senate," Biden continued. "People are dying everyday. We cannot continue to delay action."
Virginia House Delegate Mark Levine, who had been pushing for HB961, thanked Biden for the statement and promised they "will be back."
Thank you, Joe Biden, for your courage and your statesmanship. Your legislation did save lives. And we can do it again. https://t.co/SsmsgEYjCG— Mark Levine (@DelegateMark) February 18, 2020
We will be back. https://t.co/6ZMAn3wDM9— Mark Levine (@DelegateMark) February 17, 2020
Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates Eileen Filler-Corn said, "The Democratic platform last fall was very clear. Limiting access to weapons of war used in mass murder was a key part of that platform. The House of Delegates delivered on our promise to take action to keep those weapons off our streets."