Date set for session on guns after Virginia Beach shooting

June 7, 2019
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, left, makes remarks at a press conference dealing with gun violence while Attorney General Mark Herring, center and Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran, right, look on inside the Patrick Henry Building in Richmond, VA Tuesday, June 4, 2019. The governor issued an executive order calling for a special session of the legislature later this month to deal with the situation. (Bob Brown/Richmond Times-Dispatch via AP)

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — 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.

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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