In Session

In Session

Show and Tell

The hidden camera footage is shaky and brief. But state Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-30) and Del. Patrick Hope (D-47) believe it will change the momentum of the gun debate.

The YouTube clip documents the sale of a firearm at a gun show. Although the seller asks for a driver's license, he does not conduct a background check to see if the buyer has a record. Now Ebbin and Hope want to use the clip as yet another piece of evidence in what they see as a mounting case in favor of gun control. Specifically, the two lawmakers want to require background checks for all private sales of guns in Virginia.

“We easily purchased a handgun at a Virginia gun show, without undergoing a background check,” said Ebbin and Hope in a written statement. “In the interest of community safety, it's not too much to ask for responsible gun purchasers to undergo a background check to screen for criminal history or history of serious mental illness.”

The lawmakers unveiled their legislation during a press conference at the Capitol Tuesday. Hope displayed a High Standard Sentinel revolver he purchased for $175. Ebbin produced a 30-round magazine he bought for $20. The show-and-tell effort was aimed at providing props in the ongoing effort to crack down on gun safety in the wake of a recent school shooting in Connecticut, where a gunman killed 20 children and seven adults.

“Buying a 30-round magazine should not be as easy as buying a candy bar,” said Ebbin.

Here They Come

Are authorities coming to take your guns away? If you are dangerous, the answer may be yes.

Del. Rob Krupicka (D-45) has introduced legislation that would provide law-enforcement officials with new authority to quickly remove guns from people who pose an imminent threat to themselves or others. House Bill 2263 creates a requirement for health officials to report individuals who have made threats of violence to others or themselves. It also authorizes police to temporarily seize guns from individuals who are under investigation.

“It doesn't take guns away indefinitely. There's a due process that allows people to get their guns back,” said Krupicka. “Gun advocates who want to protect their own access to guns are going to have a hard time arguing that people with mental illness should keep their guns.”

Raises for Teachers?

State Sen. George Barker (D-39) hopes that his Senate colleagues will agree to a 3 percent raise in teachers' salaries this year. Barker said increasing teacher salaries will help close achievement gaps in Virginia. As a result, he has introduced the effort as a budget amendment, which will be considered toward the end of the session.

“We'd like to go higher than that,” said Barker in a written statement. “But we want to operate within the budget constraints that we have.”

Birth Control Wars

Last year, Del. Charniele Herring (D-46) made so many appearances on MSNBC, some were joking that she would eventually have her own show. That hasn't happened yet, but Herring's newfound status as a party leader helped her snag the role of chairwoman of the Democratic Party of Virginia. Now Herring finds herself at the vanguard of efforts to oppose Republican efforts on social issues - especially efforts by Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and Del. Bob Marshall (R-13) to limit availability of birth control.

“Virginia families need a governor who brings a mainstream approach to growing jobs and the economy,” Herring said in a written statement this week, “not the extreme Cuccinelli-Marshall agenda to inject government between a woman and her doctor.”

Herring's comments came after Cuccinelli suggested opponents of a federal mandate to offer birth control coverage should “go to jail” rather than follow the law.