A bill that would ban guns within 40 feet of any polling place in Virginia passed the Senate Judiciary Committee Monday.
“My Safe Elections Bill (HB2081), banning guns at polling places and vote counting centers, just passed the Senate Judiciary Committee! This bill protects both voters and election workers from intimidation. Those with guns don’t make the rules. Voters do,” Delegate Mark Levine (D-VA-45) said on Twitter.
My Safe Elections Bill (HB2081), banning guns at polling places and vote counting centers, just passed the Senate Judiciary Committee! This bill protects both voters and election workers from intimidation. Those with guns don't make the rules. Voters do. pic.twitter.com/xYfqfngzWl
— Mark Levine (@DelegateMark) February 15, 2021
Levine’s bill passed the House of Delegates on January 25 along party lines.
As indicated by its name, Democrats believe stripping law-abiding citizens of their gun rights will make elections safer.
The bill passed the Senate Judiciary Committee along party lines, too, with one Democrat, Chap Peterson (D-District 34) abstaining.
The bill “[p]rohibits any person from knowingly possessing a firearm within 40 feet of any building, or part thereof, used as a polling place, including one hour before and one hour after its use as a polling place.”
Exceptions for law enforcement officers and retired law enforcement officers, licensed security security guards, and people whose private property might be within 40 feet of a polling place are part of the bill.
HB 2081 also bans weapons from any place used to tally the results of an election.
“The bill further provides that no person shall knowingly possess a firearm within 40 feet of a meeting place for the local electoral board while the electoral board meets to ascertain the results of an election or any place used as the setting for a recount,” the text says.
It now heads for the Senate floor.
The New Virginia Majority, a progressive nonprofit that describes itself as a “multi-issue, multiracial, multilingual movement for a just and democratic Virginia,” celebrated the vote on Twitter, calling it “great news.”
Great news: HB 2081, which bans possession of a gun within 40 feet of a building being used as a polling place, reports out of the Senate Judiciary Committee, 8-6!🎉 pic.twitter.com/v6i2Umjqtz
— New Virginia Majority (@NewVAMajority) February 15, 2021
The Virginia legislature is held by Democrats, and Gov. Ralph Northam (D) has been known for his Second Amendment restrictionism.
Last year, Northam signed into law several gun control measures, including Extreme Risk Protective Orders, otherwise known as “Red Flag Laws.” He also signed a law limiting Virginians to purchasing only one handgun per month.
“We lose too many Virginians to gun violence, and it is past time we took bold, meaningful action to make our communities safer,” he said at the time. “I was proud to work with legislators and advocates on these measures, and I am proud to sign them into law. These commonsense laws will save lives.”
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