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Virginia Moves for Greater Gun Control

Four gun control bills are being considered by Virginia's state Congress, following up the ban to firearms in the Capitol.

According to The Washington Post, the bills would require background checks on all gun purchases, permit law enforcement to temporarily remove guns from anyone found to be a risk to themselves or other persons, allow local governments to ban weapons for certain events and government facilities, and limit handgun purchases to one per month.

The bills were advanced by the state Senate's Judiciary Committee and will now be considered by the full Senate.

Virginia's Congress, now with a Democratic majority, banned legislators, staff, and visitors from bringing firearms into the Capitol and is expected to consider additional gun-control bills later in the year. The anticipated bills would ban the sale of assault weapons; however, it would still be legal to possess such weapons. 

According to the local CBS station, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam supported the ban on firearms in the Capitol by declaring a state of emergency. The reason behind the ban was a credible threat to the public, similar in style to the violence that occurred at a 2017 protest in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Several gun rights activists protested Congress on 13 January, claiming the restrictions would violate constitutional rights. 

On 16 January, the FBI arrested three persons suspected of being part of a white-supremacist group, charging them on federal gun and alien-harboring allegations. The arrests came in response to an increasing safety concern over gun rights protests expected to occur at the state capital next week, beginning on Monday.