Elections, as they say, have consequences. For proponents of gun regulation, that lesson has been especially tough in Virginia, where by my count the state Senate has killed sixteen different pieces of firearms legislation. The latest, SB 1, was the best hope for a bump stock ban in the Commonwealth:
Republicans on a Senate subcommittee killed a bill to ban firearm “bump stocks” on Wednesday after a victim of the Las Vegas concert shooting last year asked them to advance the bill to the Senate floor.
Members of the public safety subcommittee of the Senate Finance Committee voted 3-2 to end Sen. Adam Ebbin’s Senate Bill 1, which had previously cleared the Senate Courts of Justice Committee.
The bill would have banned the manufacture, import, sale or offer to sell, possession, transfer or transportation of any device used to increase the rate of fire of a semi-automatic firearm.
A parallel bill in the House had already died in committee. Amazingly, Republicans blamed the cost of the legislation for it's defeat, even though Gov. Terry McAuliffe's budget included money to cover the cost of incarceration for anyone convicted under the law. The cost of not passing this legislation was not mentioned.
Almost all of the votes to kill these bills in both the Senate and the Virginia House of Delegates have been party-line affairs. Republicans have the barest possible margins in Virginia, but they are using them consistently and effectively to stop attempts at regulations like the bump stock bill.
It bears mentioning that Democratic committee members Louise Lucas and Janet Howell have been standouts in their consistent support for all of these bills, but as long as Republicans have a majority - even if it's only a single vote, even in a rapidly bluing place like Virginia, they won't be able to get much done.