2 Henrico delegates offer different plans for reducing gun violence


Two Henrico delegates agree measures need to be taken to lessen gun violence, but offer different approaches to regulation.

Del. Joseph Morrissey, D-Henrico, is focusing on a bill that would ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines that hold 20 or more rounds.

HB 2207 would make the import, sale, barter and transfer of assault firearms a Class 6 felony, and the import, sale, barter and transfer of high-capacity magazines a Class 1 misdemeanor, respectively. Law enforcement officers and military personnel would be exempt from this legislation.

“To me it’s an absolute no-brainer to ban these assault weapons,” said Morrissey, who has served as a delegate since 2008.

The federal ban on assault weapons expired in 2004, and now Congress is considering reintroducing this legislation in the wake of recent mass shootings.

President Obama and Vice President Biden spoke on Wednesday encouraging Congress to pass legislation to help reduce gun violence including: stronger background checks, bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, increased safety measures at schools and greater access to mental health services.

“I think Virginia ought to act now,” Morrissey said. “There is no use, legitimate use, for these automatic rifles and high capacity magazines, save causing mass carnage and destruction.”

The gunmen used these weapons and magazines in the mass shootings at Virginia Tech, Aurora, Colo. and Newtown, Conn.

“There is no place for these weapons except for perhaps on the battlefield,” Morrissey said.

These guns are not used for sport, for target practice or for defending yourself, he said.

“A blind person, pointed anywhere near it, could hit a target with 100 shots,” he said.

Del. John O’Bannon, R-Henrico, does not believe that the best route for reducing gun violence is through changing the current laws regulating firearms, but instead the focus should be on offering more help to people with mental illness.

“Virginia’s already had one terrible disaster in a school at Virginia Tech,” he said, “and we actually learned a lot from that. We responded and did some things to try to improve the way we handle folks who have mental heath issues, mental illness. And I really think we have a lot more opportunity to make things safer and reduce the chance of that happening in that venue.”

Gov. Bob McDonnell put together a school safety task force with a group focusing on education and another focusing on mental health. O’Bannon is a member of the mental health portion of the task force under Bill Hazel, Virginia secretary of health and human resources. The group is meeting this afternoon.

HB 2207 was assigned to the House Militia, Police and Public Safety subcommittee #1, which was set to meet Jan. 17.
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New law will expand business development sites

The commonwealth, and especially its rural areas, may get an economic boost under legislation signed into law this week by Gov. Terry McAuliffe.

At a ceremony with the legislation’s sponsors and the state’s secretary of commerce, McAuliffe signed two bills reducing the size of industrial sites that qualify for assistance from the Virginia Economic Development Partnership.
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New law paves way for delivery robots

Having your groceries delivered by a robot sounds like something out of The Jetsons, but that prospect is not as futuristic as you may think.

For the second year in a row, the Virginia General Assembly has passed a law to legalize the operation of autonomous vehicles. Beginning July 1, “electric personal delivery devices” will be allowed to operate on sidewalks and other shared-use paths throughout Virginia.

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Virginia schools soon must test for lead in water

With the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, safe drinking water is a high priority nationwide, especially for children. Beginning July 1, schools in Virginia will be required to test their potable water for lead.

Senate Bill 1359, which Gov. Terry McAuliffe signed into law on March 20, seeks to ensure that local school boards test the drinking water in schools and that it meets federal guidelines. The Food and Drug Administration recommends that the level of lead not exceed 15 parts per billion. > Read more.

Business in brief


The Virginia Society of Certified Public Accountants (VSCPA) has announced its officers and Board of Directors for the 2017–18 fiscal year. At-large Board members include: Anne B. Hagen, CPA, of Masonic Home of Virginia in Henrico. The officers and directors were sworn in at the VSCPA’s annual business meeting on May 16 in Williamsburg. > Read more.

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Parkrun began in England in 2004 and eventually found its way to the U.S.

The Deep Run Parkrun program will be the 10th one in the U.S., said Darrell Stanaford, the country manager for Parkrun USA. > Read more.

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Innsbrook After Hours continues its 32nd year with Aaron Lewis’ The Sinner Tour and special guest Travis Marvin. After releasing seven studio albums between 1996 and 2011 with his rock band Staind, singer, songwriter and guitarist Aaron Lewis went solo — and he went country. Gates open at 5 p.m. Show begins at 6 p.m. Tickets start at $20. Net proceeds from the concert series benefit the American Constitution Spirit Foundation and the Innsbrook Foundation. Rain or shine. For tickets and more information, call the IAH Hotline at 423-1779 or visit http://www.innsbrookafterhours.com. Full text

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