VA Democrats Back New Gun Control Bills

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Democrats in the Virginia House of Delegates and Senate are backing new gun control legislation in the wake of the deadly shootings in Newtown, Connecticut one month ago.

Delegate Patrick Hope and State Senator Adam Ebbin are co-sponsoring a package of new bills. One would tighten restrictions on weapons sales to the mentally ill. Others would require universal background checks on all gun purchases, including unlicensed sales at gun shows, closing the so-called "gun show loophole."

"We're just searching for common sense solutions in closing this gaping loophole in our laws that will prevent future gun violence," Hope said Tuesday.

But Republicans aren't buying those ideas.

"Emotional reactions to complex issues are not productive," Todd Gilbert, House of Delegates deputy majority leader, said in a statement. "Republicans in the House of Delegates are focused on making our communities stronger and safer through reasonable public safety laws."

The GOP is backing legislation to fund an expansion of school resource and safety officers, and expand targeted mental health programs.