Virginia governor’s gun crackdown proposal could affect millions of residents

The plan to ban the sale and possession of certain kinds of firearms proposed by Virginia governor Ralph Northam (D.) could affect millions of gun owners, an industry group said on Friday.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), which represents gun manufacturers and dealers, said the vague description of the legislation released by Northam on Jan. 4 would apply to most firearms currently on sale in the commonwealth.

"The legislative proposals being discussed would put most firearms beyond the reach of law-abiding Virginians who choose the firearms of their choice to protect themselves, hunt, and practice recreational target shooting," said Lawrence G. Keane, the group's general counsel. "That could potentially impact the availability of tens of millions of firearms."

While short on details, Northam's announcement said part of the proposed gun-control package would ban the "sale, purchase, possession, and transport" of undefined "assault firearms" including "any firearm that is equipped with a magazine that holds more than 10 rounds of ammunition." Since the vast majority of semiautomatic handguns and rifles in the state are sold standard with magazines capable of holding 10 or more rounds, it appears the proposed ban would affect most firearms on sale in Virginia. Additionally, the announcement of the ban did not include mention of any grandfathering to allow what NSSF estimated would be millions of Virginians who already own such firearms to legally keep them.

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