Unsurprisingly, many Virginians feel strongly about preserving their second amendment rights, and the state has traditionally enforced a more permissive stance toward firearm ownership. But now, lawmakers are tossing around ideas like an "assault weapons ban" - language that has been criticized as vague and even nonsensical. Several moderate Democrats have even expressed reservations about supporting a sweeping gun-control bill if it includes the ban.
"A lot of people don't really understand assault weapons and how complicated the issue really is," said Democratic Sen. John Edwards. "It's going to be very difficult to figure out a way to do it. But we're studying it, that's all I can say."
And yet, lawmakers are pressing ahead, prompting a vicious backlash that has even prompted Gov. Northam to declare a state of Emergency because armed militia groups planned to storm the capitol.