Virginia Senate passes gun storage legislation

Published: Jan. 31, 2023 at 7:17 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WDBJ) - The Virginia Senate has passed legislation that would require gun owners to lock up their firearms when minors are at home.

The measure was introduced before a six-year-old shot his teacher in Newport News earlier this month, but supporters of the legislation say the incident shows why the law is needed.

Opponents say current law already applies.

“When we look at the law today, the law already has a criminal penalty for recklessly handling a firearm allowed if the child is under the age of fourteen,” said Sen. Ryan McDougle (R-Hanover Co.). “That’s the law today.”

“This is a way to say you’ve actually got to lock it up and keep the key away from someone where they cannot get to it,” countered Sen. Jennifer Boysko (D-Fairfax Co.). “Our children are dying.”

The bill passed the Senate on a vote of 22 to 16. It faces a more difficult path in the House of Delegates.