(CNSNews.com) -- A bill being pushed by Democrats in the Virginia legislature would make it a Class 1 misdemeanor to carry, buy, sell, import or transfer firearm magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition. House Delegate Kathy Tran (D-Va.) is the primary sponsor of the legislation, and she also supports a ban on semi-automatic rifles, such as the AR-15.
In the November election, Democrats won control over the Virginia House and Senate, which they will assume in January; Ralph Northam, a liberal Democrat, is the governor of Virginia.
The bill, HB2492, would prohibit a person from carrying a gun with a magazine that could hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition in a public space in Virginia; a similar bill has been introduced in the Virginia Senate (SB1748). According to the House bill, the only exception to this rule would be for firearms used by law enforcement officers.
The summary of the proposed law states, “Prohibits any person from importing, selling, bartering, or transferring a firearms magazine designed to hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition. A violation is a Class 1 misdemeanor.
“The bill prohibits a person from carrying a shotgun with a magazine that will hold more than seven rounds of the longest ammunition for which it is chambered in a public place….
“The bill redefines ‘assault firearm’ by reducing the number of rounds of ammunition that a firearms magazine will hold in order to be defined as an ‘assault firearm’ from more than 20 to more than 10….”
For instance, if you own a semi-automatic pistol that holds 10 rounds of ammunition in its stock magazine, it would be illegal to purchase a longer magazine for the handgun; the same would apply to long guns – no magazines that carry more than 10 bullets per magazine, 7 bullets for shotguns.
Delegate Tran, who was endorsed by the Pride Fund to End Gun Violence, said she is “fighting to keep guns out of the hands of criminals, domestic abusers and those with severe mental illnesses.”
“Tran pushes for universal background checks to close the loopholes for sales of firearms at gun shows and over the Internet, and fights to restore Virginia's ‘One-Handgun-a-Month’ rule to combat gun-running,” states her official website.
However, pro-gun groups, say measures like this will make citizens less safe, and believe that people in the United States need weapons with high magazine capacity to protect themselves.
“A magazine ban is unconstitutional, according to the U.S. and state constitutions,” Erich Pratt, senior vice president of Gun Owners of America said. “It will not keep criminals from acquiring them, but it will make citizens less safe.”
According to Pratt, there are many cases in which criminals have intruded into people’s houses but because the homeowner had a gun with a higher capacity magazine, they were better able to defend their homes and their families.
Pratt also noted the August shooting in Dayton, Ohio, which took six policemen firing 58 rounds to take down the gunman who was wearing a bulletproof vest.
“If it takes that much lead from six well-trained officers to stop an attacker,” Prat added, “Why should we think that average citizens need less than 10 rounds?