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Virginia Beach, Virginia - 4 June 2019
1. SOUNDBITE (English) Gov. Ralph Northam, (D) Virginia:
"Once more hearts are broken, lives are shattered, and families are crushed. Once more a community is in shock and pain and grief."
2. SOUNDBITE (English) Gov. Ralph Northam, (D) Virginia:
"I can't imagine the devastation these families are suffering. It is wrong. It is outrageous. It is unforgivable to turn our municipal centers, our schools, our churches and synagogues and mosques into battlefields. No one should go to work, to school or to church wondering if they will come home."
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Gov. Ralph Northam, (D) Virginia:
"And so, by the power vested in me by Article 4, Section 6 and Article 5, Section 5 of the Constitution of Virginia, I will summon the members of the Senate and the House of Delegates to meet in special session for the purpose of passing commonsense public safety laws."
4. SOUNDBITE (English) Gov. Ralph Northam, (D) Virginia:
"Business as usual, with leadership shielding most of their members from taking tough votes by setting early morning hearings before a small subcommittee won't cut it. Virginians deserve leadership. And they will be watching. The nation will be watching."
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced on Tuesday that he'll recall lawmakers to the state Capitol in the coming weeks to take up a package of gun-control legislation, which he said is urgently needed to prevent killings like Friday's mass shooting in Virginia Beach.
Northam said he plans to convene a special legislative session this summer.
The Democrat said in an Associated Press interview ahead of his announcement that he wants the Republican-controlled General Assembly to hear from the public about the need for "common-sense" law related to guns and accessories.
Republicans have previously rejected Northam's gun control bills out of hand, but a top GOP lawmaker signaled Monday that he's open to a legislative debate.
Northam's announcement comes less than a week after Virginia Beach city employee DeWayne Craddock used two semi-automatic handguns, a silencer and extended ammunition magazines to kill 12 people, all but one them colleagues he had worked with for years, and injure several others.
Craddock was then killed in an intense gunbattle with police during which a bullet hit one officer in a bulletproof vest.
Northam's package of bills includes legislation that directly relates to Friday's shooting including a ban on silencers and high capacity ammunition magazines as well as broadening the ability of local governments to limit guns in city buildings.
But Northam said other recent shootings, including the death last month of a 9-year-old girl who was shot at a community cookout in Richmond, are also driving his call for a special session.
Other proposals Northam said he wants lawmakers to vote on include mandating universal background checks before gun purchases, limiting purchases to one handgun per month and a so-called red flag bill that would allow authorities to temporarily seize someone's guns if they are a shown to be threat to themselves or others.
Most of the legislation already proposed by Northam and other Democrats has failed at the General Assembly, including this year.
Republicans hold slim majorities in the House and Senate and Virginia is in the middle of a closely watched election year when all 140 legislative seats are up for grabs.
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