- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 9, 2019

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia lawmakers are set to debate and vote on new gun laws after a gunman killed a dozen people in a local government building.

Gov. Ralph Northam ordered lawmakers to return to the Capitol and called for passage of a wide range of gun control measures. The Democrat said people need “votes and laws, not thoughts and prayers” after a Virginia Beach city employee shot and killed 12 people on May 31.

GOP lawmakers criticized Northam as trying to exploit a tragedy for political gain. And in the leadup to Tuesday’s session, Republican leaders who control the legislature signaled they wouldn’t pass gun controls, focusing instead on increasing criminal penalties after gun crimes.

But Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment filed surprise legislation Monday to broadly ban guns in any government building.

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