Arlington, VA

(Updated at 2:15 p.m.) Del. Patrick Hope (D), who represents part of Arlington in the Virginia House of Delegates, announced that he will introduce legislation today that would ban firearms in Virginia’s Capitol building and the General Assembly Building.

Although Hope wrote the legislation several weeks ago, he is now citing the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in Tuscon, Arizona on Saturday as a reason why it should be passed.

“The tragedy this weekend in Tucson should cause all public officials to re-examine the safety and security of themselves, their staff, and visitors,” Hope said in a statement. “Every day we put our personal lives, the lives of our staff, and the lives of the general public at risk by allowing firearms in the GAB and the Capitol.”

Hope said criticism of his bill is misguided.

“There’s nothing offensive or unconstitutional about asking individuals not to bring firearms into the GAB or the Capitol,” he said. “You can’t walk through an airport with a gun, you can’t enter the US Capitol or Federal Courthouses with a gun. Why should the Virginia Capitol and the GAB be any different?”

In 2006, a lawmaker accidentally fired his gun in the General Assembly Building. The bullet struck a bulletproof vest that was hanging in a closet and no one was hurt, save a small cut on the lawmaker’s hand.

Anyone with a concealed weapon permit is allowed to carry a gun in the Capitol and General Assembly Buildings.

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