Lawmakers to gather in Richmond to debate gun laws

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- Virginia lawmakers are set to debate and vote on whether new gun laws are needed after a gunman killed a dozen people a little more than a month ago.

Gov. Ralph Northam has ordered lawmakers to return to the Capitol Tuesday and called on them to pass a wide range of gun-control measures. The governor, a Democrat, called for "votes and laws, not thoughts and prayers" after a Virginia Beach city employee shot and killed his coworkers at a municipal building on May 31.

Republican leaders who control the legislature have signaled they are unlikely to pass Northam's proposed legislation but will instead focus on increasing criminal penalties related to gun crimes. GOP lawmakers have criticized the governor as an opportunist trying to exploit a tragedy for political gain.

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