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Virginia Democratic candidate for governor, Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, campaigns at the All Dulles Area Muslim Society following Friday prayers November 3, 2017 in Sterling, Virginia. Virginia will elect the next governor of the state next Tuesday, November 7. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Virginia lawmakers to meet July 9 to discuss guns after mass shooting

RICHMOND, Va. — Virginia’s governor has set a July 9 start date for a special legislative session on gun-related legislation after last week’s deadly shooting rampage in Virginia Beach.

Gov. Ralph Northam announced the date Friday.

READ MORE: Officials ID Virginia Beach gunman as city employee

The Democratic governor says the best way to respond to the May 31 mass shooting at a municipal building is with “votes and laws, not thoughts and prayers.” He wants the Republican-led General Assembly to consider gun-control measures including universal background checks and a ban on silencers  Police say the gunman who fatally shot 12 people used a silencer.

Northam can call the session but can’t dictate how it’s conducted. Republican leaders have given little indication they plan to follow his agenda.

Instead, they’ve said they’ll propose tougher penalties for those who use guns to commit crimes.

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