Virginia Democrats approved legislation Monday to restrict gun owners in a variety of ways, from limiting the numbers of guns a citizen can purchase each month, to added requirements for private sales, to so-called ‘red flag’ laws.

A proposed ban on assault rifles, however, is now sitting on a shelf.

Democrats on the state’s Senate Judiciary Committee consolidated four bills into two and sent them to the Senate floor on a party line 9-5 vote as hundreds of gun rights advocates descended on the Capitol to voice opposition, WHSV reports.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam described the legislation as “common-sense gun safety measures,” while critics have pushed more than 100 counties and municipalities to adopt resolutions opposing the “unconstitutional restrictions.”

“The Senate Judiciary Committee … moved quickly Monday to advance several pieces of gun legislation that a Republican majority has blocked for years,” according to The Associated Press. “Those bills include limiting handgun purchases to once per month, universal background checks on gun purchases, allowing localities to ban guns in public buildings, parks and other areas, and a red flag bill that would allow authorities to temporarily take guns away from anyone deemed to be dangerous to themselves or others.”

“The pieces of legislation that we’re offering is to keep guns out of prohibitive hands,” Northam aid. “It’s very simple. They’re constitutional and they support the Second Amendment.”

Hundreds of gun rights advocates – many wearing NRA paraphernalia and shirts that read “My Governor is an Idiot” – came to Richmond Monday to explain to Northam why he’s wrong. The protest follows a rule change at the Capitol last week that now bans guns, knives and other weapons from the building, though lawmakers are exempt.

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Virginia Democrats are expected to review additional legislation that would outlaw all private gun ranges and impose other restrictions, but the most contentious bill – a ban on so-called “assault weapons” – was shelved at the Senate committee meeting on Monday.

Senate Bill 16, proposed by Sen. Richard Saslaw, would have expanded the definition of ‘assault firearms’ under Virginia law, outlawed their possession, and outlawed the selling or transfer of any firearm magazine with a capacity for more than 10 rounds of ammunition,” WHSV reports.

The legislation created a massive uproar across the state, with scores of municipalities and other jurisdictions approving second amendment sanctuary laws that promise to ignore any laws considered unconstitutional. In several places, locals are banding together to form private militias to fight against the change by force, if necessary.

On Monday, the committee hearing drew overflow crowds that forced most folks to watch the proceedings from a lobby on livestream, with plenty of others protesting outside and at nearby rallies.

“An AR-15 is a tool. I can use this to go kill feral hogs. I can use this weapon at home. I can use it to protect myself and my family. My wife can shoot this, my kids can shoot this,” George Persinger, a 65-year-old custom home builder who trekked 3 hours to the Capitol, told the AP.

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Saslaw requested Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. John Edwards to withdraw his “assault weapons” ban on Monday and Edwards agreed. The moderate Democrat is one of four that are reportedly skeptical lawmakers can craft a ban that voters will accept, the AP reports.

“A lot of people don’t really understand assault weapons and how complicated the issue really is,” he told the AP. “It’s going to be very difficult to figure out a way to do it. But we’re studying it, that’s all I can say.”

Creigh Deeds, another Senate Democrat waffling on the ban, told the SP he’s “not seen an enforceable bill that makes sense yet.”

Democrats control the state Senate with a slim 21-19 majority, while the party holds a 55-45 advantage in the House of Delegates.

A bill identical to Saslaw’s assault ban is still pending in the lower chamber, though it has not yet been assigned to a committee, according to news reports.

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