A look inside recent NRA town halls; Virginia Beach approves independent investigation into shooting; 26,000 have already gotten licenses reinstated after law change and more headlines

Virginia Mercury

Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere.

• Ahead of the special session on gun violence later this month, Republicans and the National Rifle Association are sounding an alarm, warning their members that Democrats “want our state,” as Del. Margaret Ransone, R-Westmoreland, told a group in Fredericksburg. — The Washington Post

• The Virginia Beach City Council voted unanimously to launch an independent probe into the mass shooting last month. The investigation is due to create a timeline, review the shooter’s employment history and analyze workplace violence prevention. — The Virginian-Pilot

• Former state Del. Ron Villanueva was sentenced to 2½ years in prison on charges he improperly helped two Virginia Beach companies secure special government contracts. “You have done good things, but that doesn’t put you above the law,” the judge said. — The Virginian-Pilot

• Virginia’s psychiatric hospitals already operate at or near capacity on a fairly regular basis. State mental health officials say the situation could worsen over the Fourth of July holiday weekend. — Richmond Times-Dispatch

• It’s only been a few days since a new law went into effect allowing those who have had their driver’s license suspended for unpaid court fees to get it reinstated. Already, 26,000 Virginians have taken advantage of the new policy. — WVTF

• Charlottesville City Council voted to abolish Thomas Jefferson’s birthday as a paid holiday, replacing it with Liberation and Freedom Day to recognize when many area slaves were freed in 1865. Jefferson forced more than 400 people to live in bondage during his lifetime at his home, Monticello. — The Daily Progress

• Virginia Commonwealth University renewed former Virginia Gov. L. Douglas Wilder’s contract as an adjunct professor for another year, despite accusations that he sexually harassed a student. — Richmond Times-Dispatch

• Lawyers for 10 people injured during the 2017 violent white nationalist rally in Charlottesville asked a judge to order one of the participants to stop making threats against the plaintiffs and their lead attorney. — Associated Press

• Former Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling has left his job at James Madison University due to a new law preventing universities from employing former gubernatorial appointees to their governing boards within two years after their employment. — Richmond Times-Dispatch

• A Norfolk laboratory is testing the waters of marijuana research with a license to import cannabis, with essentially no limit on how much they can bring in. — WCVE

• The Chesapeake Bay blue crab population has increased by 60 percent in the last year. — WCVE

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Katie O'Connor
Katie, a Manassas native, has covered health care, commercial real estate, law, agriculture and tourism for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Richmond BizSense and the Northern Virginia Daily. Last year, she was named an Association of Health Care Journalists Regional Health Journalism Fellow, a program to aid journalists in making national health stories local and using data in their reporting. She is a graduate of the College of William and Mary, where she was executive editor of The Flat Hat, the college paper, and editor-in-chief of The Gallery, the college’s literary magazine.