Northam to call for tighter gun safety laws today; Virginia Beach city employees return to their offices; Appalachian Trail introduces new safety reporting and more headlines

Virginia Mercury

Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere.

• Gov. Ralph Northam and other top Democrats plan to stand together today to call for tighter gun safety laws following the mass shooting in Virginia Beach. Several sources said they expect him to call a special session of the General Assembly to take up gun legislation. – The Washington Post

• Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment, R-James City, told gun control advocates protesting outside his office that “nothing would have helped us in Virginia Beach,” but expected the General Assembly to consider a ban on large capacity magazines, which he voted against earlier this year and remains opposed to, according to a spokesman. – The Virginia Gazette

• Some survivors say the silencer on the shooter’s gun made the shots harder to recognize, with many initially believing they were hearing a nail gun. “If it was a regular gunshot we would’ve definitely known a lot sooner, even if we would’ve had 30 or 60 seconds more.” – The Virginian-Pilot

• Authorities released a short and courteous resignation letter submitted by the shooter hours before the rampage. It reads: “I want to officially put in my (2) weeks’ notice to vacant my position of Engineer III with the City of Virginia Beach. It has been a pleasure to serve the City, but due to personal reasons I must relieve my position.” – The Washington Post

• Virginia Beach city employees return to their offices today for the first time since the shooting. Building 2, where the attack occurred, will remain closed indefinitely. – The Virginian-Pilot

• An under-the-radar amendment to the budget passed by state lawmakers eliminates Department of Health funding for a program that provides abortions for low-income women with fetal anomalies. – WVTF

• After regulators chastised Dominion Energy for telling Wall Street investors about proposed spending that hadn’t been disclosed to the state, Dominion Energy detailed planned projects that would increase the average household’s bill by $30 over the next five years. – Richmond Times-Dispatch

• Virginia’s costal adaptation czar is putting together a climate change report she hopes “will inform a tight-fisted and, in some cases reluctant, General Assembly to fund state-wide climate change adaptation and protection when it reconvenes this winter.” – WVTF

• A fatal machete attack prompted the nonprofit that manages the Appalachian Trail to introduced streamlined safety reporting on its website. “The way we designed it now … their eye will immediately jump to the big red 911 if there’s an emergency.” – The Roanoke Times

• Gov. Northam said an inconclusive, four-month investigation confirmed he wasn’t in a racist blackface photo on his medical school yearbook page. Politifact’s ruling? False. – WCVE

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