Rising gun tension, airport firecrackers, Dominion naming rights, and more headlines

Virginia Mercury

Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere.

• Opponents of new gun laws are expected to descend on the Capitol today, where a Senate committee is scheduled to take its first votes on elements of Gov. Ralph Northam’s proposed gun control legislation. The crowd is expected to be large. At a rally in Culpeper over the weekend, “nearly 500 men, women and children turned out for three hours Saturday to hear a dozen speakers defend the Second Amendment and attack (Northam) and Democratic legislators proposing background checks and red-flag restrictions.”—Culpeper Star-Exponent

• The NRA is targeting two rural Democratic senators it once endorsed — Sen. John Edwards, D-Roanoke, and Sen. Creigh Deeds, D-Bath — as the organization attempts to block new gun control measures.—The Roanoke Times

• It’s been a tense few days at the Capitol.—The Virginian-Pilot

• Two former journalists turned state delegates are again pursuing legislation to affirm free-speech rights of student journalists following a string of high-profile incidents at high schools and state universities.—The Washington Post

• “Activists, family members and supporters rallied Saturday at the Bell Tower in Capitol Square to support recently filed prison reform bills in the General Assembly, including measures such as parole, record expungement and incentives for good behavior.”—Capital News Service

• “Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said Thursday he is ‘open’ to legalized casino gaming but stopped short of saying he would sign whatever bill the General Assembly might advance.”—Bristol Herald Courier

• A 29-year-old soldier from Newport News was killed in Afghanistan when his vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb.—Associated Press

• Police investigators are increasingly filing search warrants that ask Google and Facebook for records showing what cellphones passed through specific geographic areas at specific times — say, the site of a burglary during the hours it was believed to have occurred.—The Danville Register & Bee

• Tax filings show Dominion Energy, whose CEO is spearheading a coliseum-anchored development in downtown Richmond, has committed to pay $20 million over two decades for naming rights to the proposed arena.—Richmond Free Press

• A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit Sen. Joe Morrissey, D-Richmond, filed against Richmond broadcaster WTVR alleging a 2016 on-air commentary falsely depicted him as “a stupid liar who was a sex-crazed maniac.”—Richmond Times-Dispatch

• Police blamed black ice for a 75-car pileup last month on Interstate 64 near Williamsburg.—Associated Press

• Richmond’s St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, which was once known as the Cathedral of the Confederacy, welcomed its first openly gay rector.—Richmond Times-Dispatch

• Neighbors of Norfolk International Airport say they’re fed up with all the firecrackers used to scare away birds, but airport officials say it’s the best way to avoid dangerous bird-plane collisions. “I don’t believe scaring geese from planes requires 20 bangs an hour all day long,” said one neighbor.—The Virginian-Pilot

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