Monday, January 23, 2017

Tom Gresham: Gun Sales Driven by Gun Control Ended Two Years Ago

Last week, Gun Talk Radio host and gun writer Tom Gresham was in Las Vegas covering the Shot Show. On Friday, he was interviewed on NRATV.com's NRANews Cam and Company. Gresham told host Cam Edwards that contrary to what the press has been reporting, guns sales driven by gun control ended two years ago. The growth of the shooting sports is driving new gun ownership. He and Cam talked about the need to promote legal gun ownership for disenfranchised residents of high crime areas and the minority communtities. Tom urged gun owners to take people to the range, so that they will know what firearms are all about. Gresham called it "vaccination against gun control." Originally aired on Cam & Co 01/20/17.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Legislative Update: House Militia and Police and Public Safety

The House Militia, Police, and Public Safety Committee Met this morning and took action on a number of bills.  Below is a list of bills acted on by the Committee:

HB 1466 Renewal of concealed handgun permits; notice. Reported

HB 1849 Concealed handgun permit; permit requirements. Provides that a concealed handgun permit shall be of a size comparable to a Virginia driver's license and may be laminated or use a similar process to protect the permit. Current law requires that the permit be no larger than two inches wide by three and one-fourth inches long. Reported

HB 1852 Concealed handguns; protective orders. Authorizes any person 21 years of age or older who is not prohibited from purchasing, possessing, or transporting a firearm and is protected by an unexpired protective order to carry a concealed handgun for 45 days after the protective order was issued. The bill provides that if the person issued the protective order applies for a concealed handgun permit during such 45-day period, such person will be authorized to carry a concealed handgun for an additional 45 days and be given a copy of the certified application, which shall serve as a de facto concealed handgun permit. The bill requires such person to have the order or certified application and photo identification on his person when carrying a concealed handgun and to display them upon demand by a law-enforcement officer; failure to do so is punishable by a $25 civil penalty. Reported

HB 1853 Victims of domestic violence, etc.; firearms safety or training course. Creates the Virginia Firearms Safety and Training for Sexual and Domestic Violence Victims Fund. The bill provides that the Department of Criminal Justice Services may distribute funds from the Fund to reimburse an entity that offers a firearms safety or training course or class approved by the Department free of charge to victims of domestic violence, sexual abuse, stalking, or family abuse. The bill also requires that, upon the issuance of a protective order, the petitioner for the order be provided with a list of such approved courses or classes. Reported and referred to Appropriations

HB 2077 Emergency Services and Disaster Law of 2000; reference to firearms, emergency shelter. Removes the authority of a governmental entity under the Emergency Services and Disaster Law of 2000 to limit lawful possession, carrying, transportation, sale, or transfer of firearms in any place or facility used by the governmental entity as an emergency shelter. Reported from Militia, Police and Public Safety (12-Y 7-N)

HB 2308 Concealed handgun; retired conservation officers. Adds conservation officers retired from the Department of Conservation and Recreation to the list of retired persons eligible to carry a concealed handgun without a permit. Reported

HB 2325 Concealed handgun; application for permit requires photo identification. Requires applicants for a concealed handgun permit to present one form of government-issued photo identification that demonstrates that the applicant is a citizen or an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence in the United States. Substitute offered and reported

Additionally, a number of bills were heard in subcommittee #1 last night.  The results of that meeting are below:

HB 1684 Restricting access to firearms by children; mental state; penalty. Subcommittee recommends laying on the table by voice vote

HB 1685 Purchase of handguns; limitation on handgun purchases; penalty. Subcommittee recommends laying on the table by voice vote

HB 1700 Firearms; carrying in public while intoxicated, etc., penalty. Subcommittee recommends laying on the table by voice vote

HB 1758 Firearms; removal from persons posing substantial risk; penalties. Subcommittee recommends laying on the table by voice vote

HB 1773 Transfer of firearms; criminal history record information check; Subcommittee recommends laying on the table by voice vote

HB 1822 Place of worship; carrying dangerous weapon personal protection. Subcommittee recommends striking from docket by voice vote

HB 1864 Firearms; access by children; penalty Subcommittee recommends laying on the table by voice vote

HB 2079 Sale of firearms; persons not lawfully present in United States; penalty. Subcommittee recommends striking from docket by voice vote

HB 2094 Localities; regulation of firearms in government buildings. Subcommittee recommends striking from docket by voice vote

HB 2187 Firearm transfers; criminal history record information checks required, penalty. Subcommittee recommends laying on the table by voice vote

HB 2188 Firearms; civil liability for sale or transfer without a background check. Failed to report for lack of motion (defeated)

HB 2212 Firearm transfers; criminal history record information checks, penalty. Subcommittee recommends laying on the table by voice vote

Bills recommended for defeat in subcommittee are for all intent and purposes dead. This will not be official however until crossover.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Legislative Update - Senate Courts of Justice

The Senate Courts of Justice Committee held a marathon meeting lasting just a little less than four hours on Wednesday afternoon.  A number of bad bills were disposed of.  Additionally, a number of good bills advanced while a few were also failed.  Among the good bills heard and advancing was a Constitutional Carry bill.  Below is a complete list of the results:

S.B. 791 Concealed handgun permits; fee for processing.  Makes the $10 fee that the clerk of court is now required to charge for processing a concealed handgun permit application or issuing a concealed handgun permit discretionary with the clerk.  Reported and referred to Finance Committee

S.B. 809 Firearms; person to report loss or theft within 24 hours. Passed by indefinitely (defeated)

S.B. 832 Firearm transactions; voluntary background checks, clarification of provisions. Passed by indefinitely

S.B. 893 Firearm locks required for sale or transfer of handguns; warning against accessibility to children. Stricken at the request of the sponsor.

S.B. 953 Muzzleloader firearms; definition.  Incorporates the Virginia criminal law definition of a muzzleloader into the current statutory definitions of muzzleloading pistol, muzzleloading rifle, and muzzleloading shotgun located in the Game and Inland Fisheries Title. Reported and referred to Finance Committee

S.B. 1049 Firearms; administration of machine gun registry, nonresident concealed handgun permits. Requires any person registered to possess a machine gun to notify the Department of State Police (the Department) of a change of address within 30 days of such change. The bill reduces the number of photographs that an applicant for a nonresident concealed handgun permit must submit from two to one. The bill requires the form provided by the Department for a dealer to obtain criminal history record information for a firearm purchase to include a question about whether the proposed purchaser has been the subject of a temporary detention order and subsequently agreed to voluntary admission to a state facility. Current law prohibits such persons from purchasing, possessing, or transporting a firearm and provides that other mental health disqualifications be disclosed on such form. The bill requires firearms dealers to comply with the federal minimum wait time of three days after contacting the system for a background check before releasing a firearm without an approval number; under existing state law, such firearm must be released after one business day without an approval number. The bill removes the option under state law for a dealer to complete a sale if notified that a response will not be available by the end of the dealer's next business day and removes the requirement that the Department notify the dealer of such delay. The bill removes the requirement that the dealer mail the criminal history record check consent form for a person who is not a resident of Virginia to the Department.  Reported and referred to Finance Committee

S.B. 1112 Firearms; control of possession in chambers of local governing bodies.Allows a locality to adopt an ordinance that prohibits firearms, ammunition, or components or a combination thereof at any regular or special meeting of such local governing body, provided notice of such prohibition is publicly posted and the meeting room is owned or operated by the locality. Passed by indefinitely

S.B. 1185 Reporting lost or stolen firearms. Passed by indefinitely

S.B. 1194 Firearm transfers; criminal history record information checks; penalty.  Requires a background check for any firearm transfer and requires the Department of State Police to establish a process for transferors to obtain such a check from licensed firearms dealers. A transferor who fails to obtain a required background check and sells the firearm to another person is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. The bill exempts transfers between immediate family members, transfers that occur by operation of law, transfers by the executor or administrator of an estate or by the trustee of a testamentary trust, and temporary transfers that (i) occur within the continuous presence of the owner of the firearm; (ii) are necessary to prevent imminent death or serious bodily injury; (iii) occur at a shooting range, shooting gallery, or other area designed for the purpose of target shooting, for use during target practice, a firearms safety or training course or class, a shooting competition, or any similar lawful activity; or (iv) are for the purpose of and while the transferee is engaged in hunting, trapping, or target shooting. The bill removes the provision that makes background checks of prospective purchasers or transferees at firearms shows voluntary. Passed by indefinitely

S.B. 1266 Firearms; access by children; penalty.  Provides that it is a Class 1 misdemeanor to knowingly authorize a child age four or younger to use or handle a firearm. Passed by indefinitely

S.B. 1267 Firearms; alcohol; penalties. Provides that it is a Class 1 misdemeanor for a person who is intoxicated or under the influence of illegal drugs to carry a loaded firearm on or about his person in a public place and that a person found guilty is ineligible to apply for a concealed handgun permit for a period of five years. Current law provides that such prohibition applies only to persons permitted to carry a concealed handgun. The bill also creates a Class 2 misdemeanor for a person who carries a loaded firearm on or about his person onto the premises of any restaurant or club licensed to sell and serve alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption and consumes an alcoholic beverage while on the premises. Current law provides that such prohibition applies only to those persons carrying a concealed handgun on such premises. Passed by indefinetely

S.B. 1297 Concealed weapons; nonduty status active military personnel may carry.  Provides that an active duty member of the Virginia National Guard, Armed Forces of the United States, or Armed Forces Reserves of the United States in a nonduty status may carry a concealed weapon wherever such member may travel in the Commonwealth. Incorporated into SB1362

S.B. 1299 Concealed handguns; protective orders.  Authorizes any person 21 years of age or older who is not prohibited from purchasing, possessing, or transporting a firearm and is protected by an unexpired protective order to carry a concealed handgun for 45 days after the protective order was issued. The bill provides that if the person issued the protective order applies for a concealed handgun permit during such 45-day period, such person will be authorized to carry a concealed handgun for an additional 45 days and be given a copy of the certified application, which shall serve as a de facto concealed handgun permit. The bill requires such person to have the order or certified application and photo identification on his person when carrying a concealed handgun and to display them upon demand by a law-enforcement officer; failure to do so is punishable by a $25 civil penalty.  Approved by committee and headed to full Senate

S.B. 1300 Victims of domestic violence, etc.; firearms safety or training course. Provides that the Department of Criminal Justice Services may distribute funds from the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Victim Fund to reimburse an entity that offers a firearms safety or training course or class approved by the Department free of charge to victims of domestic violence, sexual abuse, stalking, and family abuse. The bill also requires that, upon the issuance of a protective order, the petitioner for the order be provided with a list of such approved courses or classes. Reported and referred to Finance Committee

S.B. 1362 Concealed weapons; nonduty status active military personnel may carry. Provides that an active duty member of the Virginia National Guard, Armed Forces of the United States, or Armed Forces Reserves of the United States in a nonduty status may carry a concealed weapon wherever such member may travel in the Commonwealth. Approved by committee and headed to full Senate

S.B. 1422 Law enforcement, local; fees for concealed handgun permits, courthouse and courtroom security. Eliminates (i) the fee, under current law up to $35, that a local law-enforcement agency is permitted to charge for conducting the background investigation for a concealed handgun permit and (ii) the requirement that the local law-enforcement agency forward to the State Police any amount assessed by the FBI for providing criminal history record information in the background investigation. The bill makes discretionary the current mandatory fee of up to $10 charged by the clerk for processing a concealed handgun permit application or issuing a permit. The bill increases from $10 to $20 the maximum amount, designated solely to fund courthouse and courtroom security, that a local governing body may assess against a convicted defendant as part of the costs in a criminal or traffic case in district or circuit court. Passed by indefinitely

S.B. 1439 Firearm transfers; penalties. Creates a Class 2 misdemeanor for a person who is not a licensed dealer to sell, rent, trade, or transfer a firearm to any other person who is not a licensed dealer. The bill also creates a Class 2 misdemeanor for a person who is not a licensed dealer to buy,rent, trade, or transfer a firearm from any other person who is not a licensed dealer. The bill exempts certain transfers, such as between immediate family members, by operation of law, at a firearms show with a voluntary background check, and when the transfer is temporary and is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm or occurs while in the continuous presence of the owner of the firearm. Passed by indefinitely

S.B. 1440 Concealed handgun; eligibility to carry openly within Commonwealth. (Constitutional Carry) Reported and referred to Finance Committee

S.B. 1443 Firearms; removal from persons posing substantial risk, penalties. Creates a procedure by which an attorney for the Commonwealth or law-enforcement officer may apply to a circuit court judge for a warrant to remove firearms from a person who poses a substantial risk of injury to himself or others. If firearms are seized pursuant to such warrant, the bill requires a court hearing within 14 days from execution of the warrant to determine whether the firearms should be returned or retained by law enforcement. Seized firearms may be retained by court order for up to 180 days or, with court approval, may be transferred to a third party chosen by the person from whom they were seized. Persons who have been served with a warrant to remove firearms until such warrant has been dissolved by a court or who are the subject of an order to retain firearms are disqualified from having a concealed handgun permit or purchasing a firearm from a licensed dealer and may not be employed by a licensed firearms dealer. The bill also provides that a person who transfers a firearm to a person he knows has been served with a warrant or who is the subject of an order is guilty of a Class 6 felony. Failed to report (defeated)

S.B. 1444 Restricted ammunition; use or attempted use in the commission of a felony, penalty.  Removes the prohibition on use or attempted use of restricted firearm ammunition in any non-felony criminal offense. The bill expands the definition of restricted firearms ammunition to include "pinched tip" bullets and expands the exception to such definition to include certain ammunition with copper cores. The bill provides that if any ammunition has been approved by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives for commercial sale, it is not restricted firearms ammunition. Reported and referred to Finance Committee

There are some remaining firearm related bills to be heard and legislators have until Friday afternoon to introduce legislation.  The next meeting of the committee is Monday morning.  If firearms bills are on the docket, VSSA will be there.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Senate Courts Taking Up Handful of Bills Wednesday Afternoon

The Senate Courts of Justice Committee has scheduled five gun bills on the docket for this afternoon's meeting.  The committee will meet 15 minutes after the Senate adjourns today.  The bills on the docket are:

SB791
SB1023
SB1299
SB1300

SB791 is sponsored by state Senator Amanda Chase and would make the current $10 fee charged by the clerk of the local circuit court for renewing a Concealed Handgun Permit (CHP) discretionary.

SB1023 is sponsored by state Senator Richard Stuart. This bill would prohibit the sharing of information regarding Virginia CHPs with law enforcement in states that do not recognize Virginia CHPs. This bill is aimed at preventing the frequent fishing expeditions by out of state law enforcement during traffic stops in anti-gun states like New Jersey, Maryland, and the District of Columbia.

SB1299 and SB1300 are both sponsored by State Senator Jill Holtzman Vogel. SB1299 would allow any person who is 21 or older, not prohibited from purchasing, possessing, or transporting a firearm and who are currently protected by an unexpired protective order to carry a concealed handgun for 45 days after the protective order was issued. SB1300 would also provide funding for reimbursement of training expenses as well as information for those individuals seeks training under the protection of a protective order.

VSSA will be there and will post live results on Twitter and the VSSA Facebook page.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Mossberg Shockwave Home Defense Shotgun

Yesterday was the 2017 Shot Show Media Day where manufacturers bring out their new products for outdoor and gun writers to see.  One of the products generating a lot of buzz that NRA Publications featured on its You Tube channel was the Mossberg Shockwave Shotgun.  This is a home defense shotgun that is considered by BATFE a non-NFA item.

Friday, January 13, 2017

"Hunter Pink" on List of Bills at the General Assembly

Kerry Dougherty has the report at the Virginian Pilot:
The measure, HB1939, was introduced by Del. James E. Edmunds II of Halifax.

A summary of the proposed law says simply: “Hunting apparel; blaze pink. Allows hunters to wear blaze pink instead of blaze orange hunting apparel when required during firearms deer hunting season or the special season for hunting deer with a muzzle-loading rifle.”

When I spoke with the hunter/legislator on Thursday, he said he got the idea for the bill when he met a “celebrity” who told him blaze pink was a winner with women hunters. When she learned he was a state legislator, she urged him to introduce a bill making it legal.
So, given more than one female shooting sports personality has commented that making something in pink does not make it woman friendly, I have to wonder if this bill is one of those tongue-in-cheek bills that pop up during the session every year.

Governor McAuliffe's Unintended Consequences

A. Barton Hinkle points out in the Richmond Times Dispatch that gun rights are getting a push from an unexpected individual - Governor Terry McAuliffe:
This session, the governor has proposed a commendable criminal-justice reform package. It includes a badly needed adjustment to the state’s standard for felony grand larceny. The figure was set at $200 in 1980, and has not been changed since. Had the threshold kept pace with inflation, it would be more than $500 today.

Critics call the proposal a cost-of-living adjustment for thieves, which is clever but misleading. Pegging the standard to inflation keeps it constant in real-value terms. Failing to adjust for inflation actually lowers the threshold in constant dollars. Today’s $200 threshold is the equivalent of only $68 in 1980 dollars. Twenty years from now, assuming only 2.5 percent inflation, the threshold will fall to only $42 in 1980 dollars. (Assuming 5 percent inflation, it would fall to only $25 in 1980 dollars.)

Adjusting the felony standard does not allow criminals to steal more; refusing to adjust it makes a felony out of ever-smaller offenses. That gets expensive fast. Virginia spends about $25,000 year per prison inmate, so a 20-year stretch for felony theft costs the state half a million dollars. Does the public really benefit from lowering the felony ceiling year after year? Do Virginians want to spend a half-million dollars to punish someone for boosting a mid-range kitchen blender from Target?

Probably not. So adjusting the felony threshold make sense. And it carries an ancillary benefit: protecting the voting rights — and the gun rights — of nonviolent offenders who otherwise would be swept up by “felony creep.”

Gov. McAuliffe probably did not intend that result of his proposal. But as he already has learned, sometimes the most powerful law is the one about unintended consequences.
This isn't the first time Governor McAuliffe's actions have unintentionally made it easier for nonviolent offenders to regain their gun rights.  When he started restoring the rights of felons who had completed their sentences he took away one of the steps that those individuals had to take to restore their gun rights - petition a court:
Four months later, the governor grandly announced that he was restoring the voting rights of 206,000 felons. Republican heads exploded, and the ensuing debate eventually had to be settled by the Virginia Supreme Court, which struck down McAuliffe’s order, requiring him to continue making restorations on a case-by-case basis.

In the meantime, though, a question arose: What about gun rights? Although McAuliffe’s order stipulated that “nothing in this Order restores the right to ship, transport, possess, or receive firearms,” the governor’s order made it much easier for a felon to get his gun rights back. Formerly, an offender first had to petition for restoration of his civil rights, and once they were restored, go to court to retrieve his gun rights. McAuliffe’s order eliminated the first step.

That was purely unintentional. “My actions were about giving you the right to vote, to serve on a jury and run for political office,” McAuliffe admitted. “My action, I didn’t think it had anything to do with gun rights. I stayed away from that.”
Republican Del. Greg Habeeb has introduced legislation that would automatically restore gun rights to nonviolent felons.   VSSA will be tracking this bill along with all other firearm related legislation this session.  If it passes, given McAuliffe's own statement that these individuals have completed their sentence, he will be hard pressed to veto it.

Hinkle was on NRANews' Cam and Company on Thursday to discuss the issue in more detail.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Virginian Among NRA National Youth Shooting Sports Ambassadors

The NRA announced yesterday that Trevor Goin of Prospect, Virginia, has been selected to join five other outstanding youth as a 2017 NRA National Youth Shooting Sports Ambassador.  According to NRABlog.com, Goin is:
an all-around shooter whose first love is shotgun shooting. Trevor has favored shotgun shooting from a young age and has competed for the Virginia 4-H since he was 11 years old. He is also the recipient of the Outstanding Achievement Youth Award, which honors outstanding youth participation in the shooting sports.
Congratulations to all of the fine young people selected as an ambassador this year.  You can find out more about the NRA National Youth Shooting Sports Ambassadors program at https://youthambassadors.nra.org/.

Virginia General Assembly Convenes Today

It's that time of year again when the Virginia General Assembly comes to town.  This is the 45 day "short" session where amendments are made to the current budget and other legislation will be considered, including gun bills.  As usual, the annual bills requiring background checks for private sales at guns shows have already been introduced, and there is a Senate Resolution to study the feasibility of establishing a firearm registration program for firearms purchased in the Commonwealth.  There are also bills that would reduce the cost of applying for a concealed handgun permit (CHP).  Currently there are 24 firearm related bills waiting to be considered.  Expect many more to appear before the last day to introduce legislation on January 20.

You can track all of the important legislation on the VSSA web site by clicking here.