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Saturday, January 12, 2008

A Busy Week at the General Assembly

The General Assembly convened on Wednesday, January 9th, and it was a busy week as a flurry of anti-gun and some pro-gun bills were introduced.

Leading the attacks on gun owners is newly-appointed Senate Courts of Justice Committee Chairman Senator Henry Marsh (D-16 - Richmond), who has once again offered a bill (Senate Bill 109) that mandating background checks on all firearms transactions that take place at gun shows. Despite the mounds of evidence showing that lawful gun shows are not a source of guns for criminals, Sen. Marsh is intent on closing a “loophole” that simply does not exist. Not unexpectedly, anti-gun Governor Tim Kaine (D) has also chosen to place politics above sound public policy and individual rights by championing the attack on gun shows. In fact, during his State of the Commonwealth speech on Wednesday, January 9, Gov. Kaine called upon the General Assembly to send him legislation aimed at restricting lawful private transactions of firearms.

Other anti-gun bills introduced so far are:Senate Bill 32 and Senate Bill 33, both offered by Senator Mamie Locke (D-2), would attempt to gut Virginia’s preemption statute and create a patchwork of firearm regulations across the Commonwealth;

Senate Bill 300, introduced by Senator Mary Margaret Whipple (D-31), would weaken the preemption statute by allowing local governments to prohibit firearms in public facilities;

House Bill 1277, offered by Delegate Lionell Spruill (D-77), and would make it illegal for citizens to possess firearms anywhere on Capitol Square;

House Bill 899, by Delegate Jim Scott (D-53), would replicate California’s ammunition microstamping scheme.

On the other hand, numerous pro-Second Amendment measures have been offered as well, including:

House Bill 1175, by Delegate Scott Lingamfelter (R-31), would create an “Apprentice Hunting” license for both resident and non-resident hunters;

House Bill 710, offered by Delegate Bill Janis, is a "Castle Doctrine" proposal that provides protections against civil action for those defending their homes;

House Bill 1292, by Delegate Cliff Athey (R-18) and Senate Bill 436 by Senator Jill Vogel (R-27), would allow a person to have a concealed handgun in a vehicle, provided that handgun is stored in a locked container or compartment;

Senate Bill 476, introduced by Senator Emmett Hanger (R-24), would repeal the prohibition on lawful concealed carry in a restaurant, provided the carry permit holder does not consume alcohol;

House Bill 1371, offered by Delegate Todd Gilbert (R-15), would allow concealed carry permit holders to can carry on public and state property, excluding mental health and correctional facilities; and

Senate Bill 332, by Senator Ken Cuccinelli (R-37), would prohibit the release of a concealed carry permit holder’s personal information if requested by the applicant. Additional legislation may be filed until the January 18 deadline, and we will continue to keep you informed of any new firearms-related measures.

In the meantime, please contact your Delegate and Senator and strongly encourage them to defend our Second Amendment rights by supporting all the pro-gun bills referenced above, and to stand up for Virginia’s law-abiding gun owners by firmly opposing the numerous anti-gun attacks being proposed in the General Assembly. You can find out who your Delegate and Senator is by going to http://conview.state.va.us/whosmy.nsf/main?openform and complete the search form.

You can also keep up with the progress of the gun related bills on the VSSA Legislative Tracking Form on the VSSA web site.

Hat tip to NRA-ILA for compiling the list in a user friendly format for dissemination.

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