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Thursday, January 8, 2009

More Firearms Legislation at General Assembly

With the start of the 2009 Session of the General Assembly less than a week away, four additional firearms related bills have been introduced.

HB 1734 - Introduced by Delegate Brenda Pogge, amends various processes, procedures, and requirements for obtaining a Virginia concealed handgun permit. Among the amendments is a provision that allows permit applications to be submitted and returned by mail, and specifies that the court may not require any additional information with a permit application other than what is required or authorized by § 18.2-308. If a current permit holder wishes to obtain a replacement permit indicating a change of address, the permit holder is no longer required to provide proof of the new address.

HB 1741 - Also introduced by Delegate Pogge, increases from a Class 1 misdemeanor to a Class 6 felony the possession or transportation of certain firearms by persons under the age of 18.

HB 1748 - Another bill introduced by Delegate Pogge, clarifies that no locality may require a person who has previously been issued a concealed handgun permit in the Commonwealth to submit to fingerprinting for a new permit. (There have been reports that some localities have tried to continue requiring fingerprints for permit renewals.)

SB 877 - Senator Steve Martin of Chesterfield introduced this bill and it clarifies that retired law-enforcement officers from anywhere in the United States, District of Columbia, or territories of the United States are not subject to Virginia's concealed handgun laws, if such officer meets the requirements of the federal Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act of 2004. The federal law allows retired officers with more than 15 years aggregate experience, who are certified annually on handgun proficiency, and meet other requirements, to carry a concealed weapon anywhere in the United States.

VSSA is aware of some additional legislation that has been provided to pro-rights legislators - meaningful legislation that will be of great interest to gun owners in the Commonwealth. I am waiting for them to be posted on the Legislative Information System (LIS) before giving more detail.

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