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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Reflections on Act I of 2009 General Assembly

Yesterday was "Crossover" day at the Virginia General Assembly so we now know what firearm related legislation is still alive and what did not survive. Yesterday several pro-gun bills passed the House by a large bi-partisan margin as did one in the Senate. But, some good legislation remained in committee without even getting a hearing. Let's take a look at those bills.

HB 1656 - Delegate Marshall's bill that would have allowed full-time faculty members at state institutions of higher learning to carry their concealed firearms on campus as long as they possess a concealed handgun permit (CHP).

HB 1734 - Delegate Pogge's bill making several improvements to Virginia's CHP statute, including streamlining the process for obtaining a permit after a change of address, making it clear that the court cannot ask for any additional information with a permit application other than what is required by §18.2-308

HB 1821 - Delegate Joe Johnson's bill repealing the "Restaurant Ban" on concealed carry for restaurants that serve alcohol. This bill is the House version of Senator Hanger's SB1053. Gun owners need to contact the members of the House Militia, Police and Public Safety Subcommittee now and urge them to report Senator Hanger's bill.

HB 1822 - Delegate Joe Johnson's bill exempting concealed handgun permit holders from the prohibition against carrying handguns onto the property of a public, private, or religious elementary, middle, or high school.

Word is the Speaker believes that the House has been spending too much time on gun related issues in the last few years and wanted to see the number of gun bills reduced. It has also been suggested that with this being an election year, he did not want any "controversial" bills to deal with. While many on the above list could be considered "controversial," the repeal of the "Restaurant Ban" has passed the House in previous years and has even passed the Senate the last two year. Legislators should no that no one has ever lost an election because they were too pro-rights. Legislators tend to lose on the gun issue when they get squishy or have try to have it both ways.

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