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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Contact Delegates and State Senators

Governor Kaine decided to verify his anti-rights creds last Friday when he vetoed all of the significant pro-gun bills that passed the General Assembly. What's worse - he, or his staff apparently had no clue what the bulk of the bills actually do. Now is the time to contact your member of the State Senate and the House of Delegates and urge them to overturn Kaine's vetoes. All but one of the bills that he vetoed passed both houses of the General Assembly with veto proof margins. That being said, Kaine will use the time between now and April 8th to twist arms of the Democrats in the State Senate to get the votes he needs to sustain the vetoes. Here is what you need to know.

SB 1035 - Senator Hanger's bill repealing the restaurant ban.

Kaine Myth - "Allowing concealed weapons into restaurants and bars that serve alcohol puts the public, the employees, and our public safety officers at risk. I take seriously the objections of law enforcement to this measure."

Fact - SB 1035 prohibits those carrying concealed in restaurants like Applebees from drinking while in the restaurant. CHP holders are some of the most law abiding people in the country so there is not risk to the pubic, restaurant employees or law enforcement.

SB 877 - Senator Martin's bill repealing the restaurant ban for retired police.

Kaine Myth - "While it makes sense for current law enforcement officers to be permitted to carry their firearms when in such establishments, there is no compelling reason for retired law enforcement officers to have weapons in locations where alcohol is served."

Fact - Unlike last year when he vetoed the repeal of the restaurant ban for you and me but allowed untrained Commonwealth Attorneys and their deputies carry in restaurants, even allowing them to drink, Kaine was at least consistent this year by vetoing both bills. Unfortunately, Kaine seems to believe the only people that should have the right to protect themselves and their families while dining out are lawyers in the political class. Retired law enforcement could just as easily be targeted by criminals they helped put away as could Commonwealth Attorneys. VSSA believes all law abiding gun owners should have the ability to protect themselves and their families.

HB 1851 - Delegate Lingamfelter's bill that exempts active duty military from handgun rationing (one handgun-a-month).

Kaine Myth - "The new exemption would apply to active duty service members, whether Virginia residents or not. Because holders of valid Virginia concealed weapons permits are already able to purchase more than one handgun per month, House Bill 1851 only extends the ability to buy more than one handgun a month to nonresidents or those Virginians unable to obtain a concealed weapons permit."

Fact - Here's a news flash Governor Kaine - if someone is "unable to obtain" a CHP, they likely are not able to purchase a firearm. Simply because a member of the military chooses not to get a CHP should not preclude them from being able to purchase more than one handgun a month if they are law abiding citizens. These individuals are putting their lives on the line to protect our country so the least we can do is provide them with this exemption.

SB 1528 - Senator Cuccinnelli's bill that allows for online (Internet) training for CHP applicants.

Kaine Myth - "The state requires an applicant for a concealed weapons permit to take a written safety test to demonstrate that the individual understands how to use a weapon in a safe manner. Allowing the testing to be done online would weaken the ability of the Commonwealth to determine who is actually taking the test and open up opportunities for individuals to receive a permit under fraudulent circumstances with no guarantee that they can use a weapon safely."

Fact - Newsflash #2 Governor - There is no requirement in current law for a written safety test. Had you or your staff taken the time to check the code, or simply visit the State Police web site you would have seen the following requirement related to safety training:

Completing any hunter education or hunter safety course approved by the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries or a similar agency of another state;

Completing any National Rifle Association firearms safety or training course;

Completing any firearms safety or training course or class available to the general public offered by a law-enforcement agency, junior college, college, or private or public institution or organization or firearms training school utilizing instructors certified by the National Rifle Association or the Department of Criminal Justice Services;

Completing any law-enforcement firearms safety or training course or class offered for security guards, investigators, special deputies, or any division or subdivision of law enforcement or security enforcement;

Presenting evidence of equivalent experience with a firearm through participation in organized shooting competition or current military service or proof of an honorable discharge from any branch of the armed services;

Obtaining or previously having held a license to carry a firearm in this Commonwealth or a locality thereof, unless such license has been revoked for cause;

Completing any firearms training or safety course or class conducted by a state-certified or National Rifle Association-certified firearms instructor;

Completing any governmental police agency firearms training course and qualifying to carry a firearm in the course of normal police duties; or

Completing any other firearms training which the court deems adequate.

HB 2528 - Delegate Cole's bill placing some much needed sunshine on compensated gun confiscation schemes (gun buybacks).

Kaine Myth - "I veto House Bill 2528, which unnecessarily interferes with the operations of local governments. Specifically, the bill prohibits local law enforcement from choosing to conduct voluntary gun buyback programs and then destroying the weapons. Some localities have found this program to be effective in reducing the number of illegal firearms in their communities. It is not a mandatory program, and law enforcement in each locality have made the decision whether such a program is desirable in their own county or city. There is no compelling reason for the General Assembly to take this decision out of the hands of local law enforcement."

Fact - HB 2528 does not prohibit localities from conducting compensated gun confiscation programs nor does it prohibit localities from destroying the guns. The final version of the bill made it clear that one option for localities is to sell the guns to a federally licensed gun dealer. The important part of the bill that did remain is that localities have to pass an ordinance allowing them to operate one of these schemes (which by the way Governor there is not empirical evidence that they reduce the number of crime guns in communities), thus alerting taxpayers that their money is being used for a scheme that has not measurable impact on reducing crime.

Time is short. Contact your Delegate and Senator today, give them these important facts, and urge them to override Governor Kaine's vetoes.

Find your Delegate and Senator as well as their contact information by filling out the "Who's My Legislator" form here.

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