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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

March 30 Deadline for Governor to Act on Legislation

March 30th is the last day for Governor Kaine to sign, amendment, or veto legislation that passed the General Assembly. If you have not already done so, please contact Governor Kaine and urge him to sign the bills listed below. I recommend sending a seperate email, phone call or fax, for each bill so that your contact has a bigger impact. You can contact the Governor by phone at:

Phone: (804) 786-2211 Fax: (804) 371-6351

and you can use the form at this web page to send an email to Governor Kaine.

Below is the list of bills that you need to address:

Senate Bills

SB 877 - Senator Martin's bill that allows "retired" law enforcement officers to carry concealed in a restaurant that serves alcoholic. Unlike Senator Hanger's bill that applies to the rest of us, retired law enforcement officers will be able to consume alcohol while, if they wish. Given that Governor Kaine signed a similar bill for Commonwealth Attorneys last year while vetoing the one applying to the rest of us, it will be interesting to watch Kaine's contortions should he sign Senator Martin's bill and veto Senator Hanger's bill.

SB1035 - Senator Hanger's bill mentioned above that repeals the ban on carrying concealed in restaurants that serve alcohol. The notification provision that required someone carrying to notify a designated restaurant employee was removed from the bill.

SB 1383 - Senator Stolle's bill that repeals Virginia's statute related to possession of an unregistered silencer (federal law will still apply).

SB 1513 - Senator Smith 's bill that allows courts to award attorney fees to anyone challenging a local ordinance, resolution, etc., that is in conflict with Virginia's preemption statute, and winning the suit. The bill originally required awarding of court costs but the Senate amended it making awarding of court costs permissive. While not what we would have liked, it is a step in the right direction and will hopefully put localities on notice (Norfolk) that violating the preemption statute may have consequences.

SB1528 - Senator Cuccinelli's bill clarifying that the safety course conducted by a state-certified or National Rifle Association-certified firearms instructor required for obtaining a concealed handgun permit may be done electronically or on-line.

House Bills

HB 1655 - Delegate Carrico's companion bill to Senator Smith's bill above.

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

HB 2144 - Delegate Nutter's bill codifying Attorney General McDonald's opinion that the State Police cannot release the list of concealed handgun permit holders. The information however would still be available through local circuit courts but they only have the list of CHP holders in that particular locality.

HB 2528 - Delegate Cole's bill that require localities that wish to operate a compensated gun confiscation program (gun buybacks) that they have to pass an ordinance to that effect and that they will have to offer the guns taken for sale to an FFL or dispose of them in some other legal manner. As introduced, it was mandated that the guns be sold to an FFL but Senator Stolle weakened the bill allowing localities to continue destroying the guns rather than offer them for sale. While the bill is not what we would have likes, it does place some much needed sunshine on these schemes and before participating in such a scheme, taxpayers would have prior notice as there is a public procedure to pass a new ordinance.

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