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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

More Firearms Bills Pre-filed, General Assembly Convenes Today

The General Assembly Convenes today at noon. More firearms legislation was also prefiled and posted on the Legislative Information System yesterday.

HB 251 Self-defense; person who lawfully occupies dwelling may use degree of force against an intruder (Castle Doctrine). Senate Courts has been the death of this bill in the past. We will be working hard for this bill this year in hopes of getting it out of the Senate and on Governor McDonnell's desk.

HB 475 Possession of firearms on school property; concealed handgun permits. This bill allows a person who has a valid concealed handgun permit to carry a concealed handgun in a part of a school building not being used for school-related functions or extracurricular activities and also allows persons with a valid concealed handgun permit to carry a concealed handgun while in a parking lot or traffic circle of a school, regardless of whether such person is in a vehicle. Current law only allows such a person to carry the concealed firearm in a parking lot or traffic circle while in a vehicle.

HB 489 Reorganizing the law related to concealed weapons and concealed handgun permits. This is a restructuring of the current CHP statute and does not make any changes in the law, just makes it easier to follow and understand.

HB 490 Concealed handgun; development of plan for issuance of lifetime permit by Virginia State Police. This would be a great improvement if we actually get a plan and implement lifetime permits. In a tough budget year, look for the State Police to balk, saying they would need additional money to create a plan in a year where they have laid off personnel. They have been known to say one thing in committee and work back channels to kill CHP improvements.

HB 505 Concealed handguns; restaurants. This bill repeals the ban on carrying concealed in
restaurants like Applebees, Olive Garden, and others that serve alcohol in addition to food. This bill differs from Delegate Cole's bill (HB 106) in that HB 505 only deals with the restaurant issue and prohibits consuming alcohol. Delegate Cole's bill combines the issue of restaurants and carrying in places of worship. Delegate Cole's bill also does not forbid the consuming of alcohol while carrying concealed in the restaurant.

The first overtly anti-gun bills have also been prefiled:

HB 520 Sale of firearms at firearms shows. This bill is a novel approach to close the non-existent "gun show loophole" by requiring any person who has a fixed location at a gun show to display and sell firearms and any person who sells three or more firearms at a gun show, regardless of whether he has a fixed location, to be licensed as a Virginia firearms dealer. The thing is, there currently is no such thing as a "Virginia firearms dealer" only Federal Firearms Dealer. So, Virginia would have to create a license.

SB 268 Dangerous weapons in government facilities. This bill totally guts pre-emption by allowing the governing body of any locality, by ordinance, to make it unlawful for any person to possess a dangerous weapon upon the property, including buildings and grounds thereof, of any facility that is owned or leased by that locality and used by it for governmental purposes.

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