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Thursday, January 23, 2014

Legislative Update

Gun owners have fared well so far in the two legislative committees that have heard firearm related bills.  The House Militia, Police, and Public Safety Committee has defeated bills that would have banned out of state residents from purchasing long guns, banned standard capacity ammunition magazines, required private sales to undergo background checks, and prohibited firearms from legislative buildings.

Senate Courts of Justice met yesterday and also defeated some bills related to background checks on private firearm sales.  Unfortunately, they also all but killed a bill that would have exempted concealed handgun permit (CHP) holders from background checks at the time of a firearm purchase - carrying the bill over to next year.  Typically, that is the way the legislature kills bills without having to taking a vote to do so.

Sunday Hunting cleared a major hurdle on Wednesday when HB1237 was reported out of committee on a vote of 12-10. The bill has never made it out of subcommittee in the past.  This year it was heard by the full committee.  HB1237 would allow Virginians to hunt on private property with the permission of the land owner, but would prohibit the use of dogs for deer and bear, and prohibit hunting within 200 yards of a House of Worship.  The bill moves to the full House and will likely be debated Friday or Monday.  VSSA knows that this issue divides the hunting community, but HB1237 is a good compromise that allows those who cannot hunt the other six days of the week due to work and family responsibilities, the opportunity to hunt if they have access to private land.

The good news is that gun control bills are still being defeated in both the State Senate and the House of Delegates.  We will have to wait to see if we can get good bills out of the State Senate and on Governor McAuliffe's desk.

The House Militia, Police and Public Safety Subcommittee #1 will take up two bills today - Lifetime CHPs and exemption from background checks at the time of a firearm purchase for CHP holders.  VSSA will give live results via Twitter.  You can also track the progress of legislation on the VSSA Legislative Tracking Form.

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