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Thursday, January 29, 2015

Courts of Justice Reconsiders Bill Taking Away Rights for Misdemeanor Convictions

In what the Richmond Times-Dispatch called a "surprising reversal of fortune," Senate Courts of Justice reversed Monday's action on SB 943, Senator Barbara A. Favola's bill prohibiting possession or transportation of a firearm when an individual has certain misdemeanor convictions.

On Monday, it appeared that the bill had been reported and referred to Senate Finance.  But when votes were posted on the Legislative Information System (LIS), the vote count was reported as having failed 4-10.  The gun ban lobby cried foul and Courts took the matter back up in their meeting yesterday:
Angered and surprised, gun control advocates cried foul. The ensuing brouhaha persuaded Norment to let Favola present her bill to the committee at its meeting Wednesday.

This time, the bill — which was amended to allow people convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence to seek gun rights reinstatement after one year, rather than five years — drew support from a number of Republicans on the GOP-controlled committee who were listed in opposition just two days earlier.

The measure passed 10-4 and was referred to the Senate Finance Committee. It must consider the measure’s financial impact and advance the legislation before it can be heard in the full Senate.
VSSA is discussing the changes with the legislative team to determine if the provision for a one-year reinstatement appeal process makes the bill more acceptable.  For now, VSSA remains opposed to taking away constitutions rights for misdemeanor convictions.

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