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Thursday, February 26, 2015

NFA Uniform Standards Passes Senate With Amendment

Yesterday the State Senate passed House Bill 2009.  HB2009 sets up a uniform standard across Virginia for approving the transfer of a firearm as defined in the National Firearms Act.  HB2009 requires that certification must be provided within 60 days if the applicant is not prohibited by law from receiving the firearm.  It defines "firearm" as limited to machine guns, rifles and shotguns of a certain length, weapons made from certain rifles or shotguns, and suppressors (or silencers).  If the chief law-enforcement officer fails to provide certification within 60 days, the applicant has a right to an ore tenus hearing in circuit court and, unless the evidence shows that the applicant is prohibited by law from receiving the firearm, the court shall order the chief law-enforcement officer to issue the certification within five business days and may award the applicant court costs and reasonable attorney fees.

The Senate removed the part that provided for the awarding of court costs and reasonable attorney fees.  The bill now moves back to the House for approval of the amendment.  While it would be good to provide consequences for violating the approval requirements, get a standard and the ability to enforce it through the court is a positive step.

The gun ban lobby strongly opposed HB2009, referring to it as the "Weapons of War" bill.  Yesterday's vote has to be particularly stinging as Senator Norment, who opposed the bill in Senate Courts of Justice voted for the bill.  Unfortunately, Senator John Edwards, who is usually as strong supporter of our right to keep and bear arms voted against passage as he did in committee.

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