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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Virginia Legislative Update

Tuesday was the last day that the General Assembly could take up bills from the house of origin.  All surviving bills have now crossed over and VSSA is happy to report that not a single gun control measure made it out of the House of Delegates or the State Senate.  That is a massive smack down to Governor Terry McAuliffe who made gun control a major part of his 2015 legislative agenda. 

In reality, McAuliffe likely knew none of it would survive and calculated he could use the defeat as a campaign point in this year's legislative elections.  That too may be a miss calculation as he has very few pick-up opportunities in the House of Delegates and just as few in the State Senate.  He only needs one however to regain control of the State Senate so it is critical that gun owners be very active this election year to protect the pro-rights majority in the State Senate.  Below is a list of pro-rights bills that still remain alive for the remaining two and a half weeks of the Session.
  • HB 1287  Forfeiture of property used in connection with the commission of crimes; conviction required.
  • HB 1309 Local school boards; arming of school security officers
  • HB 1329 Out-of-state concealed handgun permits; photo identification.
  • HB 1666 Firearms; restoration of rights, petition to any circuit court. 
  • HB 2009 Firearms, certain; law-enforcement certification.
  • HB 2015 Exemption from creditor process; bankruptcy proceedings (Makes several changes to articles that may be exempted from creditor process including removing the one gun limit)
  • HB 2029 Concealed handgun permits; fees; background check; exemption for permit holders.
  • HB 2286  Provides that the prohibition on the possession and transportation of firearms, ammunition, stun weapons, and explosive materials by convicted felons does not apply to a felon whose right to possess firearms or ammunition has been restored under the law of another state or political subdivision
  • SB 848 Governor's Twenty marksmanship award. Establishes the "Governor's Twenty" marksmanship award to recognize the top 20 competitors in each of the rifle and pistol Excellence-in-Competition matches conducted at the annual Virginia State Championships conducted by the Virginia Shooting Sports Association. 
  • SB 936 Unclaimed firearms; donation to Department of Forensic Science.
  • SB 1137 Loaded rifle or shotgun; regulation of transportation.
  • SB 1155 Firearms; confiscation, reporting, and return by law enforcement.
  • SB 1191 Firearms; possession on school property.
It is likely that none of the Senate bills will encounter problems in the House of Delegates.  The only House Bill that could have tough going in the Senate is HB2029, that exempts concealed handgun permit (CHP) holders from background checks when they purchase a firearm.  Those checks would have to also undergo a National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) check to qualify for the federal exemption from background checks for those with CHPs.  When the bill is scheduled for a hearing in Senate Courts of Justice, the meeting notice will be posted here and an alert will be sent to VSSA members to contact committee members.

Finally, as was reported here on Saturday, the budget amendment that would have had a severe impact on the Northern Virginia Gun Club was pulled by the patron before the final Senate budget was announced.  While the VSSA and NRA lobbyists worked members of the committee, this result would not have been possible if VSSA members and members of the NVGC had not contacted members of the Senate Finance Committee. Thank you again for answering our call and standing up for fellow gun owners.

This is shaping up to be a very successful session.

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