A couple of new bills dropped in the final days of last week that should be of interest to gun owners. The first is Senator Emmett Hanger's response to Attorney General Herring's unilaterally invalidating agreements with 25 states to recognize concealed carry permits from those states. The bill is SB713 and it establishes the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Advisory Commission (the Commission) as a legislative commission. This bill would strip the Attorney General's authority to enter into reciprocity and recognition agreements with other states and put it in the hands of the legislature. Of the bills introduced to deal with this issue, SB713 is the only one that establishes a process and looks to be the best vehicle to undo Herring's actions. The way the bill is drafted, it is possible that enough Democratic votes could be rounded up to override a likely veto from Governor McAuliffe. The VSSA legislative team will be working this bill hard and will let members know when calls and emails are needed.
The other bill is Senator John Edwards' SB716. This bill creates a Class 3 misdemeanor for a person who is not a licensed dealer but who conducts business as a merchant of firearms to sell a firearm without a background check conducted by a federally licensed dealer. The bill exempts transfers to family members, personal friends, by inheritance, by operation of law, or for a temporary purpose. This bill basically is what is current law under ATF regulations, so it appears to be an attempt to appear to be doing something without really doing anything.
Edwards also has a bill in that allows private sellers to voluntarily conduct background checks at gun shows by requiring the gun show to allow state police sufficient facilities to conduct the checks at the show. Delegate Scott Lingamfelter has a companion bill in the House.