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Thursday, February 25, 2016

Legislative Update

As the General Assembly races toward its final two weeks, bills continue to be heard in committee and heard on the floor.  Most importantly, both the House and the Senate have sent to Governor McAuliffe the legislation tied to the deal to overturn Mark Herring's December action ending concealed carry permit recognition with 25 states.  The bills included in that deal that are now on the Governor's desk is:

House Bill 1163 and Senate Bill 610, patroned by Delegate Michael Webert (R-18) and state Senator Bryce Reeves (R-17), would recognize all valid out-of-state concealed carry permits.  This legislation would also require the Virginia State Police to enter into reciprocal agreements with certain states so they will recognize Virginia’s concealed carry permit.

House Bill 1386 and Senate Bill 715, patroned by Delegate Scott Lingamfelter (R-31) and state Senator John Edwards (D-21), would require the Virginia State Police to attend gun shows in the Commonwealth and provide voluntary background checks for private transfers between attendees.  These voluntary background checks act as an important safeguard for sellers because they provide civil liability protection.

House Bill 1391 and Senate Bill 49, patroned by Delegate Kathleen Murphy (D-34) and state Senator Janet Howell (D-32), would make it unlawful for any person who is subject to a domestic violence permanent protective order to possess any firearm while the order is in effect.

The Governor has until February 29th to act on the legislation.  He has indicated he will sign the bills.

In other action of interest to gun owners, last night, after a delay due to a tornado warning, Senate Courts of Justice took action on the following bills:

HB90 Possession of handguns by members of the Virginia National Guard Allows a member of the Virginia National Guard to possess a concealed handgun at National Guard facilities and facilities under contract with the National Guard if such member has a valid concealed handgun permit.- Amended and reported to full Senate

HB206 Transfer of certain firearms; identification requirement. Allows Virginia residents to purchase a firearm by presenting only one photo-identification form issued by a governmental agency of the Commonwealth or by the U.S. Department of Defense that demonstrates that the prospective purchaser resides in Virginia. The bill provides that a member of the armed forces whose photo identification issued by the Department of Defense does not have a Virginia address may establish his Virginia residency with such photo identification and permanent orders assigning the purchaser to a duty post, including the Pentagon, in Virginia or his Leave and Earnings Statement. Current law requires photo identification and another document that establishes residency, such as a lease or utility bill, and that includes an address that matches the photo identification.

HB382 Control of firearms by state agencies; rights of employees. Prohibits state agencies within the executive branch other than the Virginia Port Authority from adopting any regulation or workplace rule preventing officers or employees of such agencies from storing a lawfully possessed firearm and ammunition in a locked private motor vehicle at their workplace. The bill also provides that any such regulation or rule adopted prior to July 1, 2016, is invalid.  Reported to full Senate

HB560 Brandishing a firearm; intent; penalty. Requires that a person pointing, holding, or brandishing a firearm or similar weapons must have the intent to induce fear in the mind of another or know or reasonably should know that his conduct would induce such fear in order to be convicted of the crime of brandishing. Currently, the perpetrator's intent is not an element of the offense. Reported to full Senate

HB768 Victims of domestic violence, etc.; firearms safety or training course. Provides that the Department of Criminal Justice Services may distribute funds from the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Victim Fund to reimburse an entity that offers a firearms safety or training course or class approved by the Department free of charge to victims of domestic violence, sexual abuse, stalking, and family abuse. The bill also requires that, upon the issuance of a protective order, the petitioner for the order be provided with a list of such approved courses or classes.  Reported and rereferred to Finance

HB783 Brandishing a firearm; law-enforcement officer; penalty. Provides for a six-month mandatory minimum sentence upon conviction of a person for pointing, holding, or brandishing a firearm or similar weapon at someone who the person knows or has reason to know is a law-enforcement officer in such manner as to reasonably induce fear in the mind of another. Passed by Indefinately (failed to report).

HB809 Sale of firearms; persons not lawfully present in United States; penalty. Provides that the crime of selling, bartering, giving, or furnishing or possessing with the intent to sell, barter, give, or furnish a firearm to a person knowing that such person is prohibited from possessing or transporting a firearm because he is not lawfully present in the United States applies to assault firearms.  Reported and rereferred to Finance

HB810 Transfer of assault weapon; proof of citizenship. Makes consistent the type of identification and other documentation that a purchaser of a firearm must present when purchasing any type of firearm from a licensed dealer by removing the additional requirement for the purchase of an assault weapon that a person who purchases such a weapon must present proof of citizenship. The bill does not alter the provisions prohibiting the sale of assault firearms to noncitizens who have not been lawfully admitted for permanent residence.  Reported to the full Senate

HB1087 Violation of protective order; firearm or other deadly weapon; penalty. Provides that any person who violates any provision of certain protective orders while armed with a firearm or other deadly weapon is guilty of a Class 6 felony.  Reported from Senate Courts and rereferred to Finance

HB1096 Regulation of firearms by state entities. Prohibits any state entity from adopting or enforcing any rule, regulation, policy, or administrative action governing the purchase, possession, transfer, ownership, carrying, storage, or transporting of firearms, ammunition, or components or combinations thereof unless expressly authorized by statute. The bill invalidates any such rule, regulation, policy, or administrative action adopted by a state entity prior to July 1, 2016. The bill does not prohibit a law-enforcement officer from acting within the scope of his duties, nor does it apply to the Department of Corrections, Department of Juvenile Justice, Department of State Police, Virginia National Guard, Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, Department of Social Services, Virginia Port Authority, Officer of the State Inspector General, or any institution of higher education. The bill allows entities to adopt or enforce rules or regulations necessary for compliance with the Fire Prevention Code or necessary for the operation of Reserve Officer Training Corps programs. The bill expressly authorizes the Board of Game and Inland Fisheries to create certain regulations governing the possession, carrying, transportation, and storage of firearms, ammunition, or components or combinations thereof. This bill incorporates HB 593.  - Amended and reported to the full Senate

HB1234 School security officers; carrying a firearm. Authorizes a school security officer to carry a firearm in the performance of his duties if he is a retired law-enforcement officer and the local school board grants him the authority to carry a firearm in the performance of his duties. - Amended and reported to the full Senate

House bills that passed the Senate this week and:

HB51 Purchase of weapons other than handguns by certain officers
HB 332 Provides that a judge or retired judge of the Commonwealth may carry a concealed handgun throughout the Commonwealth without a permit. (The Senate amended the bill and it is now back in the House to approve the amendment)

HB766 Carrying concealed handguns; protective orders. Authorizes any person 21 years of age or older who is not prohibited from purchasing, possessing, or transporting a firearm and is protected by an unexpired protective order to carry a concealed handgun for 45 days after the protective order was issued.

HB784 Possession of firearms by persons adjudicated delinquent; military service exception. Provides that individuals who have previous adjudications of delinquency and have either completed a term of enlistment of no less than one year in the Armed Forces of the United States or received an honorable discharge from the Armed Forces of the United States are not disqualified from obtaining a concealed handgun permit and may possess or transport any firearm or ammunition for a firearm, any stun weapon, or any explosive material. (Amended in Senate and is now in House to approve or reject)

Senate bills passed by the House this week are:

SB198 Carrying concealed weapons; exceptions. Adds any employee with internal investigations authority designated by the Department of Corrections pursuant to subdivision 11 of § 53.1-10 retired from the Department of Corrections to listed individuals who may carry a concealed handgun, provided that he carries written proof of the need to carry.

SB205 Purchase of handguns by certain officers. Adds employees of the Department of Corrections with internal investigations authority to the list of law-enforcement officers who may purchase their service handguns for $1.00.

SB479 Retired law-enforcement officers; concealed handguns. Clarifies provisions relating to the authority of retired law-enforcement officers, special agents of the State Corporation Commission and Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, members of the enforcement division of the Department of Motor Vehicles, and investigators of the security division of the Virginia Lottery to carry concealed handguns.

SB544 Concealed handgun permit; judges exempt. (House passed substitute and must be approved by Senate)

You can check the progress of all legislation on the VSSA web site on the VSSA Legislative Tracking Form.

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