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Thursday, February 4, 2016

VSSA Legislative Update

With a number of the bad gun bills disposed up last week, the VSSA lobbying team has been watching as some good bills have made it to the floor of the House and Senate.  The following bills have passed the House and the Senate:

HB 51 - Purchase of weapons other than handguns by certain officers. Allows officers of certain agencies to purchase, at a fair market price and with approval of the agency head, weapons other than handguns that are issued for personal use of an officer so long as the weapon is a type and configuration that can be purchased at a regular hardware or sporting goods store by a private citizen without restrictions other than the instant background check. Current law allows this type of purchase only for the Department of State Police.

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. 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.

HB 332 - Concealed handgun permit; judges exempt. Provides that a judge or retired judge of the Commonwealth may carry a concealed handgun throughout the Commonwealth without a permit.

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. The bill provides that if the person issued the protective order applies for a concealed handgun permit during such 45-day period, such person will be authorized to carry a concealed handgun for an additional 45 days and be given a copy of the certified application, which shall serve as a de facto concealed handgun permit. The bill requires such person to have the order or certified application and photo identification on his person when carrying a concealed handgun and to display them upon demand by a law-enforcement officer; failure to do so is punishable by a $25 civil penalty.

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.

HB1281 - Carrying concealed weapons; exception for certain retired officers. Decreases from 15 to 10 the number of years of service required for certain retired officers to be exempt from the prohibition on carrying a concealed weapon.

Bills that have passed the State Senate are:

SB175 - Concealed handgun permits; sharing of information. Provides that information on concealed handgun permittees in the Virginia Criminal Information Network shall not be shared with law enforcement in states that do not have reciprocity agreements with Virginia for the carrying of concealed handguns.

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 retired law-enforcement officers who may purchase their service handguns for $1.00.

SB544 - Concealed handgun permit; judges exempt. Provides that a judge or retired judge of the Commonwealth may carry a concealed handgun throughout the Commonwealth without a permit.

SB608 - Confiscation, reporting, and return of firearms by law enforcement. Replaces current requirements that law-enforcement agencies report information regarding confiscated firearms to the Department of State Police with a requirement that information be reported to a firearms tracing system maintained by the U.S. Department of Justice. The bill requires law-enforcement agencies to return stolen firearms to the rightful owner unless the person is prohibited from possessing the firearm or it is needed in a criminal prosecution.

SB615 - Purchase of weapons other than handguns by certain officers. Allows officers of certain agencies to purchase, at a fair market price and with approval of the agency head, weapons other than handguns that are issued for personal use of an officer so long as the weapon is a type and configuration that can be purchased at a regular hardware or sporting goods store by a private citizen without restrictions other than the instant background check. Current law allows this type of purchase only for the Department of State Police.

The VSSA lobbying team is watching very closely SB610, Senator Reeves' bill to restore and expand concealed carry reciprocity/recognition.  The patron has asked that the bill be passed by for the day several times.  It will again be up for final passage today. (Update: SB610 Passed the Senate on Thursday on a vote of 27-13.)

There will not be a meeting of the Militia Police and Public Safety Subcommittee #1 today.  There are several bills of interest to gun owners on Friday's Militia Police and Public Safety's full committee docket.  Be sure to check the VSSA web site and blog for the most up-to-date legislative information.

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