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Wednesday, March 16, 2016

2016 General Assembly Wrap-up

The Virginia General Assembly adjourned it's 2016 Session a day early on Friday, March 11. The big success of the session came on February 26 when Governor Terry McAuliffe signed into law legislation to address Attorney General Mark Herring’s cancellation of concealed carry reciprocity/recognition agreements with 25 states. House Bill 1163 and Senate Bill 610, patroned by Delegate Michael Webert and state Senator Bryce Reeves, will recognize all valid out-of-state concealed carry permits. This legislation also expands Virginia's reciprocity with other states by requiring the Virginia State Police to enter into reciprocal agreements with certain states so they will recognize Virginia’s concealed carry permit. This new law will go into effect on July 1, 2016.  In  the meantime, the State Police have updated their web site to reflect that agreements in place before December 22nd are still in effect.

Last week, the Governor’s amendment in the nature of a substitute to Senate Bill 626 and House Bill 766 was rejected and the bills were sent back to the Governor’s desk for his final consideration.   The Governor’s recommendations would have completely negated the intended purpose of the bills and turned the bills into domestic predator protection bills. Patroned by state Senator Jill Holtzman Vogel and Delegate Todd Gilbert, SB 626 /HB 766 would allow the petitioner of a protective order to temporarily carry a concealed handgun without a permit, giving them immediate self-defense options while waiting for their CHP to be approved.  McAuliffe's substitute would have required the petitioner to have already applied for the CHP before the protective order was issued (basically knowing ahead of time they were going to be in need of a protective order), required that they had already completed the required training (which by the way could not be an online course as other applicants can use), and would allow a judge to deny the use of the protective order as a temporary permit.  Senate Bill 626 and House Bill 766 are now heading back to the Governor’s desk in their original form.  He can either sign them or veto the bills.  Please contact the Governor and urge him to sign HB766 and SB626.

House Bill 1096 and House Bill 382 also head to the Governor’s desk for his consideration. HB 1096 patroned by Delegate Michael Webert would prohibit 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.  HB 382 patroned by Delegate Buddy Fowler would prohibit state agencies other than the Department of Corrections, Department of Juvenile Justice, and Virginia Port Authority and institutions of higher education, 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 unless the adoption of the regulation is expressly authorized by statute. The bill also provides that any such regulation or rule adopted prior to July 1, 2016, is invalid.

I had the opportunity to speak with Cam Edwards of NRANews earlier this week about the session.

Thank you to the VSSA members and other readers of this blog who contacted their lawmakers this session, especially on SB626 and HB766 last week.  We would also like to thank VSSA members who answered our fundraising request  to support the War Chest at the start of the session.  Your generous support allowed us to raise all of the funds necessary to pay our legislative lobbying bill this session.  Whether you contributed $5.00 or $500, your support is greatly appreciated and VSSA thanks you. You can continue to check the Legislative Tracking Form on the VSSA web site to monitor whether the Governor has signed, amended, or vetoed the bills now before him and this blog will continue to keep you informed of all legislation.  Know that as Virginia's oldest gun rights organization, VSSA will continue to fight for your Second Amendment rights in the Commonwealth of Virginia!

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