Thursday, February 2, 2017

Legislative Update

As the General Assembly races toward "Crossover" on February 7th, bills both good and bad are being dispensed with at a rapid pace.  That is not to say that good legislation is not moving forward, but bills like "Constitutional Carry" cleared Senate Courts of Justice only to be killed by the Senate Finance Committee.  A complete list of bills and their current status can be found on the VSSA web site but below are details of the more important bills that were introduced and where they currently stand in the legislature:

HB1392School security officers; carrying a firearm in performance of duties.Authorizes a school security officer to carry a firearm in the performance of his duties if (i) he is a retired law-enforcement officer who retired or resigned in good standing, (ii) he has met the additional training and certification requirements of the Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS), (iii) the local school board solicits input from the chief law-enforcement officer of the locality regarding the qualifications of the officer, and (iv) the local school board grants him the authority to carry a firearm in the performance of his duties. The bill requires DCJS to establish additional firearms training and certification requirements for school security officers who carry a firearm in the performance of their duties. Existing law requires DCJS to establish minimum training and certification requirements for school security officers. - Passed House

HB1406 - Restoration of right to possess, etc., a firearm. Provides that a person convicted of a felony, other than a violent felony, whose civil rights have been restored is not required to petition a circuit court for an order to possess, transport, or carry a firearm, ammunition for a firearm, or a stun weapon. The bill provides that such person's right to possess, transport, or carry such items is automatically restored upon the restoration of his civil rights. The bill has an effective date of January 1, 2019, contingent upon voter approval of amendments to Article II, Section 1 and Article V, Section 12 of the Constitution of Virginia at the November 2018 general election. Died in Subcommittee

HB1432 - Carrying a switchblade knife; exception. Authorizes any person to carry a switchblade knife concealed when such knife is carried for the purpose of engaging in a lawful profession or recreational activity the performance of which is aided by the use of a switchblade knife. The bill removes switchblade knives from the list of weapons the selling, bartering, giving, or furnishing of which is a Class 4 misdemeanor. Passed House

HB1466 - Renewal of concealed handgun permits; notice. Requires the clerk of the court that issued a concealed handgun permit to notify the permit holder, at least 120 days but no more than 180 days prior to the expiration date, of the expiration date of the permit and the requirements for renewing the permit. The bill provides that such notice may be sent to the permit holder's address or, upon request of the permit holder, email or other electronic address. The bill provides further that any failure to send or receive such notice does not extend the validity of the existing permit beyond its expiration date. Passed House

HB1582 - Concealed handgun permits; age requirement for persons on active military duty. Allows a person at least 18 years of age but less than 21 years of age to apply for a concealed handgun permit if he is on active military duty or has received an honorable discharge from the United Stated Armed Forces and allows reciprocity under the same circumstances for a nonresident who carries a concealed handgun or weapons permit recognized in the Commonwealth. Current law requires that residents and nonresidents be at least 21 years of age to carry a concealed handgun. Passed House

HB1849 - Concealed handgun permit; permit requirements. Provides that a concealed handgun permit shall be of a size comparable to a Virginia driver's license and may be laminated or use a similar process to protect the permit. Current law requires that the permit be no larger than two inches wide by three and one-fourth inches long. Passed House

SB989 Commonwealth's Twenty marksmanship award. Provides for the Commonwealth's Twenty marksmanship award to recognize the top 20 marksmen in Virginia. These top 20 marksmen shall be chosen from the Virginia state residents who compete at the annual Virginia State Championship matches sanctioned by the Virginia Shooting Sports Association . Passed Senate

SB1023 - Concealed handgun permits; sharing of information. Prohibits sharing of information regarding Virginia concealed handgun permits in the Virginia Criminal Information Network with law enforcement in states that do not recognize a Virginia concealed handgun permit as valid in the state. The bill requires the Department of State Police to maintain and publish online a list of states that recognize a Virginia concealed handgun permit as valid in the state. The bill does not create a private cause of action. Passed Senate

SB1299 - 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. Passed Senate

SB1444 - Restricted ammunition; use or attempted use in the commission of a felony; penalty. Removes the prohibition on use or attempted use of restricted firearm ammunition in any non-felony criminal offense. The bill expands the definition of restricted firearms ammunition to include "pinched tip" bullets and expands the exception to such definition to include certain ammunition with copper cores. The bill provides that if any ammunition has been approved by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives for commercial sale, it is not restricted firearms ammunition. Reported from Committee and on Second Reading in Senate

In addition to the above good bills, a number of bad bills including bills requiring firearm dealers to to stock so-called "Smart Guns", bans on carrying in public libraries, handgun rationing, so-called "universal" background checks, bills restricting parents from deciding when to introduce their children to the shooting sports, and bills making private sellers liable if a firearm they sell ends up being used in a crime, have all been defeated.

The VSSA legislative team has been working with the committees responsible and continues to work bills that are still active.  Be sure to check the VSSA Legislative Tracking Form regularly for updates.

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