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Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Firearm Bills Start to Move in House of Delegates

The House Militia, Police and Public Safety Committee Subcommittee #1 will take up 17 firearm related bills on Thursday at 4:00 PM.  Bills on the docket include legislation to ban bump stocks, bills to reinstate handgun rationing, banning ammunition magazines that hold more that 10 rounds, and a bill to require a permit to purchase a handgun.  The full list is below.

HB41 Firearms; mechanical devices designed to increase rate of fire, penalty.
Mechanical devices designed to increase the rate of fire of firearms; penalty. Prohibits the manufacture, import, sale or offer to sell, possession, transfer, or transportation of any device used to increase the rate of fire of any semi-automatic firearm beyond the capability of an unaided person to operate the trigger mechanism of that firearm. A violation is punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor.

HB91 Concealed handgun permits; demonstration of competence.
Concealed handgun permits; demonstration of competence. Removes the option for concealed handgun permit applicants to demonstrate competence with a handgun by completing an electronic, video, or online course conducted by a state-certified or National Rifle Association-certified firearms instructor. The bill does not affect any in-person means of satisfying the requirement to demonstrate competence with a handgun under current law.

HB602 Concealed handgun permits; demonstration of competence.
Concealed handgun permits; demonstration of competence. Removes the option for concealed handgun permit applicants to demonstrate competence with a handgun by completing an electronic, video, or online course conducted by a state-certified or National Rifle Association-certified firearms instructor. The bill does not affect any in-person means of satisfying the requirement to demonstrate competence with a handgun under current law.

HB140 Firearm transfers; criminal history record information checks, penalty.
Firearm transfers; criminal history record information checks; penalty. Requires a background check for any firearm transfer and requires the Department of State Police to establish a process for transferors to obtain such a check from licensed firearms dealers. A transferor who fails to obtain a required background check and sells the firearm to another person is guilty of a Class1 misdemeanor. The bill exempts transfers between immediate family members, transfers that occur by operation of law, transfers by the executor or administrator of an estate or by the trustee of a testamentary trust, and temporary transfers that occur in the presence of the owner of the firearm or are necessary to prevent imminent death or serious bodily injury. The bill removes the provision that makes background checks of prospective purchasers or transferees at firearms shows voluntary.

HB721 Firearm transfers; criminal history record information checks, penalty.
Firearm transfers; criminal history record information checks; penalty. Requires a background check for any firearm transfer and requires the Department of State Police to establish a process for transferors to obtain such a check from licensed firearms dealers. A transferor who fails to obtain a required background check and sells the firearm to another person is guilty of a Class1 misdemeanor. The bill exempts transfers between immediate family members, transfers that occur by operation of law, transfers by the executor or administrator of an estate or by the trustee of a testamentary trust, and temporary transfers that (i) occur within the continuous presence of the owner of the firearm; (ii) are necessary to prevent imminent death or serious bodily injury; (iii) occur at a shooting range, shooting gallery, or other area designed for the purpose of target shooting, for use during target practice, a firearms safety or training course or class, a shooting competition, or any similar lawful activity; or (iv) are for the purpose of and while the transferee is engaged in hunting, trapping, or target shooting. The bill removes the provision that makes background checks of prospective purchasers or transferees at firearms shows voluntary.

HB977 Firearm transfers; criminal history record information checks, penalty.
Firearm transfers; criminal history record information checks; penalty. Requires a background check for any firearm transfer and requires the Department of State Police to establish a process for transferors to obtain such a check from licensed firearms dealers. A transferor who fails to obtain a required background check and sells the firearm to another person is guilty of a Class1 misdemeanor. The bill exempts transfers between immediate family members, transfers that occur by operation of law, transfers by the executor or administrator of an estate or by the trustee of a testamentary trust, and temporary transfers that occur in the presence of the owner of the firearm or are necessary to prevent imminent death or serious bodily injury. The bill removes the provision that makes background checks of prospective purchasers or transferees at firearms shows voluntary.

HB1373 Firearm transfers; criminal history record information checks, penalty.
Firearm transfers; criminal history record information checks; penalty. Requires a background check for any firearm transfer and directs the Department of State Police (the Department) to establish a process for transferors to obtain such a check from licensed firearms dealers. A transferor who sells a firearm to another person without obtaining the required background check is guilty of a Class 6 felony. The bill exempts transfers (i) between immediate family members, (ii) that occur by operation of law, (iii) by the executor or administrator of an estate or by the trustee of a testamentary trust, and (iv) that are temporary and occur in the presence of the owner of the firearm or are necessary to prevent imminent death or serious bodily injury. The bill removes the provision that makes background checks of prospective purchasers or transferees at firearms shows voluntary. The bill also provides that the Department shall have three business days to complete a criminal history record information check before a firearm may be transferred.

HB717 Firearms; criminal history record information check on transferee, penalties.
Transfer of firearms; criminal history record information check; penalties. Requires that a criminal history record information check be performed on the prospective transferee before a vendor, defined in the bill, may transfer firearms at a gun show. A violation is a Class 6 felony. The bill also requires that the promoter of a firearms show post notice of the requirement for a criminal history record information check and provide vendors with access to licensed dealers who will conduct the criminal history record information check. The bill repeals a provision added by the2016 Session of the General Assembly that requires the Department of State Police to be available to perform background checks for non-dealer sales at firearms shows if requested by a party involved in a transaction.

HB1143 Handguns; transfer permit required, penalties.
Transfer of handguns; permit required; penalties. Requires the Department of State Police to establish procedures for issuing handgun transfer permits and provides that a person who willfully and intentionally transfers a firearm to a person without a permit is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. The bill provides exceptions to this requirement, including an exemption for dealers who obtain a background check. The bill provides that any person who displays a handgun transfer permit that has been revoked or suspended knowing that such permit has been revoked or suspended is guilty of a Class1 misdemeanor. In order for the bill to become effective, the U.S. Department of Justice must approve the policies and procedures that the Department of State Police will use to implement the provisions of the bill.

HB353 Handguns; limitation on purchases, penalty.
Purchase of handguns; limitation on handgun purchases; penalty. Prohibits any person who is not a licensed firearms dealer from purchasing more than one handgun in a 30-dayperiod and establishes such an offense as a Class 1 misdemeanor. The bill exempts from this provision (i) persons who have been issued a certificate by the Department of State Police under certain circumstances and with an enhanced background check, (ii) law-enforcement agencies and officers, (iii) state and local correctional facilities, (iv)licensed private security companies, (v) persons who hold a valid Virginia concealed handgun permit, (vi) persons whose handgun has been stolen or irretrievably lost or who are trading in a handgun,(vii) purchases of handguns in a private sale, and (viii) purchases of antique firearms.

HB650 Handguns; limitation on purchases, penalty.
Purchase of handguns; limitation on handgun purchases; penalty. Prohibits any person who is not a licensed firearms dealer from purchasing more than one handgun in a 30-dayperiod and establishes such an offense as a Class 1 misdemeanor. The bill exempts from this provision (i) persons who have been issued a certificate by the Department of State Police under certain circumstances and with an enhanced background check, (ii) law-enforcement agencies and officers, (iii) state and local correctional facilities, (iv)licensed private security companies, (v) persons who hold a valid Virginia concealed handgun permit, (vi) persons whose handgun has been stolen or irretrievably lost or who are trading in a handgun,(vii) purchases of handguns in a private sale, and (viii) purchases of antique firearms.

HB596 Firearm magazines; prohibition of sale, transfer, etc., fine.
Prohibition of sale, transfer, etc., of certain firearms magazines; fine. Provides that any person, corporation, or other entity that manufactures, imports, possesses, purchases, sells, or transfers any large capacity magazine shall be subject to a $500 fine. The bill provides exceptions to the prohibition. The bill provides that a registrant is limited to three large capacity magazines and must otherwise dispose of all magazines in excess of the limit. The bill requires the Department of State Police to provide a means to register a large capacity magazine and, at the time of registration, to permanently mark such magazine for the purpose of identification and maintain records regarding such identification information. Finally, the bill provides that any large capacity magazine that is possessed in violation of law is subject to forfeiture to the Commonwealth.

HB1145 Firearms magazines, certain; prohibition of sale, transfer, etc., fine.
Prohibition of sale, transfer, etc., of certain firearms magazines; fine. Provides that any person, corporation, or other entity that manufactures, imports, possesses, purchases, sells, or transfers any large capacity magazine shall be subject to a $250 fine. The bill provides exceptions to the prohibition. The bill provides that a registrant is limited to three large capacity magazines and must otherwise dispose of all magazines in excess of the limit. The bill requires the Department of State Police to provide a means to register a large capacity magazine and, at the time of registration, to permanently mark such magazine for the purpose of identification and maintain records regarding such identification information. Finally, the bill provides that any large capacity magazine that is possessed in violation of law is subject to forfeiture to the Commonwealth.

HB927 Firearms magazines and firearms, certain; prohibition of sale, transfer, etc., penalties.
Prohibition of sale, transfer, etc., of certain firearms magazines and firearms; penalties. Prohibits any person from importing, selling, bartering, or transferring a firearms magazine designed to hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition. A violation is a Class 6 felony. The bill prohibits a person from carrying semi-automatic center-fire firearms with more than 10 rounds of ammunition in a public place; under existing law, this prohibition applies only in certain localities and only to such firearms if the firearm holds more than 20 rounds of ammunition. The bill also increases from a Class 1 misdemeanor to a Class 6 felony the penalty for carrying a semi-automatic center-fire firearm and a shotgun with a magazine that will hold more than seven rounds of the longest ammunition for which it is chambered in a public place. The bill redefines "assault firearm" by reducing from more than 20 to more than 10 the number of rounds of ammunition that a firearms magazine will hold in order to be defined as an "assault firearm" and prohibits a dealer from selling, renting, trading, or transferring from his inventory such an assault firearm to any person. The bill also reduces from more than 20 to more than 10 the number of rounds of ammunition that a firearms magazine will hold in order to be defined as an "assault firearm" for purposes of possession or transportation by a person younger than 18 years of age and increases the penalty from a Class 1 misdemeanor to a Class 6 felony for a person younger than 18 years of age to possess or transport a handgun, an assault firearm, or a shotgun with a magazine that will hold more than seven rounds of the longest ammunition for which it is chambered, with some exceptions.

HB273 Firearms; civil liability for sale or transfer, background check.
Civil liability for sale or transfer of a firearm; background check. Provides that a person is civilly liable for injuries to person or property or wrongful death of another caused by a third party if it can be shown that the civil defendant sold or transferred a firearm to the person who committed the crime resulting in injury or death without obtaining a background check and verification that the transferee was not prohibited from possessing a firearm.

HB281 Firearms, certain; possession by minors, parental permission, penalty.
Relating to possession of certain firearms by minors; parental permission; penalty. Requires any minor who possesses certain firearms in the home or on the property of his parent, grandparent, or legal guardian to have prior permission from such parent, grandparent, or legal guardian to possess such firearms.

HB498 Concealed handgun permits, out-of-state; reciprocity.
Out-of-state concealed handgun permits; reciprocity. Eliminates the recent expansion of the recognition of concealed handgun permits issued by other states and reinstates the prior law that provides that Virginia will recognize concealed handgun permits issued by other states that (i) provide a 24-hour-a-day means of verification of the validity of the permits issued in that state and (ii) have requirements and qualifications that are adequate to prevent possession of a permit by persons who would be denied a permit in Virginia. The bill also reinstates the recognition of certain Maryland concealed handgun permits and eliminates the requirement that the Superintendent of State Police enter into agreements for reciprocal recognition of concealed handgun permits or licenses with other states where agreements were in existence on December 1, 2015.

Please contact the sub-committee members and urge them to oppose the above bills on tomorrow's docket.

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