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Wednesday, January 17, 2018

More Gun Bills on Senate Courts Docket Wednesday Afternoon

Senate Courts of Justice meets again this afternoon and a number of gun bills are on the Docket, including handgun rationing, rolling back preemption, a bill allowing firearms in church during regularly scheduled services and a bill extending the amount of time a Concealed Handgun Permit is valid from five to 15 years.  Below is the complete list.

Patron: Lucas
Firearms on school property. Adds public, private, or religious preschools and child day centers that are not operated at the residence of the provider or of any of the children to the list of schools where possessing a firearm on school property or on a school bus is prohibited. Under current law, the list of such schools only includes public, private, or religious elementary, middle, or high schools.

Patron: Edwards
Control of firearms; chambers of local governing bodies. Allows a locality to adopt an ordinance that prohibits firearms, ammunition, or components or a combination thereof at any regular or special meeting of such local governing body, provided that notice of such prohibition is publicly posted and the meeting room is owned or operated by the locality.

Patron: Peake
Firearms in courthouses. Allows a person who may lawfully possess a firearm or ammunition for a firearm to carry a firearm or ammunition for a firearm into an area courthouse that is being used exclusively for purposes other than judicial proceedings outside of the courthouse's normal hours of operation.

Patron: Peake
Concealed handgun permit; expiration date. Extends from five to 15 years the validity of a concealed handgun permit.

Patron: Peake
Firearms in locked vehicles; immunity from liability. Provides that no person, property owner, tenant, employer, or business owner may (i) prohibit a person who lawfully possesses a firearm from storing that firearm or ammunition for a firearm in a locked motor vehicle, (ii) take any adverse employment action against an employee or contractor for lawfully storing a firearm or ammunition for a firearm in a locked motor vehicle, or (iii) search an employee's or contractor's motor vehicle or require that an employee or contractor consent to such a search as a condition of employment. The bill allows a person to petition a circuit court for an injunction to enforce his right to lawfully store a firearm or ammunition for a firearm in a locked motor vehicle. The bill provides immunity for any person, property owner, tenant, employer, or business owner in a civil action for any occurrence resulting from the use of a lawfully stored firearm or ammunition for a firearm. The provisions of the bill do not apply to (a) property owned or controlled by the federal government, (b) vehicles on property controlled by an employer required to develop and implement a security plan under federal law or regulation, (c) property on which a person is prohibited by law from possessing a firearm, (d) vehicles owned or leased by an employer or business entity and used by an employee or contractor in the course of his employment, or (e) personal vehicles while such vehicles are being used for the transport of consumers of programs licensed by the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services.

Patron: Chafin
Carrying dangerous weapon to place of religious worship. Repeals the statutory prohibition on carrying a gun, pistol, bowie knife, dagger, or other dangerous weapon, without good and sufficient reason, to a place of worship while a meeting for religious purposes is being held at such place.

Patron: Lucas
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-day period 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.

Patron: Wexton
Restoration of firearms rights; convicted felons. Requires the court to find by clear and convincing evidence that a person convicted of a violent felony, whose civil rights have been restored by the Governor or other appropriate authority, who has petitioned for a permit to possess or carry a firearm is not a risk to public safety and poses no present or future danger to himself or others prior to granting the petition and issuing the permit. Current law provides for a standard of good cause shown.

Patron: Howell
Allowing access to firearms by children; penalty. Provides that any person who leaves a loaded, unsecured firearm in such a manner as to endanger the life or limb of any person under the age of 18 is guilty of a Class 6 felony. Current law provides that any person who recklessly leaves a loaded, unsecured firearm in such a manner as to endanger the life or limb of any child under the age of 14 is guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor.

Patron: Reeves
Use or display of firearm during commission of a felony; killing or injuring police animals; penalty. Adds maliciously shooting, stabbing, wounding, or otherwise causing bodily injury to or administering poison to any animal used or trained by a law-enforcement agency, regional jail, or the Department of Corrections to the list of felonies for which a separate penalty is prescribed if a firearm is used during the commission of the offense.

Patron: Carrico
Possession of concealed handguns; concealed handgun permit holders at public institutions of higher education. Allows any person who possesses a valid Virginia concealed handgun permit or a concealed handgun permit from another state that is recognized by Virginia to carry a concealed handgun on the property of, in buildings owned by, or at events hosted at public institutions of higher education. The bill provides an exception that may prohibit firearms in facilities operated by the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services or a campus police department of a public institution of higher education if such facilities are located on the property of or in buildings owned by a public institution of higher education.

Patron: Hanger
Expansion of courthouses to contiguous property. Provides that expansion of a courthouse to contiguous land within the same county or city shall not trigger a referendum requirement. The existing statute refers only to relocation within the same county.

Patron: McPike
Dangerous weapons; place of religious worship. Requires a person to have the express authorization of a place of religious worship to carry certain weapons to such place of worship while a meeting for religious purposes is being held. Current law requires such person to have a good and sufficient reason to do so.

Patron: Spruill
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.

Patron: Howell
Protective orders; possession of firearms; penalty. Provides that it is a Class 6 felony for a person who is subject to a permanent protective order (i.e., a protective order with a maximum duration of two years) for subjecting another person to an act of violence, force, or threat to possess a firearm while the order is in effect, which is equivalent to the existing penalty for possession of a firearm by a person subject to a permanent protective order for family abuse. The bill also provides that such person may continue to possess and transport a firearm for 24 hours after being served with the order for the purposes of selling or transferring the firearm to another person.

Patron: Marsden
Protective orders; possession of firearms; surrender or transfer of firearms. Provides that a court shall order a person subject to a protective order to (i) surrender any firearm possessed by such person to the local law-enforcement agency of the county or city where such person resides or to sell or transfer any firearms possessed by such person to a firearms dealer within 24 hours after being served with a protective order or (ii) certify in writing that such person does not possess any firearms and file such certification with the clerk of the court that entered the protective order within three days after being served with a protective order. The bill also provides that within 48 hours after surrendering or selling or transferring all firearms, such person shall certify in writing that all firearms possessed by such person have either been surrendered or sold or transferred and file such certification with the clerk of the court that entered the protective order.

I also had the opportunity yesterday to speak with Cam Edwards of NRATV's Cam and Company and give a legislative update.  Bills have yet to move in the House but the Senate is moving quickly to dispose of firearm related bills.  The last day to introduce legislation if Friday. 

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