Friday, February 2, 2018

Legislative Update - Good Week for Virginia Gun Owners

It was a good week for Virginia gun owners in the General Assembly this week as more of Governor Northam's gun ban agenda was defeated in Senate and House of Delegate committees.  First on Wednesday, Senate Finance dispensed with a bill that would ban bump stocks (SB1), and a bill that would add private and public preschools and day care centers as places where firearms are banned (SB79).  In the House of Delegates, the Militia, Police, and Public Safety Committee Subcommittee #1 met for three hours last night and disposed of a long list of bad bills as well as advancing three good bills.  First, the good bills that advanced:
  • HB681 Nonresident concealed handgun permits; time of issuance. Requires the Department of State Police (Department) to issue a concealed handgun permit to a nonresident within 45 days of receipt of the nonresident's completed application unless it determines that he is disqualified. Reported and referred to Appropriations
  • HB1255 Concealed handgun permits. Allows any person who is otherwise eligible to obtain a concealed handgun permit to carry a concealed handgun without a permit anywhere he may lawfully carry a handgun openly within the Commonwealth. (Constitutional Carry) Reported and referred to Appropriations 
  • HB1398  Application for a concealed handgun permit. Allows a Virginia resident or domiciliary to submit an application for a new concealed handgun permit via mail. Currently, only persons who have previously been issued a concealed handgun permit may submit an application via mail. Reported and referred to Appropriation.
The bad bills that were defeated are below:
  • HB68 Firearms; libraries owned or operated by localities.
  • HB261 Localities; regulation of firearms in government buildings.
  • HB597 Firearms; mechanical devices designed to increase the rate of fire, penalty.
  • HB648 Transfer of multiple firearms; report to the Department of State Police. (requires dealer who sells more than two firearms to one individual to notify the state police)
  • HB649 Firearms, certain; prohibited public carrying, penalty.
  • HB814 Firearms; control by localities, lawful demonstrations and protests.
  • HB819 Firearms; prohibits mechanical devices designed to increase rate of fire, penalty.
  • HB929 Licensed family day homes; storage of firearms.
  • HB949 Firearms; transfer, criminal history record check delay.
  • HB950 Firearm or pneumatic gun; allowing access by children age four or younger, penalty.
  • HB1009 Firearms, certain; prohibited public carrying, penalty.
  • HB1019 Firearms, etc.; permitted events.
  • HB1052 Firearms; control by localities, lawful demonstrations and protests.
  • HB1394 Firearms show; list of vendors or exhibitors submitted to State Police.
It should be noted that the subcommittee failed to recommend reporting one bill that VSSA remained neutral because it continues something that the General Assembly has regularly done in the past - set up a separate class of gun owners (in this case retired-law enforcement) that is able to exercise rights that all of us should be able to exercise.

  • HB1443 Concealed handguns; retired law-enforcement officers may carry without a permit, etc.
When the Session began, there was a huge question what such a small pro-rights majority and the loss of so many good Second Amendment supporting legislators would mean for gun owners.  Would some of the remaining members be open to supporting things like banning common firearm accessories like bump stocks?  The results of the first half of the session have been positive in that all of the bad bills that have come before committees to date have been defeated.  A small number of pro-rights bills still remain alive and the VSSA Legislative Team will continue to work for passage of those bills.

UPDATE: HB 1180, a bill that would repeal the prohibition the  "good and sufficient reason" to carry during a church service, was reported by the full Militia, Police, and Public Safety Committee this morning by a 12 to 9 vote! (The Senate version, SB 372, has already passed the Senate and awaits action in the House - the Governor has vowed to veto it if it reaches his desk). HB 1180 now heads to the full House for a vote, likely Tuesday or Wednesday. Please contact your Delegate now and urge him or her to vote to pass HB1180!

Also in the House today, HB172 which would exempt gun safes under $1000 from state sales tax died in House Finance Subcommittee #3 on 5-3 vote to Pass by Indefinitely.

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