Virginia: Emergency Powers Legislation to be Considered in Senate Committee Today!

Posted on January 23, 2012

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Later today (January 23), the Senate General Laws and Technology Committee is scheduled to hear Senate Bill 245. Sponsored by state Senator Mark Obenshain (R-26), SB 245 would update Virginia’s Emergency Powers statute by adding lawful carrying and transportation of firearms to the list of actions that cannot be prohibited during a declaration of emergency. If this legislation passes in the committee, it will then be sent to the state Senate for consideration.

The following anti-gun and pro-gun legislation was introduced last week:

Senate Bill 648, sponsored by state Senator Don McEachin (D-9), is similar to his bill last year that sought to prohibit open carrying in public while under the influence of alcohol and drugs. We are unaware of any evidence that this is an activity taking place within the Commonwealth as gun owners are among the most law-abiding citizens in the state.

Senate Bill 612, sponsored by state Senator Dick Black (R-13), seeks to transfer the duties of firearm background checks from the Commonwealth to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).  This legislation will streamline the process and help reduce the time for approval of firearms transactions.  Its introduction is in response to the increasing delays on sales by the Virginia Firearm Transaction Program.

Senate Bill 563, sponsored by state Senator Frank Ruff (R-15), attempts to clarify and clean up the concealed carry code.

Senate Bill 435, sponsored by state Senator Ryan McDougle (R-4), would provide that any person who knowingly makes a materially false statement on criminal history background check forms required for the purchase and transfer of firearms is guilty of a Class 5 felony. Current law uses the standard "willfully and intentionally" rather than "knowingly."

Senate Bill 379, sponsored by state Senator Don McEachin (D-9), is a new attempt to prohibit the private of transfer of firearms by creating a Class 2 misdemeanor for any person who sells a firearm to someone other than a licensed dealer and for any person who buys a firearm from someone other than a licensed dealer.

House Bill 1275, sponsored by Delegate Kaye Kory (D-38), would change Virginia’s training requirements for concealed carry permits by requiring that only handgun classes will qualify as a training course, rather than a firearms course. HB 1275 is a backhanded attempt to reduce the increasing number of trained concealed carry permit holders.

House Bill 1257, sponsored by Delegate Mark Sickles (D-43), House companion of SB 648 would prohibit open carrying of firearms in public while under the influence of alcohol and drugs.

House Bill 1226, sponsored by Delegate Luke Torian (D-52), attempts to give public universities the powers to establish rules and regulations banning possession of firearms by students, faculty, employees or visitors even if they possess a valid concealed handgun permit holders.

House Bill 1197, sponsored by Delegate Jennifer McClellan (D-71), attempts to impose a Class 3 misdemeanor penalty on firearm owners who fail to report a lost or stolen firearm within 48 hours of the time the firearm owner knew or should have reasonably known that the firearm was lost or stolen.

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