Virginia - 2004 Legislative Summary

Posted on April 15, 2004

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The 2004 legislative session was a banner year for gun owners in the Commonwealth of Virginia. With your support, NRA led the charge in advancing the cause of gun owners. Thanks to this effort, the legislature passed and the Governor signed numerous bills that benefit gun owners. Never before have so many improvements been made to Virginia’s gun laws in a single year. Rest assured that NRA will continue to build on these successes to help the gun owners in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Improvements to the one gun a month rationing law:

HB 404, sponsored by Delegate Bill Janis, will exempt holders of a valid concealed carry permit from the limitation of buying only one handgun a month. The bill also exempts purchases made by collectors for the purposes of improving their collection. This legislation recognizes that permit holders are law-abiding citizens and should not be subject to Draconian regulation.

Improvements to the laws governing firearms purchases:

HB 1144, sponsored by Delegate Bob McDonnell clarifies, that Virginia law allows a Virginia resident to purchase a long gun in another state as long as they comply with federal law, and undergo a federal background check.

HB 1302, sponsored by Delegate Scott Lingamfelter, repeals Virginia’s law that only allows Virginia dealer’s to sell guns to non-residents who live in contiguous states, and that only allows Virginia residents to make out of state purchases from dealers in contiguous states.

HB 375, sponsored by Delegate Scott Lingamfelter, clarifies that military personnel stationed in Virginia are considered residents for the purposes of purchasing a firearm.

Improvements to the preemption law:

HB 484, sponsored by Delegate Mark Cole, eliminates the provision that allows counties with certain population densities to maintain records of handgun purchases.

HB 530, sponsored by Delegate Clark Hogan, eliminates the grandfather clause in the state’s preemption statute. Previously any local ordinance passed prior to 1987 was still valid. Now, all regulation of firearms is under state control.

HB 1150, sponsored by Delegate Bob McDonnell, adds storage to the list of local ordinances preempted by state code. This expands the preemption law considerably.

SB 227, sponsored by Senator Ken Cuccinelli, eliminates the provision that allowed certain counties to require a permit to purchase a handgun, and requires that any records kept by the counties of these purchases be destroyed.

Improvements to the concealed carry law:

HB 215, sponsored by Delegate Clifford Athey, expands the number of states whose concealed carry permits will be recognized in Virginia. The bill also allows the State Police to issue permits to non-Virginia residents who meet the same requirements as Virginia residents.

HB 238, sponsored by Delegate David Nutter, also expands the number of states whose concealed carry permits will be recognized in Virginia. The combined effect of these two bills will be a dramatic increase in the number of states whose permits are recognized.

HB 402, sponsored by Delegate Bill Janis, provides that if an applicant for a concealed carry permit is not denied a permit and the permit has not been issued within 45 days of the application, then the clerk of the court must provide the applicant with a temporary permit for 90 days, pending issuance of a permanent permit.

HB 444, sponsored by Delegate Terrie Suit, clarifies that a resident of Virginia who moves from one jurisdiction to another is immediately considered a resident of the new jurisdiction for the purposes of receiving a concealed carry permit. Previously, some jurisdictions were requiring new residents to wait up to six months before applying for a permit.

Improvements to the hunting laws:

HB 536, sponsored by Delegate Jackie Stump, allows the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries to lease private lands for hunter access and sell a new stamp to hunters who wish to access these leased lands. This has the potential of opening thousands of acres across the state to hunting.

HB 77, sponsored by Delegate Steven Landes, repeals the law that prohibited rifle hunting in Halifax and Cumberland Counties.

HB 132, sponsored by Delegate Kirk Cox, clarifies the definition of a duck blind and requires people who register blinds to actually construct a blind for the purpose of hunting. This will prevent anti-hunters from registering blind sites just to close hunting in an area.

Not only did NRA lead the charge in advancing the rights of gun owners, we also beat back a number of anti-gun proposals, including:

HB 1035, sponsored by Delegate Adam Ebbin, would have banned possession of firearms following the conviction of certain crimes. This would have expanded the list of crimes that prohibit firearms possession. The bill was killed in House Committee

HB 1247, sponsored by Delegate James Scott, also would have expanded the list of crimes that prohibit a person from possessing a firearm. The bill was killed in House Committee.

SB 48, sponsored by Senator Henry Marsh, would have required background checks on private sales at gun shows. The definition of a gun show was so broad that some collectors homes could have been defined as such. The bill was killed on the Senate floor.

SB 552, sponsored by Senator Janet Howell, would have prohibited the carry of loaded firearms in restaurants. Currently the Virginia open carry law allows such carry. The bill was killed in Senate Committee.

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