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Virginia: Favorable Amendments Added to Two Pro-Gun Bills

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

In addition to signing a number of pro-gun bills yesterday, Governor McDonnell has favorably amended two NRA-supported bills, HB1217 and HB885; both amendments are supported by the NRA.

HB1217 and HB885 will be taken up by the Virginia General Assembly during next weeks veto session on Wednesday April 21.

The Governor's amendments can be agreed to or rejected. If the amendments are agreed to by both houses, the amended bill is reenrolled and becomes law. If the Governor's amendments are rejected the original bill is sent back to the Governor where it may be signed as originally presented or vetoed.

House Bill 1217, sponsored by Delegate Lynwood Lewis (D-100), would allow local school boards to offer firearm safety education programs in the elementary grades. To assist local school boards opting to provide such instruction, the Board of Education must establish a standardized program of firearm safety education for students in the elementary school grades to promote the protection and safety of children. The bill requires that the program objectives incorporate, among other principles of firearm safety, accident prevention and the rules of the NRA’s Eddie Eagle GunSafe® program. Local school boards offering the program must comply with Board curriculum guidelines and integrate the instruction in appropriate subject areas, if feasible, to ensure that every elementary school student receives instruction in firearm safety education.

The Senate Education Committee added an amendment that would permit school boards to also use principles provided by the National Crime Prevention Center.

Governor McDonnell has recommended that the General Assembly strike the amendment language, “or the program of the National Crime Prevention Center”.

House Bill 885, sponsored by Delegate Clay Athey (R-18), would allow any person who may lawfully possess a firearm and is carrying a handgun while in a personal, private vehicle or vessel to keep the firearm locked in a container or compartment in the vehicle or vessel.  Senate Bill 408 was not signed into law as the Governor seeks to amend it’s companion bill, HB885.

Governor McDonnell has recommended that the General Assembly insert the word “secured” for “locked”.

Please contact both your Delegate and Senator and respectfully urge them to sustain the Governor’s amendments on HB1217 and HB885/SB408.

Two other bills that became law without the Governor’s action are:

House Bill 637, authored by Delegate Ward Armstrong (D-10), will exempt a boarding team member or boarding team officer in the United States Coast Guard from the concealed handgun permit issuance fee, provided they have completed 15 years of service or reached the age of 55. 

House Bill 1256, sponsored by Delegate Paula Miller (D-87), will provide that certain law-enforcement officers with at least 20 years of service who resign from their position in good standing to accept a position covered by the Virginia Retirement System, will be eligible to carry a concealed handgun if he or she has received written proof of consultation with and favorable review of the need to carry a concealed handgun, issued by the chief law-enforcement officer of the agency from which the officer resigned.

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