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Virginia: Senate Courts of Justice Committee Set to Decide Fate of Gun-Related Legislation Tomorrow!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Tomorrow, January 25, the state Senate Courts of Justice Committee will hear a number of pro- and anti-gun bills that could have a major effect on the Second Amendment rights of all Virginians.   One pro-gun bill of great importance to gun owners is Senate Bill 323.  Sponsored by state Senator Bill Carrico (R-40), this legislation would repeal the prohibition on law-abiding citizens buying more than one handgun within a thirty-day period.  Anti-gun opponents have long claimed that gun rationing keeps handguns out of the hands of criminals, but history has shown this law has been ineffective and only affects and penalizes law-abiding citizens. 

Another important pro-gun bill is Senate Bill 67, sponsored by state Senator Bill Stanley (R-20).  This legislation would remove the option for a locality to require an applicant for a concealed handgun permit submit fingerprints with the application.

Gun owners should also be aware that state Senator Don McEachin’s (D-9) legislation to close the so-called “gun-show loophole” will also be considered.  Anti-gun Senate Bill 379 bill would create a Class 2 misdemeanor for a person who is not a licensed dealer to sell, rent, trade, or transfer a firearm to any other person who is not a licensed dealer. The bill also creates a Class 2 misdemeanor for a person who is not a licensed dealer to buy, rent, trade, or transfer a firearm from any other person who is not a licensed dealer.

Since the fate of many of these bills depends on the outcome of tomorrow’s hearing, it is important that you contact members of the Senate Courts of Justice Committee today and urge them to support SB 323 and SB 67.  Contact information can be found here.

Other gun related legislation to be considered by the state Senate Courts of Justice Committee tomorrow:

Senate Bill 4, sponsored by state Senator Richard Stuart (R-28), would codify a version of the "castle doctrine," allowing the use of physical force, including deadly force, by a person in his dwelling against an intruder in the dwelling who has committed an overt act against him or another person in the dwelling, without civil liability.

Senate Bill 64, sponsored by state Senator Bill Stanley (R-20), would codify a version of the "castle doctrine," which allows for the use of physical force, including deadly force, by a person in his dwelling against an intruder in the dwelling who has committed an overt act against him or another person who is lawfully in the dwelling, without civil liability.

Senate Bill 324, sponsored by state Senator Bill Carrico (R-40), establish legislative preemption of any administrative action taken by an administrative body that has the direct or indirect effect of governing the purchase, possession, transfer, ownership, carrying, storage, or transporting of firearms, ammunition, or components or combination thereof, unless the administrative body has express statutory authority. Under this bill, any administrative action taken prior to July 1, 2012, having a direct or indirect effect of governing the purchase, possession, transfer, ownership, carrying, or transporting of firearms, ammunition, or components or combination thereof, other than those expressly authorized by statute, would be invalid. This bill also requires administrative bodies to take appropriate action to bring any contrary administrative action into compliance.

Senate Bill 429, sponsored by Senator Frank Ruff (R-15), would provide that the form provided by the State Police to be completed upon the sale of a firearm shall contain only the questions specific to Virginia law. The bill also provides that a copy of the consent form required under federal law for the purposes of running a criminal history record information check upon the purchase of a firearm shall be sent to the State Police by the dealer.

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 phrase "willfully and intentionally" rather than "knowingly." This bill contains technical amendments.

Senate Bill 554, sponsored by state Senator Barbara Favola (D-31), would create a Class 1 misdemeanor for the transportation or possession of firearms within the residence of the alleged victim by persons subject to emergency protective orders issued as a result of an assault and battery against a family or household member.

Senate Bill 563, sponsored by state Senator Frank Ruff (R-15), would alter certain application procedures to obtain a concealed handgun permit, including allowing for the submission of an initial application via U.S. mail. This bill also restricts the clerk and the circuit court from requesting or requiring any information from an applicant other than that which is allowed on the concealed handgun permit application.

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 federal government. This legislation will help streamline the process and reduce the time it takes to approve a transaction. This legislation is in response to the increasing delays on sales by the Virginia Firearm Transaction Program.

Senate Bill 648, sponsored by state Senator Don McEachin (D-9), would provide that it is a Class 1 misdemeanor for a person who is under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs to carry a loaded firearm on or about his person in a public place and that a person found guilty is ineligible to apply for a concealed handgun permit for a period of five years. This bill also creates a Class 2 misdemeanor for a person who carries a loaded firearm on or about his person onto the premises of any restaurant or club licensed to sell and serve alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption and consume an alcoholic beverage while on the premises.

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