Due to a procedural miscue last week, the state Senate Courts of Justice Committee reconsidered a number of firearm-related bills today. While most of these bills received similar votes as last Wednesday, there were a few differences of note. Senate Bill 323, originally reported out of committee by an 8 to 7 vote, passed this morning by a 9 to 6 vote when state Senator Tommy Norment changed his vote.
Drafted by the NRA and sponsored by state Senator Bill Carrico (R-40), SB 323 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 to be ineffective, and to only affect and penalize law-abiding citizens. SB 323 is expected to be on the Senate floor this Wednesday and Thursday.
The following bills also were reconsidered by the Senate Courts of Justice Committee today:
Senate Bill 4 and Senate Bill 64 were rolled together - using the bill number of the former - and will most likely remain the same. SB 4, sponsored by state Senator Richard Stuart (R-28), and SB 64, sponsored by state Senator Bill Stanley (R-20), 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. SB 4 passed by an 8 to 7 vote.
Senate Bill 67, sponsored by state Senator Bill Stanley (R-20), would remove the option for a locality to require an applicant for a concealed handgun permit to submit fingerprints with the application. Senate Bill 670 was rolled into this legislation. SB 67 was passed by a 9 to 6 vote.
Anti-gun legislation noted previously, state Senator Don McEachin’s (D-9) legislation to close the so-called “gun-show loophole,” will be taken up in committee this Wednesday. Senate Bill 379 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. This bill also would create 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.
Senate Bill 379 was not considered today and will be brought up again this Wednesday. Sponsored by state Senator Don McEachin (D-9), SB 379 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.
Senate Bill 429 was passed by a 13 to 1 vote. Sponsored by state Senator Frank Ruff (R-15), SB 429 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 standard "willfully and intentionally" rather than "knowingly." This bill will be taken up in committee on Wednesday.
Anti-gun 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. This legislation was passed by a 9 to 6 vote, with amendments.
Senate Bill 563 also passed in committee, by an 11 to 4 vote. Sponsored by state Senator Frank Ruff (R-15), SB 563 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 would also restrict 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 648 was also passed by for the day and will be considered this Wednesday. Sponsored by state Senator Don McEachin (D-9), SB 648 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.