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Virginia: Busy Day in Richmond as Action Taken on Numerous Firearm-Related Bills in the General Assembly

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Today, both the Virginia Senate and House of Delegates remained busy dealing with a large volume of firearms-related legislation. Please continue to contact your state legislators and urge them to support your Second Amendment rights. There are many important bills that still need their support!

In the state Senate, a vote was expected tomorrow on NRA-backed Senate Bill 323. However, the vote was "passed by for the day" on Second Reading and will most likely be considered early next week. The Senate vote on S.B. 323 is expected to be extremely close, so please use this unexpected delay to continue to urge your state Senator to vote for this important legislation. To find your state Senator and their contact information, please click here.

Drafted by the NRA and sponsored by state Senator Bill Carrico (R-40), Senate Bill 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.

The state Senate Courts of Justice Committee also met today to consider more gun-related legislation not addressed at their last meeting. At this hearing, gun owners received good news when state Senator Don McEachin’s (D-9) legislation to close the so-called “gun-show loophole” was passed by indefinitely (defeated). 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. 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.

During their hearing the Senate Courts of Justice Committee also voted on Senate Bill 648, where it stalled on a 7 to 7 vote. While this legislation failed to be reported out of committee, it is also still not technically defeated for this session. 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.

The Senate Committee also referred Senate Bill 435 to the Senate Finance Committee. Sponsored by state Senator Ryan McDougle (R-4), SB 435 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 also contains technical amendments.

The state House of Delegates passed three pro-gun bills today, which will now be sent to the state Senate for its consideration:

House Bill 20, drafted by the NRA and sponsored by Delegate Tony Wilt (R-25), would update Virginia’s Emergency Powers doctrine by adding lawful carrying and transportation to the list of actions that cannot be prohibited during a declaration of emergency. This legislation passed by a 77 to 22.

House Bill 26, sponsored by Delegate Mark Cole (R-88), would allow a court to waive a $25 dollar fine upon presentation of the permit to the court, if a person fails to display his concealed handgun permit when requested by a law enforcement officer.  This legislation passed by an 81 to 17 vote.

House Bill 940, drafted by the NRA and sponsored by Delegate Scott Lingamfelter (R-31), would repeal Virginia’s gun-rationing scheme which prohibits the purchase of more than one handgun in a thirty-day period.  This legislation passed by a 66 to 32 vote.

 

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