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Virginia: 2018 Legislative Session Update

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Virginia: 2018 Legislative Session Update

Following crossover, over 60 anti-gun bills failed to move forward in the Virginia General Assembly.  These bills include mandatory “universal” background checks, a bump stock ban, one-gun-a-month gun rationing, bans on commonly owned firearms and magazines, mandates on reporting lost or stolen firearms that put the burden on law-abiding gun owners and not the criminal, among many other attempts at gun control legislation.

Thank you to the members of these important House and Senate committees and subcommittees and thank you to the NRA members who voiced opposition to these dangerous attempts to restrict our Second Amendment rights and right to self-defense.

Some of the more egregious bills that were defeated this session are outlined below:

Senate Bill 5 /Senate Bill 145 /Senate Bill 412 /Senate Bill 432 /Senate Bill 447 - Requires a background check for any firearm transfer and requires the Department of State Police to establish a process for transferors to obtain such a check from licensed firearms dealers.  A transferor who fails to obtain a required background check and sells the firearm to another person is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. 

House Bill 41 /Senate Bill 1 would make it a crime to knowingly possess a “trigger activator” that is designed or functions to accelerate the rate of fire of a semi-automatic firearm.  The broad and overreaching provisions in this legislation could potentially criminalize firearm modifications such as competition triggers, and ergonomic changes that are commonly done by law-abiding gun owners to make their firearms more suitable for self-defense, competition, hunting, or even overcoming disability. 

Senate Bill 385 /House Bill 353 /House Bill 650 - Prohibits any person who is not a licensed firearms dealer from purchasing more than one handgun in a 30-day period and establishes such an offense as a Class 1 misdemeanor.  Law-abiding individuals who can legally purchase a firearm should not be arbitrarily banned from exercising their Second Amendment rights for any amount of time.

House Bill 927/ Senate Bill 794 - Prohibits any person from importing, selling, bartering, or transferring a firearms magazine designed to hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition. A violation is a Class 6 felony. The bill prohibits a person from carrying semi-automatic center-fire firearms with more than 10 rounds of ammunition in a public place; under existing law, this prohibition applies only in certain localities and only to such firearms if the firearm holds more than 20 rounds of ammunition. The bill also increases from a Class 1 misdemeanor to a Class 6 felony the penalty for carrying a semi-automatic center-fire firearm and a shotgun with a magazine that will hold more than seven rounds of the longest ammunition for which it is chambered in a public place. The bill redefines "assault firearm" by reducing from more than 20 to more than 10 the number of rounds of ammunition that a firearms magazine will hold in order to be defined as an "assault firearm" and prohibits a dealer from selling, renting, trading, or transferring from his inventory such an assault firearm to any person. The bill also reduces from more than 20 to more than 10 the number of rounds of ammunition that a firearms magazine will hold in order to be defined as an "assault firearm" for purposes of possession or transportation by a person younger than 18 years of age.  In addition, the bill increases the penalty from a Class 1 misdemeanor to a Class 6 felony for a person younger than 18 years of age to possess or transport a handgun, an assault firearm, or a shotgun with a magazine that will hold more than seven rounds of the longest ammunition for which it is chambered, with some exceptions.

Senate Bill 119 /Senate Bill 228 /Senate Bill 443 - Requires a person who lawfully possesses a firearm to report the loss or theft of the firearm to any local law-enforcement agency or the Department of State Police within 24 hours after such person discovers the loss or theft or is informed by a person with personal knowledge of the loss or theft.  The bill requires the relevant law-enforcement agency to enter the report information into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC).  A violation is punishable by a civil penalty of $50 for a first offense and not less than $100 or more than $250 for any subsequent offense.

*****

Pro-gun Senate Bill 372, sponsored by Senator Ben Chafin, continues to move through the legislative process. SB 372 repeals the statutory prohibition on carrying a gun, pistol, bowie knife, dagger, or other dangerous weapon, without good and sufficient reason, to a place of worship while a meeting for religious purposes is being held at such place.

Your NRA-ILA will continue to update you as the Virginia General Assembly session continues.

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.