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Virginia: Richmond Mayor Attacks the Right-to-Carry and State Preemption

Friday, June 28, 2019

Virginia: Richmond Mayor Attacks the Right-to-Carry and State Preemption

Virginia’s 400,000 concealed handgun permit holders would not be able to exercise their Right-to-Carry in large portions of their capital city if Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney had his way. On Monday, Stoney proposed a local ordinance that would prohibit law-abiding gun owners from carrying a firearm in any “[c]ity-owned building, park, or recreation or community facility.”

Aside from restricting the Right-to-Carry, the legislation is a direct attack on Virginia’s firearms preemption law, which prohibits localities from passing their own gun control laws. VA Code Ann. § 15.2-915 makes clear:

No locality shall adopt or enforce any ordinance, resolution or motion… and no agent of such locality shall take any administrative action, governing the purchase, possession, transfer, ownership, carrying, storage or transporting of firearms, ammunition, or components or combination thereof other than those expressly authorized by statute.

To their mild credit, unlike the grandstanding city officials of Pittsburgh, Stoney did not contend that Richmond has the authority to enact gun control policies that contravene the state firearms preemption law. The proposed ordinance states that it “shall be in force and effect as of the date on which a statute enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia to authorize the City” to pass such a restriction. In a press conference on Monday, Stoney expressed his hope that the General Assembly would weaken the state preemption statute.

The introduction of the Richmond legislation was calculated to coincide with a special session of the General Assembly set for July 9. Embattled Gov. Ralph Northam called the special session with the purported goal of addressing gun violence in the wake of a high-profile shooting in Virginia Beach. In a June 7 press release, Northam noted that he wanted the General Assembly to have a vote on “[e]xpanding local authority to regulate firearms, including in government buildings.”

Weakening Virginia’s firearms preemption statute would be devastating for residents’ Right-to-Carry.

At present, Virginia statute provides for discrete and predictable areas where gun possession is prohibited even for concealed handgun permit holders. These locations may not be augmented by local governments. Unable to predict or comprehend the contours of the various ordinances in Virginia’s 95 counties and 38 independent cities, concealed handgun permit holders would be forced to forego their right-to-carry for fear of running afoul of obscure or complicated local laws.

Moreover, depending on how a change to Virginia’s firearms preemption statute was structured, localities could be empowered to enact any number of retrograde gun control measures.

Prior to the passage of the state’s comprehensive firearms preemption statute, Virginia’s localities were a patchwork of onerous and confusing gun control laws. Cities and counties had their own disparate gun dealer licensing and taxation schemes. Cities such as Alexandria, Fairfax, and Falls Church had 72-hour waiting periods for handgun purchases. Brunswick County operated a handgun registration regime.

Several localities required law enforcement permission to acquire a handgun. A Richmond ordinance stated:

No Person shall purchase, or otherwise procure as his own property or for temporary use any pistol… or pistol or rifle ammunition, unless and until he shall procure a permit from the director of public safety granting permission to make such a purchase or to procure the same for use aforesaid…

Virginia gun owners must not allow Stoney, Northam, and the General Assembly to turn back the clock on gun rights. It is critical that every gun owner in the Commonwealth contact their legislators and urge them to OPPOSE Gov. Northam’s gun control agenda.

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Friday, July 19, 2019

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“Fact Checker:” Joe Biden’s “Gun Ban” Not a Gun Ban Because Some Guns Wouldn’t Be Banned

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Monday, July 15, 2019

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Highly Touted Study Tests Non-Existent Policies, Uses Deceptive Data

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Monday, July 22, 2019

Highly Touted Study Tests Non-Existent Policies, Uses Deceptive Data

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NYC Makes Second Bid to Shake Off Supreme Court Scrutiny

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Monday, July 22, 2019

NYC Makes Second Bid to Shake Off Supreme Court Scrutiny

Apparently cognizant of the risks of pressing ahead with the defense of its nonsensical and extreme firearm law, New York City has now ramped up its arguments that the legal challenge to the law is ...

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Monday, July 15, 2019

Hollywood Fantasy v. Reality on Firearm Suppressors

It’s no secret that Hollywood has a very loose relationship with reality.  The movie industry, after all, is based on fantasy and escapism, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.  If someone wants to forget ...

Presidential Pretender Who Campaigned on Gun Control First to Call It Quits

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Monday, July 15, 2019

Presidential Pretender Who Campaigned on Gun Control First to Call It Quits

On Monday, Eric Swalwell became the first of the many pretenders for the Democrat presidential nomination to bow (or perhaps slink) out of the race. The U.S. Congressman from California’s 15th District had tried to distinguish himself from ...

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

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Thursday, January 1, 2015

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

CAUTION: Federal and state firearms laws are subject to frequent change. This summary is not to be considered as legal advice or a restatement of law.

NRA Statement On Virginia Special Session

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Tuesday, July 9, 2019

NRA Statement On Virginia Special Session

FAIRFAX, Va.–   The interim executive director of the National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action, Jason Ouimet, released the following statement today regarding the special session in Virginia:  "The National Rifle Association has a long ...

Virginia: Crime Commission Hearing Dates Set

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Virginia: Crime Commission Hearing Dates Set

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HR 218/Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act (LEOSA)

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Sunday, May 11, 2014

HR 218/Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act (LEOSA)

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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.