The Virginia General Assembly is set to adjourn sine die from its 2020 legislative session on March 12th. This session saw a massive onslaught of anti-gun bills after New York billionaire Michael Bloomberg bought the 2019 elections to pack the General Assembly full of his cronies. Though Bloomberg and Governor Ralph Northam were unable to get their comprehensive gun ban this year, they managed to pass a number of bills to erode Second Amendment rights in the Commonwealth. Make no mistake. The anti-gun majority will be back in 2021 to push their agenda once again.
Anti-Gun Bills Passed
Senate Bill 70 and House Bill 2 criminalize private sales of firearms without first paying fees. There are no exemptions for sales between friends, neighbors, collectors, or fellow hunters. These proposals would have no impact on crime and are completely unenforceable.
Senate Bill 35 and House Bill 421 destroy Virginia’s firearm preemption laws by allowing localities to create new “gun-free zones” in and around government buildings, parks, and permitted events. Criminals will ignore these restrictions, leaving law-abiding citizens unable to defend themselves and their loved ones.
Senate Bill 240 and House Bill 674 allow the seizure of an individual’s firearms on baseless accusations without a hearing or other opportunity for the person to be heard in court. They permit the government to seize firearms based on weak and nebulous standards of evidence.
A person subject to a suspension of a Constitutional right should be entitled to high evidentiary standards, an opportunity to be heard, and the right to face his or her accusers. Civil liberties advocates from across the political spectrum have expressed concerns on these “red flag” schemes and how the procedure might lead to abuses of the process because of insufficient due process protections.
House Bill 9 victimizes gun owners who suffer loss or theft of their property with a fine if they don’t report a lost or stolen firearm within 48 hours of discovering them missing.
House Bill 1083 severely restricts parental decisions about firearms in the home while attaching excessive penalties for violations.
Anti-Gun Bills That Did Not Pass
The Senate voted to defer House Bill 961 to 2021. It is a comprehensive ban on many commonly-owned semi-automatic firearms, suppressors, and standard capacity magazines. The original bill sought to impose a licensing and registration scheme for citizens who wish to keep affected firearms they lawfully owned prior to the ban, with felony penalties for noncompliance. It also broadly bans any part that could be used to change a firearm into a banned configuration. While the House Public Safety Committee amended the bill to allow citizens to keep currently owned firearms and suppressors, there is no option for citizens to keep their lawfully acquired magazines with capacities greater than twelve rounds, forcing millions of Virginians to dispose of their property, become a criminal, or surrender them to the government.
Senate Bill 16 was withdrawn from consideration. It was similar to House Bill 961, but did not have any provisions for citizens to keep banned firearms and suppressors.
Please stay tuned to www.nraila.org and your email inbox for further updates on issues affecting our Second Amendment rights.