On January 1st, 2021, Senate Bill 263 and the identical House Bill 264 go into effect. As a result, electronic or online firearm training courses will no longer be accepted with new applications for the Virginia Concealed Handgun Permit (CHP), to satisfy the mandatory training requirement.
Mandatory training requirements are yet another cost prohibitive measure intended to ensure that lower income Americans are barred from defending themselves. The option of online or electronic training courses ensured that CHPs are accessible to all law-abiding citizens, regardless of financial means.
This change is being imposed at an inopportune time. Many Virginians are choosing to exercise their Second Amendment right to defend themselves and their loved ones during these uncertain times. Coinciding with this increased demand for training, state restrictions on gatherings, along with restrictions on indoor shooting ranges, make in-person firearm instruction harder to access and more expensive.
During the summer special session, the Senate passed legislation, sponsored by Sen. Richard Stuart, to delay enactment of this new requirement, citing these concerns. Unfortunately, the House of Delegates ignored this issue and did not take action. The Bloomberg-backed lawmakers who pushed SB 263 and HB 264, and opposed delaying enactment, are probably pleased with restricting the right to self-defense, pandemic or not. They are hostile to our Second Amendment rights and we can expect that they will come up with new barriers or red tape to push during the 2021 legislative session.
To find NRA certified instructors near you, you may visit www.nrainstructors.org.