The Virginia General Assembly had a light load of gun bills introduced this year compared to the last couple of years but there are some good bills moving through the legislature. There is also one bad bill still lingering that I hope will die in the House. Let’s talk about the good bills first.
HB 1655, Delegate Carrico’s bill requiring a court to award reasonable attorney fees, expenses, and court costs to anyone that prevails in an action challenging an ordinance that violates the Commonwealth’s pre-emption statute. Passed House 82 – 16 and is now in the full Senate. It should be noted the bill was amended in the State Senate and removed the requirement that reasonable attorney fees be awarded, changing it to the ability (may) to award attorney fees to the winner.
HB 1851, Delegate Lingamfelter’s bill exempting active duty military from handgun rationing (one gun-a-month). Passed House 83 – 13 and is on the docket in Senate Courts today.
HB 2144, Delegate Nutter’s bill to codify the AG’s opinion that prohibits the State Police from disseminating CHP holder information. (The information would still be available from individual circuit courts). Passed House 98-0 and on the docket in Senate Courts today.
HB 2528, Delegate Cole’s bill that would require localities that operate compensated confiscation schemes (gun buy backs) to sell the guns they take in to an FFL. Passed House 64 – 33 and reported from Senate Local Government yesterday on an 8-7 vote. It will be on the floor today for Second Reading and likely final vote Thursday.
SB 1035, Senator Hanger’s bill repealing the ban on carrying concealed handguns in restaurants that serve alcohol. Passed Senate 24-16 but Senator Marsh noted in the vote that he voted yes but intended to vote no, so there are actually only 23 affirmative votes – leaving it four short of a veto proof margin should Governor Kaine veto it as he did last year. The bill is now awaiting action in the House Militia, Police and Public Safety Committee.
SB 1513, Senator Smiths’ bill requiring a court to award reasonable attorney fees, expenses, and court costs to anyone that prevails in an action challenging an ordinance that violates the Commonwealth’s pre-emption statute. Passed Senate 30 – 10 and is awaiting action in House Militia, Police, and Public Safety Committee.
The bad news is that Senator Watkins’ SB 1166 – the gun purchase tax increase bill – passed the Senate. This bill increases the tax paid by gun owners for background checks from $2 to $5. The bill has been assigned to the House Militia, Police, and Public Safety Committee. Gun owners are urged to contact members of the Committee and urge them to oppose SB 1166.