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Posts Tagged ‘Virginia General Assembly’

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.

The Virginia Shooting Sports Association has up-to-date information on their blog and often has vote information posted shortly after the vote.

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Senator Henry Marsh’s SB 1257 advanced to Third Reading today and set up a vote on final passage as soon as Friday, January 30.  Virginia gun owners need to call their senators now and urge them to oppose the bill and vote no.

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There are over 20 firearm related bills so far that have been introduced for the 2009 Session of the Virginia General Assembly and we still have three days before the filing deadline.  The usual suspects like closing the “gun show loophole” and gutting Virginia’s preemption statute are part of the list.  Also, there is a bill (SB 1166) that would more than double the fee paid by the purchaser of firearms for background checks.  If the bill passes the fee will increase from $2 to $5.  This is all done solely to try and close the projected $4 billion hole in the budget.  If the fee increase was to pay increased costs associated with the background checks that would be one thing but it isn’t, they want to balance the budget on the backs of gun owners.

You can find a complete list of the firearm related bills here.  Gun owners need to contact their State Senators today and urge them to oppose the gun purchase tax.

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With the start of the 2009 Session of the General Assembly a couple days away, four additional firearms related bills have been introduced.

HB 1734– Introduced by Delegate Brenda Pogge, amends various processes, procedures, and requirements for obtaining a Virginia concealed handgun permit. Among the amendments is a provision that allows permit applications to be submitted and returned by mail, and specifies that the court may not require any additional information with a permit application other than what is required or authorized by § 18.2-308. If a current permit holder wishes to obtain a replacement permit indicating a change of address, the permit holder is no longer required to provide proof of the new address.

HB 1741– Also introduced by Delegate Pogge, increases from a Class 1 misdemeanor to a Class 6 felony the possession or transportation of certain firearms by persons under the age of 18.

HB 1748– Another bill introduced by Delegate Pogge, clarifies that no locality may require a person who has previously been issued a concealed handgun permit in the Commonwealth to submit to fingerprinting for a new permit. (There have been reports that some localities have tried to continue requiring fingerprints for permit renewals.)

HB 1821Democratic Delegate Joe Johnson has introduced a bill to repeal the ban on carrying concealed in a restaurant serving alcohol.  A person who carries a concealed handgun onto the premises of a restaurant or club from consuming an alcoholic beverage while on the premises. A person who carries a concealed handgun onto the premises of a restaurant or club shall inform a designated employee of the restaurant or club of that fact. A person who consumes alcohol in violation of the provisions of the bill is guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor and a person who becomes intoxicated in violation of the provisions of the bill is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

HB 1822 Delegate Johnson has also introduced a bill exempting concealed handgun permit holders from the prohibition of carrying a firearm on to the property of a public, private, or religious elementary, middle, or high school.

SB 877 – Senator Steve Martin of Chesterfield introduced this bill and it clarifies that retired law-enforcement officers from anywhere in the United States, District of Columbia, or territories of the United States are not subject to Virginia’s concealed handgun laws, if such officer meets the requirements of the federal Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act of 2004. The federal law allows retired officers with more than 15 years aggregate experience, who are certified annually on handgun proficiency, and meet other requirements, to carry a concealed weapon anywhere in the United States.

The restaurant bill could make it through the House and Senate again but I have no doubt that Governor Tim Kaine will veto it like last year.

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The first anti-gun bill has been introduced for the 2009 session of the General Assembly. Senate Bill 832, introduced by Senator Mamie Locke, would allow localities to adopt ordinances that prohibit firearms, ammunition, or components or combinations in community or recreation centers, administrative buildings, or public libraries owned or operated by the locality during an official meeting of the governing body.

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