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Founded in 1938. 80 Years of Protecting Virginia's Gun Rights and the Shooting Sports.
Updated: 42 min 37 sec ago

We Are Under Attack

Fri, 02/23/2018 - 20:10
The number of companies that had partnered with the NRA to offer benefits to its members and are now ending their agreements continues to grow.  First it was the bank that handled the NRA Credit Card - First National of Omaha.  Then it was Enterprise, National, Alamo and Hertz rental car, and now Met Life.  This action is prompted by the efforts of the left-wing group Think Progress started a campaign to get companies to end their relationships with the NRA.

Gun owners need to make their voices heard.  We need to be just as active telling these companies that we will take our business to companies that support our rights.  They need to know they stand to lose more money from us than they stand to gain by ending their arrangements with the NRA.  Now is the time to make our voices heard.  Make them pay a price for their actions.

Legislative Update for February 23rd

Fri, 02/23/2018 - 16:44
We are a little over halfway through the 2018 General Assembly. At crossover, over 60 anti-gun bills had been defeated. These bills included mandatory so-called “universal” background checks, a bump stock ban, handgun rationing (one gun-a-month), bans on commonly owned semi-automatic firearms and standard capacity magazines, mandates on reporting lost or stolen firearms that put the burden on law-abiding gun owners and not the criminal, and bills that would have chipped away at state-wide firearm law pre-emption, among many others.

Some of the worst bills that were defeated this session are listed below:
Senate Bill 5 /Senate Bill 145 /Senate Bill 412 /Senate Bill 432 /Senate Bill 447 - Required a background check for any firearm transfer and requires the Department of State Police to establish a process for transferors to obtain such a check from licensed firearms dealers. A transferor who fails to obtain a required background check and sells the firearm to another person is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

House Bill 41 /Senate Bill 1 would have made it a crime to knowingly possess a “trigger activator” that is designed or functions to accelerate the rate of fire of a semi-automatic firearm. The broad provisions in these bills could potentially criminalize firearm modifications such as competition triggers, and ergonomic changes that are commonly done by law-abiding gun owners to make their firearms more suitable for self-defense, competition, hunting, or even overcoming disability.

Senate Bill 385 /House Bill 353 /House Bill 650 - Would have prohibited any person who is not a licensed firearms dealer from purchasing more than one handgun in a 30-day period and establishes such an offense as a Class 1 misdemeanor. Law-abiding individuals who can legally purchase a firearm should not be arbitrarily banned from exercising their Second Amendment rights for any amount of time.

House Bill 927/ Senate Bill 794 - Would have prohibited any person from importing, selling, bartering, or transferring a firearms magazine designed to hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition. A violation is a Class 6 felony. The bills prohibited a person from carrying semi-automatic center-fire firearms with more than 10 rounds of ammunition in a public place; under existing law, this prohibition applies only in certain localities and only to such firearms if the firearm holds more than 20 rounds of ammunition. The bills also increaseed from a Class 1 misdemeanor to a Class 6 felony the penalty for carrying a semi-automatic center-fire firearm and a shotgun with a magazine that will hold more than seven rounds of the longest ammunition for which it is chambered in a public place. The bills redefined "assault firearm" by reducing from more than 20 to more than 10 the number of rounds of ammunition that a firearms magazine will hold in order to be defined as an "assault firearm" and prohibits a dealer from selling, renting, trading, or transferring from his inventory such an assault firearm to any person. Also, the bills reduced from more than 20 to more than 10 the number of rounds of ammunition that a firearms magazine will hold in order to be defined as an "assault firearm" for purposes of possession or transportation by a person younger than 18 years of age. In addition, the bills increases the penalty from a Class 1 misdemeanor to a Class 6 felony for a person younger than 18 years of age to possess or transport a handgun, an "assault firearm", or a shotgun with a magazine that will hold more than seven rounds of the longest ammunition for which it is chambered, with some exceptions.

Senate Bill 119 /Senate Bill 228 /Senate Bill 443 - These bills required a person who lawfully possesses a firearm to report the loss or theft of the firearm to any local law-enforcement agency or the Department of State Police within 24 hours after such person discovers the loss or theft or is informed by a person with personal knowledge of the loss or theft. The bills required the relevant law-enforcement agency to enter the report information into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC). A violation would have been punishable by a civil penalty of $50 for a first offense and not less than $100 or more than $250 for any subsequent offense.

Pro-Gun Legislation

Among the pro-gun bills that survived and are moving through the House of Delegates are Senate Bill 372, sponsored by Senator Ben Chafin. SB 372 repeals the statutory prohibition on carrying a gun, pistol, bowie knife, dagger, or other dangerous weapon, without good and sufficient reason, to a place of worship while a meeting for religious purposes is being held at such place.  Also, Senate Bill 715, sponsored by Senator Amanda Chase would allow any firefighter or person employed as emergency medical services personnel to carry a concealed handgun while engaged in the performance of his official duties, provided that such firefighter or person employed as emergency medical services personnel has been approved to carry a concealed handgun by his fire chief or emergency medical services chief.

Unfortunately, there were a number of pro-gun bills that failed to advance.  Those bills included legislation that would have provided a sales tax exemption for gun safes under $1000, constitutional carry legislation, and a bill prohibiting the sharing of information regarding Virginia concealed handgun permits law enforcement in states that do not recognize a Virginia concealed handgun permit as valid in the state.

The good news is that all of the bad bills died before crossover.  The bad news is there are virtually no opportunities to expand our rights this session.

Given that we almost had a flip of the House of Delegates from pro-rights to anti-rights, it could have been a lot worse.

Reason Magazine Gun Ban Scenario is Very Plausible

Wed, 02/21/2018 - 13:59
Sebastian over at the blog Shall Not Be Questioned has a post on a Reason.com article that looks back a few years after hypothetical new restrictions on semiautomatic weapons have been enacted.  It is an article that includes some well placed links to articles that help support the thesis laid out.  The article's point is that even after the ban, the country is even more divided but no less armed.  I agree with Sebastian that it is a very plausible scenario.

Let's look at some of the scenario. The author starts out by point out that after years of failure at the legislative approach (with some exceptions in places like California and New Jersey), the strategy chosen by the gun ban lobby was to shift the a campaign of making gun ownership socially unacceptable, similar to what was done with tobacco in the 90's. Then, the author suggests, legal changes would be possible.  He links to an article from yesterday's Market Watch to show this is already under consideration.

But unlike the 90's when there was no alternative to the anti-tobacco messages in the media, today, such anti-gun messages played only to those pre-disposed to agreeing with them:
That's "sort of" because, while anti-gun messages were a big hit with some media platforms, they were immediately countered by vigorous counter-efforts through opposing channels by pro-gun groups. That was something that never happened during the battles over tobacco. American culture—and media, with it--was far more fragmented than it had been in the days of unchallenged anti-smoking ads.

So the anti-gun message found an audience among those who were already predisposed to listen. These were people whose politics were generally left of center, and who followed media outlets to match. The result was declining gun ownership among those who were already wary of the practice. Before the anti-gun campaign, researchers found that "44% of Republicans and independents who lean to the Republican Party say they own a gun, only 20% of Democrats and Democratic leaners say the same," but now the number of left-leaning gun owners started to fall even further. But, and here is the cautionary note because we are seeing it playout in the aftermath of the Florida school shooting with the President's directive on "bump stocks" and even offering to consider raising the age to legally purchase semi-automatic rifles from 18 to 21, the cultural onslaught (like what we are seeing with the Florida students demanding something be done), assisted by the a fumbling bunch of Republicans, had enough impact to flip congress and the White House, and with it, major changes—including on gun control.  The article points out that millions refused to comply with the new bans, again, linking back to articles about how only a small number of people complied with real confiscation and registration schemes in places like Connecticut.

The article goes on to describe the specific changes and how the gun issue became more partisan issue than ever.  It is a good and very believable read and I highly recommend the article.

Alexanderia Democrat Attacks Law-abiding Gun Owners - Delegate Gilbert Responds

Tue, 02/20/2018 - 19:36
Earlier today, Alexandria Democrat Delegate Mark Levine attacked law-abiding gun owners in a newsletter that says Republican polices are aligned with mass murder, terrorists, Al Qaeda and Nazis. House Majority Leader Todd Gilbert responded an a statement released to the press:
"We were incredibly disappointed by Delegate Levine's email. There was no subtlety or attempt at implication; this was a direct and overt personal attack on those who believe in the rights of law abiding citizens to own a gun, and an insult to those who support rational and reasonable political discourse.

"The violent act that occurred in Florida at the hands of a deranged individual is heartbreaking and infuriating to us all. I know Delegate Levine would be the first to criticize my desire to keep the victims and their families in my prayers, but I do so nonetheless. Many of us are willing to be part of a sensible discussion on violence and mental health in our communities and schools, but this email is not a productive contribution to the dialogue.In the days following the school shooting in Florida, the gun ban lobby has trotted out their same old tired list of gun control that would not have prevented the tragedy last week.  In fact, we have learned that the FBI dropped the ball when it came to warnings about the behavior of the accused prior to the shooting.  Delegate Levine's attempt to imply that supporting the Second Amendment rights of Virginia's gun owners amounts to supporting terrorists and Nazis is unbecoming of a Virginia legislator and shows just how low progressives will sink to make a political point.

Washington Post: More Respondents to Poll Blame Problems Identifying, Addressing Mental Health Issues for Mass Shootings Than Say Inadequate Gun Laws

Tue, 02/20/2018 - 13:49
You can find the article here.  Here is the key point:
In the poll conducted after a gunman killed 17 people at a Florida high school last week, more than three-quarters, 77 percent, said they think more effective mental health screening and treatment could have prevented the shooting.

The Post-ABC poll also finds that 58 percent of adults say stricter gun control laws could have prevented the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, but there is no rise in support for banning assault weapons compared with two years ago and the partisan divide on this policy is as stark as ever. On the issue of whether allowing teachers to carry guns could have deterred the rampage, a proposal Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said is an option for schools, 42 percent said they agreed.Yes, that is over a majority that site gun control as a preventative measure but it's over 2/3 that cite deficiencies in the nation's mental health system.

National Review's Jim Geraghty did a deeper dive into the poll this morning in his Morning Jolt:
Let’s start off the week with some surprising poll numbers. For starters, despite a near-unanimous tone of media coverage praising the old Assault Weapons Ban and pointing to it as the solution to mass shootings, a new Washington Post/ABC News poll finds Americans are about evenly split on the idea.

But Americans are roughly split on this proposal, with 50 percent in support and 46 percent opposed, a stark contrast from the 80 percent support for the ban in 1994, the year it was enacted. The current level of support is little different from 51 percent in 2016.

Also. . .

A slight 51 percent majority of parents with children under 18 who live at home say the Florida shooting could have been prevented if teachers were able to carry firearms, compared with 38 percent of Americans without young children. There is a smaller parental divide in support for banning assault weapons, a policy backed by 46 percent of parents and 51 percent of non-parents.Geraghty also goes on to discuss the larger majority of people who believe failures in the mental health system have more to do with the rash of mass shootings than the nation's gun laws.

Last week's shooting was also the topic of the Sunday news talk shows.  The Post had this compilation.
Looks like after a pretty good record on the issue as Ohio's Governor, John Kasich has reverted back to his former support for banning semi-automatic firearms.  These poll numbers however probably won't help the gun ban lobby, which has worked hard with many in the media (with one notable exception) to push the narrative that last week's attack was the 18th school shooting this year.  It was the Washington Post that said that claim is "Flat Wrong."

House Bill Giving Churches Flexibility on Carry Decisions Dies in House Friday

Mon, 02/12/2018 - 10:49
On Friday, HB1180, a bill that repeals the statutory prohibition on carrying a gun, pistol, bowie knife, dagger, or other dangerous weapon, without "good and sufficient reason" to a place of worship while a meeting for religious purposes, was referred to the Committee on Courts of Justice from the full House, essentially killing the bill in the House as all committees had to complete their work ahead of today's Crossover.  The patron of the bill, Delegate Dave LaRock, made the motion at the beginning of Friday's session.  No explanation was given at the time of the motion.  An identical bill has already passed the Senate and is awaiting action in the House.

As was mentioned in Friday's morning's Legislative Update, all this bill does is frees churches to make their own decisions on security 24 hours a day, while current law limits options during a service. As was also mentioned on Friday, Democrats are likely going to try and reverse former Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's opinion that self-defense is a "good and sufficient reason" to carry in a church during a regularly scheduled service.  This can be done by simply requesting a new opinion from the new Attorney General, Mark Herring.

The Senate bill is still alive, though Governor Northam has stated that he will veto the bill if it reaches his desk. 

Annual Christopher Newport University Poll Continues to Push Gun Control

Fri, 02/09/2018 - 13:45
The Christopher Newport University Wason Center for Public Policy released it's annual poll of issues being considered at the General Assembly earlier this week.  While the narrative in the poll is the public overwhelmingly supports gun control, when you dig into the poll, you see that the actual questions asked do not offer a detailed explanation of the issues polled and are simplistic at best.

For instance, while the Wason Center says 84 percent of respondents "support background checks for private gun sales" including "even 76 percent of Republican respondents", the actual question asked was:
  • Q16: There are several bills before the General Assembly related to guns and gun safety. As I describe each one, please tell me if you support or oppose it.
  • A. Making private gun sales and sales at gun shows subject to background checks:
Absolutely no explanation of what proposals on private gun sales means.  And, the vast majority of sales at gun shows already undergo a background check.  The way this question is asked, it gives the impression to those less informed,  no such checks are performed at gun shows.  Regarding private sales, it is very likely the numbers would have been lower had the poll explained that proposals, and laws in other states related to private sales, don't cover just sales, but "transfers."  A "transfer" includes you loaning a firearm to a spouse or boy/girlfriend,  training class attendee, or a friend at the range. While those pushing such changes in Virginia law learned from the experience in other states and included specific allowances for immediate family or loaning for hunting or target shooting, they still require a background check to be performed on family members beyond immediate family, lifelong friends, and members of your local gun club.

Here's the wording for the so-called "assault weapons" questions.
  • B. A ban on assault-style weapons:
And finally, on the issue of "Constitutional Carry":
  • C. Allow anyone who legally owns a gun to conceal carry without a permit:
Again, no explanation that so-called "assault-style weapons" are simply semi-automatic firearms that shoot no differently than the common hunting rifle or offering additional information like "Vermont currently allows law-abiding gun owners to carry a concealed firearm without a permit, would you support such a policy in Virginia".

Unfortunately, Americans are uninformed on many issues.  Polls with such simplistic questions play right in to that ignorance.  A more reliable poll would take the time to explain the issues being polled.

Legislative Update for February 9th

Fri, 02/09/2018 - 09:52
As we approach the February 13th Crossover Day (the last day to consider legislation in the House of origin) all but a handful of firearm related bills have been heard in committee.  The good news is of those bills heard, all of the bad bills have been defeated.  The bad news is almost all of the good bills have died, or been softly killed by carrying them over to next year.  It is rare that a bill carried over survives to actually see the light of day in the following session.  This week, Senate Finance carried over SB48, the Constitutional Carry bill, and SB350, a bill that would extend the expiration date for Concealed Handgun Permits (CHPs) from 5 to 15 years.  The thing is, both were essentially killed because of a supposed "fiscal impact", yet the fees charged for CHPs are only supposed to cover the costs of processing so if you a) no longer need a permit to carry concealed as with Constitutional Carry or b) only have to process once every 15 years instead of 5 years, there is no fiscal impact.

On the positive side, Senate Finance did report to the full Senate SB715, a bill that would allow firefighters and EMTs to carry concealed on the job.  That bill will be on final approval in the Senate next week.

In the House, HB1180, a bill that repeals the statutory prohibition on carrying a gun, pistol, bowie knife, dagger, or other dangerous weapon, without "good and sufficient reason" to a place of worship while a meeting for religious purposes, continues to be passed by for the day.  This is usually a sign that there is a problem, which does not make a lot of sense because the Senate has already passed it's version of the bill, albeit along party lines.  All this bill does is frees churches to make their own decisions on security 24 hours a day, while current law limits options during a service. Word is, Democrats intend to reverse former Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's opinion that self-defense is a "good and sufficient reason" to carry in a church during a regularly scheduled service.  Please contact your Delegate today and urge them to vote for HB1180.  Be sure to explain that this bill does not force churches to allow carry, it only frees them up to make those decisions on their own based on their security needs.

Finally, the small number of bad bills that still remain alive are in House Courts of Justice.  Those bills have not come up for a hearing to date.  The list of bills remaining are below:
  • HB 43 Firearms; reporting when lost or stolen.
  • HB 198 Firearms; removal from persons posing substantial risk, penalties.
  • HB 707 Firearms; allowing access to children, penalty.
  • HB 1327 Pneumatic guns; Class 6 felony to possess on school property, etc.
  • HB 1385 Concealed handguns; disqualifications for permit, adjudications of delinquency.
  • HB 1544 Firearms; possession, etc., following convictions for certain misdemeanor crimes, penalty.
There is a good bill that is also awaiting action in House Courts of Justice:
  • HB 408 Right to keep & bear arms; codifies opinion of Supreme Court of the U.S. in D.C. v. Heller.
VSSA will continue to let members know if your action is needed on any of the above bills.

Legislative Update - Good Week for Virginia Gun Owners

Fri, 02/02/2018 - 09:20
It was a good week for Virginia gun owners in the General Assembly this week as more of Governor Northam's gun ban agenda was defeated in Senate and House of Delegate committees.  First on Wednesday, Senate Finance dispensed with a bill that would ban bump stocks (SB1), and a bill that would add private and public preschools and day care centers as places where firearms are banned (SB79).  In the House of Delegates, the Militia, Police, and Public Safety Committee Subcommittee #1 met for three hours last night and disposed of a long list of bad bills as well as advancing three good bills.  First, the good bills that advanced:
  • HB681 Nonresident concealed handgun permits; time of issuance. Requires the Department of State Police (Department) to issue a concealed handgun permit to a nonresident within 45 days of receipt of the nonresident's completed application unless it determines that he is disqualified. Reported and referred to Appropriations
  • HB1255 Concealed handgun permits. Allows any person who is otherwise eligible to obtain a concealed handgun permit to carry a concealed handgun without a permit anywhere he may lawfully carry a handgun openly within the Commonwealth. (Constitutional Carry) Reported and referred to Appropriations 
  • HB1398  Application for a concealed handgun permit.Allows a Virginia resident or domiciliary to submit an application for a new concealed handgun permit via mail. Currently, only persons who have previously been issued a concealed handgun permit may submit an application via mail. Reported and referred to Appropriation.
The bad bills that were defeated are below:
  • HB68 Firearms; libraries owned or operated by localities.
  • HB261 Localities; regulation of firearms in government buildings.
  • HB597 Firearms; mechanical devices designed to increase the rate of fire, penalty.
  • HB648 Transfer of multiple firearms; report to the Department of State Police. (requires dealer who sells more than two firearms to one individual to notify the state police)
  • HB649 Firearms, certain; prohibited public carrying, penalty.
  • HB814 Firearms; control by localities, lawful demonstrations and protests.
  • HB819 Firearms; prohibits mechanical devices designed to increase rate of fire, penalty.
  • HB929 Licensed family day homes; storage of firearms.
  • HB949 Firearms; transfer, criminal history record check delay.
  • HB950 Firearm or pneumatic gun; allowing access by children age four or younger, penalty.
  • HB1009 Firearms, certain; prohibited public carrying, penalty.
  • HB1019 Firearms, etc.; permitted events.
  • HB1052 Firearms; control by localities, lawful demonstrations and protests.
  • HB1394 Firearms show; list of vendors or exhibitors submitted to State Police.
It should be noted that the subcommittee failed to recommend reporting one bill that VSSA remained neutral because it continues something that the General Assembly has regularly done in the past - set up a separate class of gun owners (in this case retired-law enforcement) that is able to exercise rights that all of us should be able to exercise.
  • HB1443 Concealed handguns; retired law-enforcement officers may carry without a permit, etc.

When the Session began, there was a huge question what such a small pro-rights majority and the loss of so many good Second Amendment supporting legislators would mean for gun owners.  Would some of the remaining members be open to supporting things like banning common firearm accessories like bump stocks?  The results of the first half of the session have been positive in that all of the bad bills that have come before committees to date have been defeated.  A small number of pro-rights bills still remain alive and the VSSA Legislative Team will continue to work for passage of those bills.

Gun Bills on House Subcommittee Docket This Afternoon

Thu, 02/01/2018 - 10:09
The Militia, Police, and Public Safety Committee Subcommittee #1 will meet today at 4:00 PM.  There are 19 firearm related bills on the docket and the subcommittee has blocked them so that similar bills will be taken up together.  The list of bills is below.  There are a small number of bills that are pro-rights and they are noted in the list.  The last bill in Block 5 is not opposed by VSSA but it continues to set up a special class of gun owners to exercise rights that the rest of us cannot.  Updates will be posted via Twitter and Facebook as they occur during the meeting.

Block 1
HB68 Firearms; libraries owned or operated by localities.
HB261 Localities; regulation of firearms in government buildings.

Block 2
HB597 Firearms; mechanical devices designed to increase the rate of fire, penalty.
HB819 Firearms; prohibits mechanical devices designed to increase rate of fire, penalty.

Block 3
HB649 Firearms, certain; prohibited public carrying, penalty.
HB1009 Firearms, certain; prohibited public carrying, penalty.

Block 4
HB814 Firearms; control by localities, lawful demonstrations and protests.
HB1019 Firearms, etc.; permitted events.
HB1052 Firearms; control by localities, lawful demonstrations and protests.

Block 5
HB603 Concealed handgun permits, nonresident; fee. (increases fee from $100 to $150)
HB648 Transfer of multiple firearms; report to the Department of State Police. (requires dealer who sells more than two firearms to one individual to notify the state police)
HB681 Nonresident concealed handgun permits; time of issuance. (this is a good bill)
HB929 Licensed family day homes; storage of firearms.
HB949 Firearms; transfer, criminal history record check delay.
HB950 Firearm or pneumatic gun; allowing access by children age four or younger, penalty.
HB1255 Concealed handgun; eligibility to carry openly within Commonwealth. (Constitutional Carry - good bill)
HB1394 Firearms show; list of vendors or exhibitors submitted to State Police.
HB1398 Concealed handgun permit; new application via mail. (this is a good bill)
HB1443 Concealed handguns; retired law-enforcement officers may carry without a permit, etc.

House of Delegates Subcommittee Shuts Down Northam Gun Control Legislation

Fri, 01/26/2018 - 14:05
If you follow VSSA's Twitter and Facebook feeds, you already know that last evening the Militia, Police and Public Safety Committee Subcommittee #1 dealt a major blow to Governor Northam's attempts to remake Virginia in the image of New Jersey and California.  The VSSA legislative team was live tweeting the results as they occurred and every gun control bill on the docket was defeated.  In all, 15 bills were on the docket, including a bill to ban bump stocks (HB41),  bills criminalizing private firearms sales (HB140) (HB721)(HB977)(HB1373)(HB717), bills to reinstate handgun rationing (HB353) (HB650), bills to limit the size of ammunition magazines to no more than 10 rounds (HB596) (HB1145)(HB927), and a bill requiring a permit to purchase handguns (HB 1143).  There was also a bill holding the seller of a privately owned firearm civilly libel if the firearm was transferred without a background check and is later used in a crime.  Finally, HB498, a bill that would have rolled back the out of state concealed carry reciprocity agreement by Governor Terry McAuliffe and the General Assembly last year also was defeated.  You can see the entire list of bills and the result of each committee vote by clicking here.

There is still some firearm related legislation in the House but the results last night are a good sign for the handful of bills that are were reported by Senate Courts of Justice and awaiting action in Senate Finance.  Once of those bills is a bump stock ban.  The fact that the House subcommittee handily defeated the House version of the bill means that even if it does pass the Senate, it will meet it's doom in the House.

Thanks to everyone that answered responded to the request on Wednesday to contact committee members and made their voices heard on the above bills.

Firearm Bills Start to Move in House of Delegates

Wed, 01/24/2018 - 17:10
The House Militia, Police and Public Safety Committee Subcommittee #1 will take up 17 firearm related bills on Thursday at 4:00 PM.  Bills on the docket include legislation to ban bump stocks, bills to reinstate handgun rationing, banning ammunition magazines that hold more that 10 rounds, and a bill to require a permit to purchase a handgun.  The full list is below.

HB41 Firearms; mechanical devices designed to increase rate of fire, penalty.
Mechanical devices designed to increase the rate of fire of firearms; penalty. Prohibits the manufacture, import, sale or offer to sell, possession, transfer, or transportation of any device used to increase the rate of fire of any semi-automatic firearm beyond the capability of an unaided person to operate the trigger mechanism of that firearm. A violation is punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor.

HB91 Concealed handgun permits; demonstration of competence.
Concealed handgun permits; demonstration of competence. Removes the option for concealed handgun permit applicants to demonstrate competence with a handgun by completing an electronic, video, or online course conducted by a state-certified or National Rifle Association-certified firearms instructor. The bill does not affect any in-person means of satisfying the requirement to demonstrate competence with a handgun under current law.

HB602 Concealed handgun permits; demonstration of competence.
Concealed handgun permits; demonstration of competence. Removes the option for concealed handgun permit applicants to demonstrate competence with a handgun by completing an electronic, video, or online course conducted by a state-certified or National Rifle Association-certified firearms instructor. The bill does not affect any in-person means of satisfying the requirement to demonstrate competence with a handgun under current law.

HB140 Firearm transfers; criminal history record information checks, penalty.
Firearm transfers; criminal history record information checks; penalty. Requires a background check for any firearm transfer and requires the Department of State Police to establish a process for transferors to obtain such a check from licensed firearms dealers. A transferor who fails to obtain a required background check and sells the firearm to another person is guilty of a Class1 misdemeanor. The bill exempts transfers between immediate family members, transfers that occur by operation of law, transfers by the executor or administrator of an estate or by the trustee of a testamentary trust, and temporary transfers that occur in the presence of the owner of the firearm or are necessary to prevent imminent death or serious bodily injury. The bill removes the provision that makes background checks of prospective purchasers or transferees at firearms shows voluntary.

HB721 Firearm transfers; criminal history record information checks, penalty.
Firearm transfers; criminal history record information checks; penalty. Requires a background check for any firearm transfer and requires the Department of State Police to establish a process for transferors to obtain such a check from licensed firearms dealers. A transferor who fails to obtain a required background check and sells the firearm to another person is guilty of a Class1 misdemeanor. The bill exempts transfers between immediate family members, transfers that occur by operation of law, transfers by the executor or administrator of an estate or by the trustee of a testamentary trust, and temporary transfers that (i) occur within the continuous presence of the owner of the firearm; (ii) are necessary to prevent imminent death or serious bodily injury; (iii) occur at a shooting range, shooting gallery, or other area designed for the purpose of target shooting, for use during target practice, a firearms safety or training course or class, a shooting competition, or any similar lawful activity; or (iv) are for the purpose of and while the transferee is engaged in hunting, trapping, or target shooting. The bill removes the provision that makes background checks of prospective purchasers or transferees at firearms shows voluntary.

HB977 Firearm transfers; criminal history record information checks, penalty.
Firearm transfers; criminal history record information checks; penalty. Requires a background check for any firearm transfer and requires the Department of State Police to establish a process for transferors to obtain such a check from licensed firearms dealers. A transferor who fails to obtain a required background check and sells the firearm to another person is guilty of a Class1 misdemeanor. The bill exempts transfers between immediate family members, transfers that occur by operation of law, transfers by the executor or administrator of an estate or by the trustee of a testamentary trust, and temporary transfers that occur in the presence of the owner of the firearm or are necessary to prevent imminent death or serious bodily injury. The bill removes the provision that makes background checks of prospective purchasers or transferees at firearms shows voluntary.

HB1373 Firearm transfers; criminal history record information checks, penalty.
Firearm transfers; criminal history record information checks; penalty. Requires a background check for any firearm transfer and directs the Department of State Police (the Department) to establish a process for transferors to obtain such a check from licensed firearms dealers. A transferor who sells a firearm to another person without obtaining the required background check is guilty of a Class 6 felony. The bill exempts transfers (i) between immediate family members, (ii) that occur by operation of law, (iii) by the executor or administrator of an estate or by the trustee of a testamentary trust, and (iv) that are temporary and occur in the presence of the owner of the firearm or are necessary to prevent imminent death or serious bodily injury. The bill removes the provision that makes background checks of prospective purchasers or transferees at firearms shows voluntary. The bill also provides that the Department shall have three business days to complete a criminal history record information check before a firearm may be transferred.

HB717 Firearms; criminal history record information check on transferee, penalties.
Transfer of firearms; criminal history record information check; penalties. Requires that a criminal history record information check be performed on the prospective transferee before a vendor, defined in the bill, may transfer firearms at a gun show. A violation is a Class 6 felony. The bill also requires that the promoter of a firearms show post notice of the requirement for a criminal history record information check and provide vendors with access to licensed dealers who will conduct the criminal history record information check. The bill repeals a provision added by the2016 Session of the General Assembly that requires the Department of State Police to be available to perform background checks for non-dealer sales at firearms shows if requested by a party involved in a transaction.

HB1143 Handguns; transfer permit required, penalties.
Transfer of handguns; permit required; penalties. Requires the Department of State Police to establish procedures for issuing handgun transfer permits and provides that a person who willfully and intentionally transfers a firearm to a person without a permit is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. The bill provides exceptions to this requirement, including an exemption for dealers who obtain a background check. The bill provides that any person who displays a handgun transfer permit that has been revoked or suspended knowing that such permit has been revoked or suspended is guilty of a Class1 misdemeanor. In order for the bill to become effective, the U.S. Department of Justice must approve the policies and procedures that the Department of State Police will use to implement the provisions of the bill.

HB353 Handguns; limitation on purchases, penalty.
Purchase of handguns; limitation on handgun purchases; penalty. Prohibits any person who is not a licensed firearms dealer from purchasing more than one handgun in a 30-dayperiod and establishes such an offense as a Class 1 misdemeanor. The bill exempts from this provision (i) persons who have been issued a certificate by the Department of State Police under certain circumstances and with an enhanced background check, (ii) law-enforcement agencies and officers, (iii) state and local correctional facilities, (iv)licensed private security companies, (v) persons who hold a valid Virginia concealed handgun permit, (vi) persons whose handgun has been stolen or irretrievably lost or who are trading in a handgun,(vii) purchases of handguns in a private sale, and (viii) purchases of antique firearms.

HB650 Handguns; limitation on purchases, penalty.
Purchase of handguns; limitation on handgun purchases; penalty. Prohibits any person who is not a licensed firearms dealer from purchasing more than one handgun in a 30-dayperiod and establishes such an offense as a Class 1 misdemeanor. The bill exempts from this provision (i) persons who have been issued a certificate by the Department of State Police under certain circumstances and with an enhanced background check, (ii) law-enforcement agencies and officers, (iii) state and local correctional facilities, (iv)licensed private security companies, (v) persons who hold a valid Virginia concealed handgun permit, (vi) persons whose handgun has been stolen or irretrievably lost or who are trading in a handgun,(vii) purchases of handguns in a private sale, and (viii) purchases of antique firearms.

HB596 Firearm magazines; prohibition of sale, transfer, etc., fine.
Prohibition of sale, transfer, etc., of certain firearms magazines; fine. Provides that any person, corporation, or other entity that manufactures, imports, possesses, purchases, sells, or transfers any large capacity magazine shall be subject to a $500 fine. The bill provides exceptions to the prohibition. The bill provides that a registrant is limited to three large capacity magazines and must otherwise dispose of all magazines in excess of the limit. The bill requires the Department of State Police to provide a means to register a large capacity magazine and, at the time of registration, to permanently mark such magazine for the purpose of identification and maintain records regarding such identification information. Finally, the bill provides that any large capacity magazine that is possessed in violation of law is subject to forfeiture to the Commonwealth.

HB1145 Firearms magazines, certain; prohibition of sale, transfer, etc., fine.
Prohibition of sale, transfer, etc., of certain firearms magazines; fine. Provides that any person, corporation, or other entity that manufactures, imports, possesses, purchases, sells, or transfers any large capacity magazine shall be subject to a $250 fine. The bill provides exceptions to the prohibition. The bill provides that a registrant is limited to three large capacity magazines and must otherwise dispose of all magazines in excess of the limit. The bill requires the Department of State Police to provide a means to register a large capacity magazine and, at the time of registration, to permanently mark such magazine for the purpose of identification and maintain records regarding such identification information. Finally, the bill provides that any large capacity magazine that is possessed in violation of law is subject to forfeiture to the Commonwealth.

HB927 Firearms magazines and firearms, certain; prohibition of sale, transfer, etc., penalties.
Prohibition of sale, transfer, etc., of certain firearms magazines and firearms; penalties. Prohibits any person from importing, selling, bartering, or transferring a firearms magazine designed to hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition. A violation is a Class 6 felony. The bill prohibits a person from carrying semi-automatic center-fire firearms with more than 10 rounds of ammunition in a public place; under existing law, this prohibition applies only in certain localities and only to such firearms if the firearm holds more than 20 rounds of ammunition. The bill also increases from a Class 1 misdemeanor to a Class 6 felony the penalty for carrying a semi-automatic center-fire firearm and a shotgun with a magazine that will hold more than seven rounds of the longest ammunition for which it is chambered in a public place. The bill redefines "assault firearm" by reducing from more than 20 to more than 10 the number of rounds of ammunition that a firearms magazine will hold in order to be defined as an "assault firearm" and prohibits a dealer from selling, renting, trading, or transferring from his inventory such an assault firearm to any person. The bill also reduces from more than 20 to more than 10 the number of rounds of ammunition that a firearms magazine will hold in order to be defined as an "assault firearm" for purposes of possession or transportation by a person younger than 18 years of age and increases the penalty from a Class 1 misdemeanor to a Class 6 felony for a person younger than 18 years of age to possess or transport a handgun, an assault firearm, or a shotgun with a magazine that will hold more than seven rounds of the longest ammunition for which it is chambered, with some exceptions.

HB273 Firearms; civil liability for sale or transfer, background check.
Civil liability for sale or transfer of a firearm; background check. Provides that a person is civilly liable for injuries to person or property or wrongful death of another caused by a third party if it can be shown that the civil defendant sold or transferred a firearm to the person who committed the crime resulting in injury or death without obtaining a background check and verification that the transferee was not prohibited from possessing a firearm.

HB281 Firearms, certain; possession by minors, parental permission, penalty.
Relating to possession of certain firearms by minors; parental permission; penalty. Requires any minor who possesses certain firearms in the home or on the property of his parent, grandparent, or legal guardian to have prior permission from such parent, grandparent, or legal guardian to possess such firearms.

HB498 Concealed handgun permits, out-of-state; reciprocity.
Out-of-state concealed handgun permits; reciprocity. Eliminates the recent expansion of the recognition of concealed handgun permits issued by other states and reinstates the prior law that provides that Virginia will recognize concealed handgun permits issued by other states that (i) provide a 24-hour-a-day means of verification of the validity of the permits issued in that state and (ii) have requirements and qualifications that are adequate to prevent possession of a permit by persons who would be denied a permit in Virginia. The bill also reinstates the recognition of certain Maryland concealed handgun permits and eliminates the requirement that the Superintendent of State Police enter into agreements for reciprocal recognition of concealed handgun permits or licenses with other states where agreements were in existence on December 1, 2015.

Please contact the sub-committee members and urge them to oppose the above bills on tomorrow's docket.

SHOT Show Means Rolling Out New Products

Mon, 01/22/2018 - 13:20
The Shooting Hunting Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show starts tomorrow in Las Vegas, Nevada, and as usual, the Monday Range Day ahead of the opening of the exhibition hall on Tuesday is an opportunity for members of the outdoor media to check out the new guns that will be available this year.  One of the products getting a lot of buzz is the new Sig Sauer P365 compact pistol.  Sig Sauer hosted Tom Gresham's Gun Talk program yesterday and there was a lot of talk about this new pistol.


It comes with a 10 and 12 round magazine.  The magazines combine the capacity of a double stack magazine with the reliability of a single stack.

Take a look at the below video for more on this new pistol:

VSSA Membership Processing Notice

Sat, 01/20/2018 - 11:28
VSSA's Executive Director, Lu Charette, will be out of the office beginning January 25 for a medical procedure.  Processing of VSSA membership renewals as well as new memberships may be slower than the usual same day processing during this time.  Lu will do his best to process materials as they arrive pending the recovery time required for the procedure.  We thank you for your patience and understanding.

Legislative Update for January 19th.

Fri, 01/19/2018 - 16:30
It has been a good week for gun owners in the State Senate this week.  The bulk of Governor Northam's gun control legislation has been turned back.  In all, 24 bad bills have been defeated.  Only a handful of bills remain active in the upper chamber and the committee has completed it's work on firearm related bills.  The House of Delegates has yet to take up any firearm bills.

First the list of bad bills that have been defeated in the Senate:

Five good bills failed to make it out of committee:
The committee did report four good bills:The only disappointing news of the week is that several bad bills were reported.  All three were referred to the Finance Committee which allows the VSSA Legislative team an additional opportunity to defeat the bill before they make it to the full Senate.
Please be sure to check this blog and the VSSA web site for updates.  If your action is required a special legislative alert will be sent by email.

Handgun Rationing, Other Gun Control Bills Die in Senate Courts

Wed, 01/17/2018 - 19:22
During a long afternoon meeting of Senate Courts, a number of gun control bills were defeated today, including a bill to reinstate handgun rationing (one handgun-a-month).  The following bills were defeated today:
  • SB653 Requiring someone to have expressed permission to carry in church.
  • SB 742 Prohibits any person from importing, selling, bartering, or transferring a firearms magazine designed to hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition stricken from the docket 
  • SB434, Bill requiring a 15 year waiting period for a felon whose other rights have been restored to be able to petition for gun rights restoration. 
  • SB811 Protective orders; possession of firearms; surrender or transfer of firearms.
  • SB155 Allows a locality to adopt an ordinance that prohibits firearms, ammunition, or components or a combination thereof at any regular or special meeting of such local governing body. Defeated.
  • SB442 Provides that any person who leaves a loaded, unsecured firearm in such a manner as to endanger the life or limb of any person under the age of 18 is guilty of a Class 6 felony. 
  • SB385 Reinstating One Handgun-a-month.
Several Pro-gun bills failed to advance:
  • SB351 Firearms in locked vehicles; immunity from liability. Passed by for the year.
  • HB338 Allows a person who may lawfully possess a firearm or ammunition for a firearm to carry a firearm or ammo for a firearm into an area courthouse that is being used exclusively for purposes other than judicial proceedings outside of the courthouse's normal hours. PBI 12-1
  • SB493 Allows any person who possesses a valid Virginia concealed handgun permit or a concealed handgun permit from another state that is recognized by Virginia to carry a concealed handgun at public institutions of higher education. PBI 8-6
There were a couple of pro-gun bills that were reported or reported and referred to Finance:
  • SB372 Repeals the statutory prohibition on carrying a gun, pistol, bowie knife, dagger, or other dangerous weapon, without good and sufficient reason, to a place of worship while a meeting for religious purposes is being held at such place. Reported 9-6
  • SB350 Extends from five to 15 years the validity of a concealed handgun permit. Reports 15-1 and referred to Finance
Two additional bill were heard and advanced:
  • SB79 Adds public, private, or religious preschools and child day centers to list of places firearms prohibited. Reported 9-6 and referred to finance.
  • SB797 Protective orders; possession of firearms; penalty. This bill passed last year but died in Finance. Reported and referred to Finance 12-3
While the Senate has taken up the bulk of the gun related bills, the House has yet to schedule hearings for the bills in the lower chamber.  VSSA's legislative team continues to work with legislators.  I'll be on NRATV at 4:20 Thursday to discuss today's meeting and legislative results today.  Also, and updates will be posted here on the blog.

More Gun Bills on Senate Courts Docket Wednesday Afternoon

Wed, 01/17/2018 - 12:54
Senate Courts of Justice meets again this afternoon and a number of gun bills are on the Docket, including handgun rationing, rolling back preemption, a bill allowing firearms in church during regularly scheduled services and a bill extending the amount of time a Concealed Handgun Permit is valid from five to 15 years.  Below is the complete list.

S.B. 79Patron: LucasFirearms on school property. Adds public, private, or religious preschools and child day centers that are not operated at the residence of the provider or of any of the children to the list of schools where possessing a firearm on school property or on a school bus is prohibited. Under current law, the list of such schools only includes public, private, or religious elementary, middle, or high schools.
S.B. 155Patron: EdwardsControl of firearms; chambers of local governing bodies. Allows a locality to adopt an ordinance that prohibits firearms, ammunition, or components or a combination thereof at any regular or special meeting of such local governing body, provided that notice of such prohibition is publicly posted and the meeting room is owned or operated by the locality.
S.B. 338Patron: PeakeFirearms in courthouses. Allows a person who may lawfully possess a firearm or ammunition for a firearm to carry a firearm or ammunition for a firearm into an area courthouse that is being used exclusively for purposes other than judicial proceedings outside of the courthouse's normal hours of operation.
S.B. 350Patron: PeakeConcealed handgun permit; expiration date. Extends from five to 15 years the validity of a concealed handgun permit.
S.B. 351Patron: PeakeFirearms in locked vehicles; immunity from liability. Provides that no person, property owner, tenant, employer, or business owner may (i) prohibit a person who lawfully possesses a firearm from storing that firearm or ammunition for a firearm in a locked motor vehicle, (ii) take any adverse employment action against an employee or contractor for lawfully storing a firearm or ammunition for a firearm in a locked motor vehicle, or (iii) search an employee's or contractor's motor vehicle or require that an employee or contractor consent to such a search as a condition of employment. The bill allows a person to petition a circuit court for an injunction to enforce his right to lawfully store a firearm or ammunition for a firearm in a locked motor vehicle. The bill provides immunity for any person, property owner, tenant, employer, or business owner in a civil action for any occurrence resulting from the use of a lawfully stored firearm or ammunition for a firearm. The provisions of the bill do not apply to (a) property owned or controlled by the federal government, (b) vehicles on property controlled by an employer required to develop and implement a security plan under federal law or regulation, (c) property on which a person is prohibited by law from possessing a firearm, (d) vehicles owned or leased by an employer or business entity and used by an employee or contractor in the course of his employment, or (e) personal vehicles while such vehicles are being used for the transport of consumers of programs licensed by the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services.
S.B. 372Patron: ChafinCarrying dangerous weapon to place of religious worship. Repeals the statutory prohibition on carrying a gun, pistol, bowie knife, dagger, or other dangerous weapon, without good and sufficient reason, to a place of worship while a meeting for religious purposes is being held at such place.
S.B. 385Patron: LucasPurchase of handguns; limitation on handgun purchases; penalty. Prohibits any person who is not a licensed firearms dealer from purchasing more than one handgun in a 30-day period and establishes such an offense as a Class 1 misdemeanor. The bill exempts from this provision (i) persons who have been issued a certificate by the Department of State Police under certain circumstances and with an enhanced background check, (ii) law-enforcement agencies and officers, (iii) state and local correctional facilities, (iv) licensed private security companies, (v) persons who hold a valid Virginia concealed handgun permit, (vi) persons whose handgun has been stolen or irretrievably lost or who are trading in a handgun, (vii) purchases of handguns in a private sale, and (viii) purchases of antique firearms.
S.B. 434Patron: WextonRestoration of firearms rights; convicted felons. Requires the court to find by clear and convincing evidence that a person convicted of a violent felony, whose civil rights have been restored by the Governor or other appropriate authority, who has petitioned for a permit to possess or carry a firearm is not a risk to public safety and poses no present or future danger to himself or others prior to granting the petition and issuing the permit. Current law provides for a standard of good cause shown.
S.B. 442Patron: HowellAllowing access to firearms by children; penalty. Provides that any person who leaves a loaded, unsecured firearm in such a manner as to endanger the life or limb of any person under the age of 18 is guilty of a Class 6 felony. Current law provides that any person who recklessly leaves a loaded, unsecured firearm in such a manner as to endanger the life or limb of any child under the age of 14 is guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor.
S.B. 479Patron: ReevesUse or display of firearm during commission of a felony; killing or injuring police animals; penalty. Adds maliciously shooting, stabbing, wounding, or otherwise causing bodily injury to or administering poison to any animal used or trained by a law-enforcement agency, regional jail, or the Department of Corrections to the list of felonies for which a separate penalty is prescribed if a firearm is used during the commission of the offense.
S.B. 493Patron: CarricoPossession of concealed handguns; concealed handgun permit holders at public institutions of higher education. Allows any person who possesses a valid Virginia concealed handgun permit or a concealed handgun permit from another state that is recognized by Virginia to carry a concealed handgun on the property of, in buildings owned by, or at events hosted at public institutions of higher education. The bill provides an exception that may prohibit firearms in facilities operated by the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services or a campus police department of a public institution of higher education if such facilities are located on the property of or in buildings owned by a public institution of higher education.
S.B. 538Patron: HangerExpansion of courthouses to contiguous property. Provides that expansion of a courthouse to contiguous land within the same county or city shall not trigger a referendum requirement. The existing statute refers only to relocation within the same county.
S.B. 653Patron: McPikeDangerous weapons; place of religious worship. Requires a person to have the express authorization of a place of religious worship to carry certain weapons to such place of worship while a meeting for religious purposes is being held. Current law requires such person to have a good and sufficient reason to do so.
S.B. 742Patron: SpruillProhibition of sale, transfer, etc., of certain firearms magazines and firearms; penalties. Prohibits any person from importing, selling, bartering, or transferring a firearms magazine designed to hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition. A violation is a Class 6 felony. The bill prohibits a person from carrying semi-automatic center-fire firearms with more than 10 rounds of ammunition in a public place; under existing law, this prohibition applies only in certain localities and only to such firearms if the firearm holds more than 20 rounds of ammunition. The bill also increases from a Class 1 misdemeanor to a Class 6 felony the penalty for carrying a semi-automatic center-fire firearm and a shotgun with a magazine that will hold more than seven rounds of the longest ammunition for which it is chambered in a public place. The bill redefines "assault firearm" by reducing from more than 20 to more than 10 the number of rounds of ammunition that a firearms magazine will hold in order to be defined as an "assault firearm" and prohibits a dealer from selling, renting, trading, or transferring from his inventory such an assault firearm to any person. The bill also reduces from more than 20 to more than 10 the number of rounds of ammunition that a firearms magazine will hold in order to be defined as an "assault firearm" for purposes of possession or transportation by a person younger than 18 years of age and increases the penalty from a Class 1 misdemeanor to a Class 6 felony for a person younger than 18 years of age to possess or transport a handgun, an assault firearm, or a shotgun with a magazine that will hold more than seven rounds of the longest ammunition for which it is chambered, with some exceptions.
S.B. 797Patron: HowellProtective orders; possession of firearms; penalty. Provides that it is a Class 6 felony for a person who is subject to a permanent protective order (i.e., a protective order with a maximum duration of two years) for subjecting another person to an act of violence, force, or threat to possess a firearm while the order is in effect, which is equivalent to the existing penalty for possession of a firearm by a person subject to a permanent protective order for family abuse. The bill also provides that such person may continue to possess and transport a firearm for 24 hours after being served with the order for the purposes of selling or transferring the firearm to another person.
S.B. 811Patron: MarsdenProtective orders; possession of firearms; surrender or transfer of firearms. Provides that a court shall order a person subject to a protective order to (i) surrender any firearm possessed by such person to the local law-enforcement agency of the county or city where such person resides or to sell or transfer any firearms possessed by such person to a firearms dealer within 24 hours after being served with a protective order or (ii) certify in writing that such person does not possess any firearms and file such certification with the clerk of the court that entered the protective order within three days after being served with a protective order. The bill also provides that within 48 hours after surrendering or selling or transferring all firearms, such person shall certify in writing that all firearms possessed by such person have either been surrendered or sold or transferred and file such certification with the clerk of the court that entered the protective order.
I also had the opportunity yesterday to speak with Cam Edwards of NRATV's Cam and Company and give a legislative update.  Bills have yet to move in the House but the Senate is moving quickly to dispose of firearm related bills.  The last day to introduce legislation if Friday. 

Senate Courts of Justice Turns Back Most of Governor Northam's Gun Control

Mon, 01/15/2018 - 14:43
Senate Courts of Justice wasted no time in dispatching the bulk of Governor Northam's gun control legislation this morning in their first meeting of the legislative session.  In total, 18 bills were defeated, including one of Governor Northam's top priorities - so-called "universal" background checks.  The list of bills is below.
Unfortunately, two pro-gun bills that have passed in previous years and ultimately vetoed by former Governor McAullife, was withdrawn by the patron, Senator Jill Vogel.  Those bills are:
Two pro-gun bills were reported out and referred to the Finance Committee:
One "bump stock" bill (which incorporated two additional identical bills related to bump stocks - SB113 and SB676) was reported our of committee and referred to the Finance Committee:
Several usually dependable pro-rights legislators joined anti-rights Senators in reporting the bill.  Senators Stanley, Sturtevant, Stuart, and Peake, as well as sometime pro-rights Senator Norment, joined the reliable anti-rights Senators of Saslaw, Howell, Lucas, Edwards, Stanley, Deeds,  and Petersen in reporting the bill. The discussion in the committee drifted to trigger replacements, modifications and changing factory standards.  SB1 is poorly written and will catch many more modifications than bump stocks if it passes.  The VSSA legislative team will continue to work legislators to defeat the bill.

Action on Northam's anti-gun agenda has yet to be taken in the House of Delegates.  Be sure to follow all of the legislative news here on the blog, as well as VSSA's Twitter and Facebook feeds.

Northam Makes Gun Control Top Legislative Priority

Fri, 01/12/2018 - 08:30
The Washington Post has the story here.
Democratic Gov.-elect Ralph Northam said Tuesday that expanding Medicaid in Virginia and implementing universal background checks for gun buyers will be two of his top legislative priorities after he takes office this weekend.Calling it "non-partisan" and "commonsense" said he thinks he will have support from both sides of the aisle for his proposals.  So far, all of the patrons of the anti-rights bills are Democrats and have no GOP co-sponsors.

I had the opportunity to talk with NRATV's Cam Edwards about the just started legislative session and what Virginia gun owners can do to protect their rights during the next 60 days.


Long List of Gun Bills on Senate Courts of Justice Docket Monday

Fri, 01/12/2018 - 08:01
The Senate Courts of Justice Committee is wasting no time taking up the flurry of firearm related bills that have been introduced in the chamber.  Monday's docket includes a long list of bills, mostly anti-rights, but there are some pro-rights bills.  Included on the list are three bills that have previously passed and been vetoed by Governor Terry McAuliffe - two dealing with the ability of domestic violence victims to carry a concealed firearm without a permit while they are waiting for the permit for which they have applied to be processed, and a bill that prevents anti-gun states from going on fishing expeditions with people who have been stopped for routine traffic violations by preventing the sharing of concealed handgun permit information with states with which Virginia does not have reciprocity.  Please contact the members of the committee and let them know you oppose the bad bills (noted in red) and support the good bills (noted in green).  VSSA will be providing live updates on Twitter and Facebook during the committee meeting. In the interest of not clogging up our member's email inbox, rather than sending multiple emails during the week, please regularly check this blog and the VSSA web site Legislative Tracking Form for updates on legislation.  Bills of interest on Monday's docket are listed below.

S.B. 2  Patron: Ebbin
Firearms; alcohol; penalties. Provides that it is a Class 1 misdemeanor for a person under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs to carry a loaded firearm on or about his person in a public place and that a person found guilty of such act is ineligible to apply for a concealed handgun permit for a period of five years. Current law provides that such prohibition applies only to persons permitted to carry a concealed handgun.

S.B. 5 Patron: Ebbin
Firearm transfers; criminal history record information checks; penalty. Requires a background check for any firearm transfer and requires the Department of State Police to establish a process for transferors to obtain such a check from licensed firearms dealers. A transferor who fails to obtain a required background check and sells the firearm to another person is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. The bill exempts transfers between immediate family members, transfers that occur by operation of law, transfers by the executor or administrator of an estate or by the trustee of a testamentary trust, and temporary transfers that (i) occur within the continuous presence of the owner of the firearm; (ii) are necessary to prevent imminent death or serious bodily injury; (iii) occur at a shooting range, shooting gallery, or other area designed for the purpose of target shooting, for use during target practice, a firearms safety or training course or class, a shooting competition, or any similar lawful activity; or (iv) are for the purpose of and while the transferee is engaged in hunting, trapping, or target shooting. The bill removes the provision that makes background checks of prospective purchasers or transferees at firearms shows voluntary.

S.B. 48 Patron: Black
Concealed handgun permits. Allows any person who is otherwise eligible to obtain a concealed handgun permit to carry a concealed handgun without a permit anywhere he may lawfully carry a handgun openly within the Commonwealth.

S.B. 63 Patron: Favola
Control of firearms by localities; lawful demonstrations and protests. Allows a locality to adopt an ordinance that prohibits the possession or transportation of firearms, ammunition, or components or a combination thereof, during a demonstration, march, parade, protest, rally, or other similar event. Such an ordinance shall not apply to any law-enforcement officer, armed security officer, member of the Armed Forces of the United States, member of the Armed Forces Reserves, or member of the National Guard acting in the performance of his lawful duties or to any person having a valid concealed handgun permit.

S.B. 79 Patron: Lucas
Firearms on school property. Adds public, private, or religious preschools and child day centers that are not operated at the residence of the provider or of any of the children to the list of schools where possessing a firearm on school property or on a school bus is prohibited. Under current law, the list of such schools only includes public, private, or religious elementary, middle, or high schools.

S.B. 113 Patron: Favola
Mechanical devices designed to increase the rate of fire of firearms; penalty. Prohibits the manufacture, import, sale or offer to sell, possession, transfer, or transportation of any device used to increase the rate of fire of any semi-automatic firearm beyond the capability of an unaided person to operate the trigger mechanism of that firearm. A violation is punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor.

S.B. 119 Patron: Favola
Reporting lost or stolen firearms; civil penalty. Requires a person who lawfully possesses a firearm to report the loss or theft of the firearm to any local law-enforcement agency or the Department of State Police within 24 hours after such person discovers the loss or theft or is informed by a person with personal knowledge of the loss or theft. The bill requires the relevant law-enforcement agency to enter the report information into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC). A violation is punishable by a civil penalty of $50 for a first offense and not less than $100 or more than $250 for any subsequent offense. The bill provides that a person who, in good faith, reports the loss or theft is immune from criminal or civil liability for acts or omissions that result from the loss or theft; the immunity does not apply to a person who knowingly gives a false report. The bill does not apply to the loss or theft of an antique firearm.

S.B. 145 Patron: Edwards
Firearm transfers; penalties. Creates a Class 3 misdemeanor for a person who is not a licensed dealer but who conducts business as a merchant of firearms to sell a firearm without a background check conducted by a federally licensed dealer. The bill exempts transfers to family members, to personal friends, by inheritance, by operation of law, or for a temporary purpose.

S.B. 155 Patron: Edwards
Control of firearms; chambers of local governing bodies. Allows a locality to adopt an ordinance that prohibits firearms, ammunition, or components or a combination thereof at any regular or special meeting of such local governing body, provided that notice of such prohibition is publicly posted and the meeting room is owned or operated by the locality.

S.B. 209 Patron: Stuart
Concealed handgun permits; sharing of information. Prohibits sharing of information regarding Virginia concealed handgun permits in the Virginia Criminal Information Network with law enforcement in states that do not recognize a Virginia concealed handgun permit as valid in the state. The bill requires the Department of State Police to maintain and publish online a list of states that recognize a Virginia concealed handgun permit as valid in the state. The bill does not create a private cause of action.

S.B. 215 Patron: Cosgrove
Renewal of concealed handgun permits; notice. Requires the clerk of the court that issued a concealed handgun permit to notify the permit holder, at least 90 days prior to the expiration date, of the expiration date of the permit. Such notification shall be provided by first-class mail unless the clerk provides an electronic notification to the permit holder. Current law provides that if the clerk has an electronic system for the application and issuance of concealed handgun permits and such system has the capability of sending electronic notices to a permit holder, then such expiration notices shall be sent electronically.

S.B. 276 Patron: Barker
Firearms; removal from persons posing substantial risk; penalties. Creates a procedure by which an attorney for the Commonwealth or law-enforcement officer may apply to a circuit court judge for a warrant to remove firearms from a person who poses a substantial risk of injury to himself or others. If firearms are seized pursuant to such warrant, the bill requires a court hearing within 14 days from execution of the warrant to determine whether the firearms should be returned or retained by law enforcement. Seized firearms may be retained by court order for up to 180 days or, with court approval, may be transferred to a third party chosen by the person from whom they were seized. Persons who have been served with a warrant to remove firearms until such warrant has been dissolved by a court or who are the subject of an order to retain firearms are guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor for purchasing, possessing, or transporting a firearm; are disqualified from having a concealed handgun permit; and may not be employed by a licensed firearms dealer. The bill also provides that a person who transfers a firearm to a person he knows has been served with a warrant or who is the subject of an order is guilty of a Class 6 felony.

S.B. 288 Patron: McClellan
Reporting lost or stolen firearms; civil penalty. Requires a person who lawfully possesses a firearm to report the loss or theft of the firearm to any local law-enforcement agency or the Department of State Police within 24 hours after such person discovers the loss or theft or is informed by a person with personal knowledge of the loss or theft. The bill requires the relevant law-enforcement agency to enter the report information into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC). A violation is punishable by a civil penalty of $50 for a first offense and not less than $100 or more than $250 for any subsequent offense. The bill provides that a person who, in good faith, reports the loss or theft is immune from criminal or civil liability for acts or omissions that result from the loss or theft; the immunity does not apply to a person who knowingly gives a false report. The bill does not apply to the loss or theft of an antique firearm.

S.B. 338 Patron: Peake
Firearms in courthouses. Allows a person who may lawfully possess a firearm or ammunition for a firearm to carry a firearm or ammunition for a firearm into an area courthouse that is being used exclusively for purposes other than judicial proceedings outside of the courthouse's normal hours of operation.

S.B. 350 Patron: Peake
Concealed handgun permit; expiration date. Extends from five to 15 years the validity of a concealed handgun permit.

S.B. 351 Patron: Peake
Firearms in locked vehicles; immunity from liability. Provides that no person, property owner, tenant, employer, or business owner may (i) prohibit a person who lawfully possesses a firearm from storing that firearm or ammunition for a firearm in a locked motor vehicle, (ii) take any adverse employment action against an employee or contractor for lawfully storing a firearm or ammunition for a firearm in a locked motor vehicle, or (iii) search an employee's or contractor's motor vehicle or require that an employee or contractor consent to such a search as a condition of employment. The bill allows a person to petition a circuit court for an injunction to enforce his right to lawfully store a firearm or ammunition for a firearm in a locked motor vehicle. The bill provides immunity for any person, property owner, tenant, employer, or business owner in a civil action for any occurrence resulting from the use of a lawfully stored firearm or ammunition for a firearm. The provisions of the bill do not apply to (a) property owned or controlled by the federal government, (b) vehicles on property controlled by an employer required to develop and implement a security plan under federal law or regulation, (c) property on which a person is prohibited by law from possessing a firearm, (d) vehicles owned or leased by an employer or business entity and used by an employee or contractor in the course of his employment, or (e) personal vehicles while such vehicles are being used for the transport of consumers of programs licensed by the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services.

S.B. 360 Patron: McClellan
Control of firearms; permitted events. Authorizes any locality by ordinance to prohibit the possession or carrying of firearms, ammunition, or components or any combination thereof in a public space during a permitted event, or an event that would otherwise require a permit. This bill contains technical amendments.

S.B. 372 Patron: Chafin
Carrying dangerous weapon to place of religious worship. Repeals the statutory prohibition on carrying a gun, pistol, bowie knife, dagger, or other dangerous weapon, without good and sufficient reason, to a place of worship while a meeting for religious purposes is being held at such place.

S.B. 385 Patron: Lucas
Purchase of handguns; limitation on handgun purchases; penalty. Prohibits any person who is not a licensed firearms dealer from purchasing more than one handgun in a 30-day period and establishes such an offense as a Class 1 misdemeanor. The bill exempts from this provision (i) persons who have been issued a certificate by the Department of State Police under certain circumstances and with an enhanced background check, (ii) law-enforcement agencies and officers, (iii) state and local correctional facilities, (iv) licensed private security companies, (v) persons who hold a valid Virginia concealed handgun permit, (vi) persons whose handgun has been stolen or irretrievably lost or who are trading in a handgun, (vii) purchases of handguns in a private sale, and (viii) purchases of antique firearms.

S.B. 412 Patron: Lucas
Firearm transfers; criminal history record information checks; penalty. Requires a background check for any firearm transfer and directs the Department of State Police (the Department) to establish a process for transferors to obtain such a check from licensed firearms dealers. A transferor who sells a firearm to another person without obtaining the required background check is guilty of a Class 6 felony. The bill exempts transfers (i) between immediate family members, (ii) that occur by operation of law, (iii) by the executor or administrator of an estate or by the trustee of a testamentary trust, and (iv) that are temporary and occur in the presence of the owner of the firearm or are necessary to prevent imminent death or serious bodily injury. The bill removes the provision that makes background checks of prospective purchasers or transferees at firearms shows voluntary. The bill also provides that the Department shall have three business days to complete a criminal history record information check before a firearm may be transferred.

S.B. 432 Patron: Wexton
Transfer of firearms; criminal history record information check; penalties. Requires that a criminal history record information check be performed on the prospective transferee before a vendor, defined in the bill, may transfer firearms at a gun show. A violation is a Class 6 felony. The bill also requires that the promoter of a firearms show post notice of the requirement for a criminal history record information check and provide vendors with access to licensed dealers who will conduct the criminal history record information check. The bill repeals a provision added by the 2016 Session of the General Assembly that requires the Department of State Police to be available to perform background checks for non-dealer sales at firearms shows if requested by a party involved in a transaction.

S.B. 433 Patron: Wexton
Reporting lost or stolen firearms; civil penalty. Requires a person who lawfully possesses a firearm to report the loss or theft of the firearm to any local law-enforcement agency or the Department of State Police within 24 hours after such person discovers the loss or theft or is informed by a person with personal knowledge of the loss or theft. The bill requires the relevant law-enforcement agency to enter the report information into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC). A violation is punishable by a civil penalty of $250 for a first offense and not less than $250 or more than $1,000 for any subsequent offense. The bill provides that a person who, in good faith, reports the loss or theft is immune from criminal or civil liability for acts or omissions that result from the loss or theft; the immunity does not apply to a person who knowingly gives a false report. The bill does not apply to the loss or theft of an antique firearm.

S.B. 434 Patron: Wexton
Restoration of firearms rights; convicted felons. Requires the court to find by clear and convincing evidence that a person convicted of a violent felony, whose civil rights have been restored by the Governor or other appropriate authority, who has petitioned for a permit to possess or carry a firearm is not a risk to public safety and poses no present or future danger to himself or others prior to granting the petition and issuing the permit. Current law provides for a standard of good cause shown.

S.B. 442 Patron: Howell
Allowing access to firearms by children; penalty. Provides that any person who leaves a loaded, unsecured firearm in such a manner as to endanger the life or limb of any person under the age of 18 is guilty of a Class 6 felony. Current law provides that any person who recklessly leaves a loaded, unsecured firearm in such a manner as to endanger the life or limb of any child under the age of 14 is guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor.

S.B. 447 Patron: Surovell
Firearm transfers; penalties. Creates a Class 2 misdemeanor for a person who is not a licensed dealer to sell, rent, trade, or transfer a firearm to any other person who is not a licensed dealer. The bill also creates a Class 2 misdemeanor for a person who is not a licensed dealer to buy, rent, trade, or transfer a firearm from any other person who is not a licensed dealer. The bill exempts certain transfers, including between immediate family members, by operation of law, at a firearms show with a background check, at a shooting range, at a voluntary gun buyback programs, transfers of antique firearms, and when the transfer is temporary and (i) is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm or (ii) occurs while in the continuous presence of the owner of the firearm.

S.B. 493 Patron: Carrico
Possession of concealed handguns; concealed handgun permit holders at public institutions of higher education. Allows any person who possesses a valid Virginia concealed handgun permit or a concealed handgun permit from another state that is recognized by Virginia to carry a concealed handgun on the property of, in buildings owned by, or at events hosted at public institutions of higher education. The bill provides an exception that may prohibit firearms in facilities operated by the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services or a campus police department of a public institution of higher education if such facilities are located on the property of or in buildings owned by a public institution of higher education.

S.B. 595 Patron: Vogel
Carrying concealed handguns; protective orders. Authorizes any person 21 years of age or older who is not prohibited from purchasing, possessing, or transporting a firearm and is protected by an unexpired protective order to carry a concealed handgun for 45 days after the protective order was issued. The bill provides that if the person issued the protective order applies for a concealed handgun permit during such 45-day period, such person will be authorized to carry a concealed handgun for an additional 45 days and be given a copy of the certified application, which shall serve as a de facto concealed handgun permit. The bill requires such person to have the order or certified application and photo identification on his person when carrying a concealed handgun and to display them upon demand by a law-enforcement officer; failure to do so is punishable by a $25 civil penalty.

S.B. 596 Patron: Vogel
Victims of domestic violence, etc.; firearms safety or training course. Creates the Virginia Firearms Safety and Training for Sexual and Domestic Violence Victims Fund. The bill provides that the Department of Criminal Justice Services may distribute funds from the Fund to reimburse an entity that offers a firearms safety or training course or class approved by the Department free of charge to victims of domestic violence, sexual abuse, stalking, or family abuse. The Department would not be permitted to issue reimbursements in excess of the amount available in the Fund. The bill also requires that, upon the issuance of a protective order, the petitioner for the order be provided with a list of such approved courses or classes.

S.B. 641 Patron: Stuart
Purchase, possession, or transportation of firearms by persons voluntarily admitted to an inpatient mental health facility; penalty. Prohibits a person voluntarily admitted to a state hospital or mental health facility for inpatient treatment from purchasing, possessing, or transporting a firearm while receiving inpatient treatment and for two weeks following the date on which he is discharged from inpatient treatment. The bill requires the state hospital or mental health facility to notify the person seeking admission of such prohibition, to receive written consent from the person seeking admission to have his firearm rights temporarily revoked, and to disclose information regarding his admission to treatment to the State Police for entry in the Central Criminal Records Exchange prior to admitting such person for treatment.

S.B. 653 Patron: McPike
Dangerous weapons; place of religious worship. Requires a person to have the express authorization of a place of religious worship to carry certain weapons to such place of worship while a meeting for religious purposes is being held. Current law requires such person to have a good and sufficient reason to do so.

S.B. 665 Patron: Deeds
Prohibition on carrying of certain firearms in public places; County of Albemarle and City of Charlottesville; penalty. Adds the County of Albemarle and the City of Charlottesville to the list of localities in which it is unlawful for a person to carry certain firearms in public places.

S.B. 668 Patron: Deeds
Localities; regulation of firearms in government buildings. Allows localities to regulate the possession of firearms, ammunition, or components or combination thereof in, or the carrying of firearms, ammunition, or components or combination thereof into, any building owned or used by such locality for governmental purposes. The bill also allows localities to regulate the possession of firearms, ammunition, or components or combination thereof in, or the carrying of firearms, ammunition, or components or combination thereof into a park or recreation area owned or used by such locality for governmental purposes, provided that at each public entrance to such park or recreation area there is (i) at least one law-enforcement officer or armed security officer; (ii) at least one metal detection device; and (iii) an inspection area where each person that enters the park or recreation area may have any bag, package, or other container that he is carrying inspected by a law-enforcement officer or armed security officer. Current law prohibits localities from adopting or enforcing any ordinance, resolution, or motion regarding firearms, ammunition, or components or combination thereof unless expressly authorized by statute.

S.B. 669 Patron: Deeds
Involuntary mental health treatment; minors; access to firearms. Provides that a person who, while a minor 14 years of age or older, was ordered to involuntary inpatient or outpatient treatment or was subject to a temporary detention order and agreed to voluntary admission (i) is subject to the same restrictions on possessing, purchasing, or transporting a firearm as an adult who was similarly ordered to involuntary treatment or was subject to a temporary detention order and agreed to voluntary admission and (ii) may utilize the same procedure as such adult for petitioning for the restoration of such person's firearm rights. The bill also sets out procedures for the submission of any involuntary treatment order or certification of voluntary admission subsequent to a temporary detention order involving a minor 14 years of age or older to the Central Criminal Records Exchange for purposes of determining a person's eligibility to possess, purchase, or transport a firearm that mirror the current procedures for the submission of such orders or certifications for adults.

S.B. 676 Patron: Deeds
Mechanical devices designed to increase the rate of fire of firearms; penalty. Prohibits the manufacture, import, sale or offer to sell, possession, transfer, or transportation of any device used to increase the rate of fire of any semi-automatic firearm beyond the capability of an unaided person to operate the trigger mechanism of that firearm. A violation is punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor.

S.B. 715 Patron: Chase
Carrying a concealed handgun; firefighters and emergency medical services providers. Provides that any firefighter or person employed as emergency medical services personnel who was previously employed as a law-enforcement officer or as a member of the Virginia National Guard, Armed Forces of the United States, or Armed Forces Reserves of the United States may carry a concealed handgun throughout the Commonwealth without a permit, provided that such firefighter or person employed as emergency medical services personnel has been approved to carry a concealed handgun by his fire chief or emergency medical services chief.

S.B. 732 Patron: Favola
Possession or transportation of firearms following convictions for certain misdemeanor crimes; restoration of rights; penalty. Prohibits a person who has been convicted of stalking, sexual battery, assault and battery of a family or household member, brandishing a firearm, or two or more convictions of assault and battery from possessing or transporting a firearm. A person who violates this provision is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. The bill provides for a process by which a person convicted of such crimes may petition the circuit court for a reinstatement of his right to possess or transport a firearm.

S.B. 742 Patron: Spruill
Prohibition of sale, transfer, etc., of certain firearms magazines and firearms; penalties. Prohibits any person from importing, selling, bartering, or transferring a firearms magazine designed to hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition. A violation is a Class 6 felony. The bill prohibits a person from carrying semi-automatic center-fire firearms with more than 10 rounds of ammunition in a public place; under existing law, this prohibition applies only in certain localities and only to such firearms if the firearm holds more than 20 rounds of ammunition. The bill also increases from a Class 1 misdemeanor to a Class 6 felony the penalty for carrying a semi-automatic center-fire firearm and a shotgun with a magazine that will hold more than seven rounds of the longest ammunition for which it is chambered in a public place. The bill redefines "assault firearm" by reducing from more than 20 to more than 10 the number of rounds of ammunition that a firearms magazine will hold in order to be defined as an "assault firearm" and prohibits a dealer from selling, renting, trading, or transferring from his inventory such an assault firearm to any person. The bill also reduces from more than 20 to more than 10 the number of rounds of ammunition that a firearms magazine will hold in order to be defined as an "assault firearm" for purposes of possession or transportation by a person younger than 18 years of age and increases the penalty from a Class 1 misdemeanor to a Class 6 felony for a person younger than 18 years of age to possess or transport a handgun, an assault firearm, or a shotgun with a magazine that will hold more than seven rounds of the longest ammunition for which it is chambered, with some exceptions.

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