Sunday, February 26, 2012

VA-ALERT: Legislative Update 2/26/12

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1. Action Item: email the Governor to sign repeal of One Handgun a Month
2. Bad bills killed in subcommittee last Friday
3. Bills we are still watching in the General Assembly
4. Antis pressure Governor McDonnell to veto the One Handgun a Month repeal

1. Action Item: email the Governor to sign repeal of One Handgun a Month

If you would like to have your voice heard on repealing the One Handgun a Month law, you can send a message to Governor McDonnell by clicking here:

For the subject put: Please SIGN HB 940 and SB 323!

For the message: Please SIGN HB 940 and SB 323 to repeal the One Handgun a Month law. This law has done nothing but burden law-abiding gun owners.

2. Bad bills killed in subcommittee last Friday

On Friday morning two more anti-gun bills were killed:

SB 224, Senator Herring, would have made it easier for the federal government to take away someone's gun rights forever for a single conviction of *misdemeanor* domestic violence. An Administration (Governor Bob McDonnell) representative, the anti-gun Association for Chiefs of Police, and the Virginia State Police spoke in favor of the bill, saying it would be easier for the State Police to determine if a person convicted under Virginia's misdemeanor domestic violence law qualified to have their gun rights terminated by the federal government. The State Police said that such persons would be delayed longer than usual while the State Police determined their status.

I spoke against the bill, saying I was glad that it was hard or impossible for the State Police to determine if a person should lose their gun rights for a misdemeanor and that it would be worth the wait at a gun show to keep misdemeanants from being disarmed for life. I said that Virginia did not need to bring its laws into compliance with what I consider to be an unconstitutional federal law. I also pointed out that it's not like Virginia isn't tough on domestic violence offenders - a second charge within 20 years will move from a misdemeanor to a felony.

Boy, if looks could kill I'd be six feet under. The Administration representative was NOT happy with me. ;-)

The subcommittee voted to carry the bill over to next year by a 4 to 1 vote! It will end up in the Crime Commission for study and, I hope, won't rear its ugly head again for a year or two.

SB 389, Senator Marsden, would have made it a criminal offense to carry a BB gun on K-12 school property. Schools can already prevent students from doing so by policy. One claim for needing the law was that MS-13 was telling their members to carry BB guns on school property because it was legal. When I spoke against the bill I said, "Yeah - if it is made illegal I'm sure MS-13 members will comply with the law."

The bill died by a 4 to 1 margin.

Delegate Gilbert led the charge on killing those bills and we thank him. Also voting to kill both bills were Delegates Webert, Fariss, and Wright.

3 Bills we are still watching in the General Assembly

Here are the bills that are still under consideration in the House and Senate:

HB 375, Delegate Pogge, allows employees of local government to store firearms in their private vehicles while at work. We are awaiting the House to accept the Senate's changes and pass the bill, which would then send it on its way to the Governor's desk.

SB 663, Senator Smith, allows a CHP holder to use his CHP as identification for purposes of voting. Should be voted on in the House soon. We expect it to pass handily.

HB 48, Delegate Bell, and SB 4, Senator Stuart, are both Castle Doctrine bills. We continue to strongly oppose these two bills as the risk outweighs the benefit as they currently stand. Virginia common law is very good and there is no need to rush. VCDL is working on vetting a more comprehensive bill over the summer. Both bills are both currently stalled.

4. Antis pressure Governor McDonnell to veto the One Handgun a Month repeal

Desperate antis are trying everything they can think of to get Governor McDonnell to veto the repeal of One Handgun a Month.

You know, hard as I try, I can't figure out the antis.

They want Virginia Tech to be gun-free, just like it was on that terrible day in 2007. We all saw how well THAT worked out.

They want all private sales to go through a background check. Cho went through a background check TWICE. We all saw how well THAT worked out.

They want the One Handgun a Month rationing to stay. Cho waited the full month required by law to get his second gun. We all saw how well THAT worked out.

The antis just can't get enough of things that don't work.

Now they are asking Governor McDonnell to veto the repeal of One Handgun a Month. That would anger his base, while leaving a bunch of people, who would never vote for him under any circumstances, happy.

Yeah - that's gonna happen.

From the Daily Press:

Virginia Tech families want 1-gun-a-month law to stay

February 25, 2012|By STEVE SZKOTAK
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Parents of Virginia Tech survivors and victims of the 2007 campus massacre urged Gov. Bob McDonnell on Saturday to keep in place a law that allows the purchase of only one handgun a month.

A bill repealing the law is likely headed to the governor's desk, and McDonnell has previously said he would sign it. The one-gun-a-month-law has been in place since the early 1990s.

A parent of a wounded student at Virginia Tech said he's hopeful the Republican governor will change his mind about signing the legislation.

"I hold out hope that he will take into account the 66 percent of the people in the polls who want to keep this thing," said Andrew Goddard, whose son Colin was wounded in the campus April 16, 2007, rampage that left 33 dead, including the gunman.

A spokesman for McDonnell said the governor "appreciated hearing directly from the families on this issue."

"It was a straightforward and substantive discussion," said the spokesman, J. Tucker Martin. "His thoughts and prayers remain with them as they continue to deal with their tremendous loss. We will have further comment on the legislation at the appropriate time."

Goddard, who among other Tech families has become a leading voice in Virginia on gun control, said McDonnell would get back to the them next week.

The Virginia House of Delegates and Senate have voted to repeal the law, which was approved during the administration of Gov.L. Douglas Wilder.

The law was intended to staunch the flow of guns from Virginia to New York City and other cities with tough laws. In 1991, the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms found that 40 percent of the 1,236 guns found at crime scenes in New York had been purchased in Virginia.

Among the Tech parents who talked with McDonnell in a conference call fromWashington, D.C., where he's attending a meeting of the National Governors Association, were Lori Haas, whose daughter Emily was wounded at Tech; and Peter D. Read, who lost his daughter, Mary Karen Read.

In a letter to McDonnell requesting the discussion, they wrote: "As we contemplate the approaching fifth anniversary of the shooting that changed our lives forever, we remain steadfast in our commitment to do everything possible to protect our fellow Virginians from gun violence."

"That was the thing that brought us together as friends and as people who decided to see what we could do to help out," said Goddard, who is president of the Virginia Center for Public Safety.

Goddard said he was hopeful Republican embarrassment in recent days over two failed proposals might convince McDonnell to reconsider the gun bill.

McDonnell backed away from a bill requiring women to undergo an invasive procedure before receiving an abortion after it became the fodder for comics and led to angry protests. A "personhood" bill, which would declare that life begins at conception, also was abandoned.

McDonnell has been mentioned as a possible vice presidential candidate in 2012 and potential future presidential contender.

"I'm looking back at what has happened in the past week or so," Goddard said, "and I'm thinking there has been serious misjudgment on behalf of the GOP and probably on behalf of the administration about what people's reactions would be to certain things, in terms towomen's health issues and reaction to the `personhood' thing."

Goddard said the gun bill could provide "something he can salvage from this." [PVC: Nice try, Andrew. In football this is called a "Hail, Mary"]

"He was very respectful of our opinions" Goddard said. "I was very impressed that he gave us the time of day" [PVC: It's 2:15 Andrew and the door is over there.]


Christina Nuckols is pleading/daring ex-Governor Wilder to play the race card to pressure Governor McDonnell into vetoing the repeal of One Handgun a Month! A new low, even for the anti-gun Roanoke Times.

From the Roanoke Times:

Christina Nuckols: Wilder silent as his legacy takes a bullet

Former Gov. Douglas Wilder has his own unique sense of timing.

Six days after the state Senate voted to repeal Virginia's law limiting individuals to the purchase of one handgun a month, Wilder surfaced to make his first public comment about this year's effort to quash one of the major legacies of his gubernatorial term.

It was too late to affect the outcome of the 21-19 vote, but the timing was impeccable for his purpose: to place blame.

In an interview earlier this month with The Associated Press, Wilder lit into fellow Democrats John Edwards of Roanoke and Creigh Deeds of Bath County for voting in favor of the repeal.

Edwards and Deeds deserved a tongue-lashing, as did the 19 Republicans who joined them but who got a pass from Wilder. I would add one more Democrat to the list of those who share responsibility: Wilder himself.

I'll also add an asterisk beside his name, because as I write this there's still time for him to try to save the handgun law. Time is growing short, though.

It's possible that Gov. Bob McDonnell will have signed the repeal legislation, as he has said he will do, before this column is published.

With the clock ticking, I called Wilder last week to ask why he had sunk back into an enigmatic silence. I wasn't handing him a pistol and a line-up of Democrats for target practice; he wasn't interested in self-reflection.

We spent the better part of our 15-minute conversation arguing about whether he would speak on the record.

If I were able to provide a full transcript of our conversation, you still would have no idea why Wilder isn't out there telling anyone who would listen why the law was first adopted and why it's still needed.

Wilder proposed the handgun limit in 1993 after federal firearms officials singled out Virginia as the primary source for weapons in New York City and Washington, D.C., two hotbeds of violence at the time.

Margaret Edds of The (Norfolk) Virginian-Pilot reported in 1993 that between October 1989 and September 1992, more than 2,600 firearms sold in Virginia were used in crimes outside the commonwealth. Of those, 223 were linked to homicides.

One of the victims was Rayvon Jamison.

"On July 30, 1990, the chubby-cheeked 9-month-old was wheeling his powder-blue walker around his grandmother's tenement apartment when gunfire erupted in the hall outside," Edds wrote.

"Seven brass bullets, intended for Rayvon's uncle, pierced the steel-plated door. None hit their target; three struck the little boy."

The 9-millimeter semi-automatic pistol had been purchased in Petersburg by a man just released from a mental ward. Police speculated that he sold it to a gunrunner headed north. [PVC: And since a single handgun had been sold to a gun runner, how exactly would One Handgun a Month have changed anything, Christina?]

Wilder made one slip during our verbal fencing match when I prodded him to explain why he wasn't on the phone reading McDonnell the riot act. He blurted out, "You don't know whether I would or not" before announcing retroactively that he was off the record. (It doesn't work that way, and he knows it.)

Wilder surely knows that he's the only one capable of saving the handgun law now. McDonnell desperately wants to be on the ticket running against the country's first black president.

His chance at being chosen as the Republican vice presidential candidate wouldn't be helped by a confrontation with the nation's first elected black governor. [PVC: There's the race card. Disgusting.] Wilder is a master at inflicting maximum injury on his opponents, and McDonnell doesn't have the stomach for that kind of smash-mouth combat. [PVC: However, Christina sounds like a fan of it.]

So now it's up to Wilder. If he lets this moment pass, he'll have to live with the fact that he let one of his major legacies slip away. I fear it won't be the only victim if pistols are once again sold by the bushel in the commonwealth.

"I look forward to you turning on the heat like only you can do," I said in a parting plea as my call to Wilder wrapped up.

A raspy laugh exploded from the receiver, and the line went dead. [PVC: He should have hung up on you sooner.]

VA-ALERT is a project of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, Inc.
(VCDL). VCDL is an all-volunteer, non-partisan grassroots organization
dedicated to defending the human rights of all Virginians. The Right to
Keep and Bear Arms is a fundamental human right.

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