Thursday, January 16, 2014

VA-ALERT: Legislative Update 1/15/14

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This morning the anti-gun legislators held a press conference to talk about their plans to further gun control in Virginia. Nothing new, just more confirmation that they don't see gun ownership as a right.

Actions on legislation today:

SB 65, Senator Marsh, increases punishment for "celebratory gunfire." The bill was modified in the Senate Courts of Justice committee to make it clear that the shot had to be fired into the air (as opposed to into the ground - an improvement), would be valid anywhere in the state (not just near cities or dwellings - makes it worse), and the penalties were reduced to: someone killed - Class 5 felony, someone wounded - Class 6 felony, no one hurt, Class 1 misdemeanor (an improvement). As written the bill passed out of committee and heads to the finance committee, as it has fiscal implications. The bill still has major problems and VCDL remains opposed to this bill. We will see if we can stop it in finance.

SB 111, Senator Stanley, allows for expungement of certain misdemeanors, except for misdemeanor domestic violence which has taken away a person's gun rights. The Senate Courts of Justice Committee carried the bill over for the day, so it will be heard at a future meeting. We are "neutral" on the bill currently, but we are working to improve this bill so we can support it.

HB 284, Delegate Loupassi, if a higher court overturns a lower court's mental-health commitment, the person does not get their firearms rights back automatically. As introduced, VCDL strongly opposes this bill because we felt if the commitment was overturned the person should get their firearms rights back immediately. An amendment was offered in the mental health subcommittee that might remove our opposition. It is a complicated law and I have sent the amended version to VCDL's Mental Health Advisory Committee to evaluate and report back. VCDL will then decide whether to continue opposing the bill or not.

HB 66, Delegate Ramadan, requires K-12 school have at least one resource officer. VCDL is neutral on this bill. The bill was carried over until next week.

HB 307, Delegate Lingamfelter, allows schools to offer hunter safety courses after hours. VCDL strongly supports this bill. The bill was passed by for the day and will come up again later.

And tomorrow, of course, a slew of gun bills is coming up in Subcommittee #1 of the House Militia, Police, and Public Safety Committee.

Thanks to all of you who responded about the Class III alert yesterday (around 30 or so). Several of you pointed us towards some web sites which have information on each locality's policy on Form 4 sign offs. Just what the doctor ordered!

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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