Legislative Showdown Looms Over Guns   By Rachel Beatrice and Matt Chaney, Capital News Service The political battle over guns in Virginia is shifting to...

Legislative Showdown Looms Over Guns


By Rachel Beatrice and Matt Chaney, Capital News Service

The political battle over guns in Virginia is shifting to the state Capitol as the General Assembly convenes Wednesday for its 2016 session.

The state’s leading Democrats fired the latest shots: In October, Gov. Terry McAuliffe banned weapons from state buildings. Then last month, Attorney General Mark Herring announced that the commonwealth would no longer recognize concealed handgun permits issued by 25 states that he said do not meet Virginia’s standards.

Those moves outraged Republican legislators. Del. Todd Gilbert of Shenandoah, for example, accused Herring of having a “partisan, political goal of denying law-abiding citizens the right to protect and defend themselves.”

So it’s no surprise that the General Assembly will take up the issue. As of Tuesday, legislators had filed almost 70 bills about firearms, guns or other weapons.

Republicans are sponsoring several measures to expand Virginians’ right to carry weapons. For example, with House Bill 593, Del. Robert Marshall, R-Manassas, seeks to invalidate McAuliffe’s Executive Order 50, which prohibits the carrying of firearms in buildings occupied by executive branch agencies.

Marshall also is carrying HB 83, which would prevent Virginia state employees from enforcing new federal firearms laws, including criminal background checks in gun sales or other transactions.

And Marshall’s HB 79 would allow full-time faculty members at public colleges and universities carry a handgun on campus if they have a concealed weapons permit.

Along the same lines, newly elected Del. Nicholas Freitas, R-Culpeper, is sponsoring HB 761, which “prohibits public institutions of higher education from adopting or enforcing any rules prohibiting a female who possess a valid Virginia concealed handgun permit from carrying a concealed handgun on campus.”

Sen. Thomas Garrett, R-Hadensville, is taking aim at Herring’s decision to reject the concealed handgun permits of more than two dozen states. Under Senate Bill 178, sponsored by Garrett, the General Assembly – not the attorney general – would determine whether Virginia should honor other states’ concealed carry permits.

Democratic legislators, who are in the minority in both the House and Senate, also are sponsoring a bevy of gun-related measures. Generally, they want to make it harder for people to buy or carry firearms.

For instance, Del. Kaye Kory of Falls Church has filed HB 482, which would require background checks on firearms sales at gun shows. Currently, gun-show vendors don’t have to perform such checks unless they are federally licensed gun dealers.

Newly elected Del. John Bell, D-Chantilly, wants to tighten the rules for getting a concealed handgun permit in Virginia. Current law allows applicants to complete an online or video course in firearms training or safety; Bell’s HB 617 would require that the course be taken in person.

Under SB 214, sponsored by Sen. Barbara Favola, D-Arlington, and HB 425, by Del. Marcus Simon of Falls Church, Virginians who are in the federal Terrorist Screening Database could not buy or possess guns. (At the federal level, Republicans have opposed such proposals because they say the database is flawed.)

To a large extent, the gun debate at the Virginia Capitol echoes the controversy over firearms in the nation’s capital.

Last week, President Obama, with tears in his eyes, gave a speech lamenting gun violence. He said he was taking executive actions to address the problem by requiring all businesses that sell guns – including at firearms shows – to be licensed and conduct background checks.

Herring, who attended Obama’s announcement, called the president’s action “important steps to promote public safety, prevent gun violence and keep guns away from criminals and other dangerous people.”

Republicans, including U.S. Rep. Rob Wittman of Virginia’s 1st Congressional District, criticized Obama’s speech.

“We are all touched by attacks like the one in San Bernardino, and we all grieve for those who have lost so much as a result. But to end this kind of violence, we need to address the real, underlying causes of these attacks,” Wittman said on Facebook.

“Limiting our constitutionally guaranteed rights is never the answer. That is why it’s so important for us to affirmatively protect the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens by advancing legislation like the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2015.”

That federal legislation would allow anyone with a valid concealed weapons permit from any state to carry firearms “in accordance to restrictions within that state.”

More on the Web

To track or comment on legislation involving firearms or other issues, visit the Richmond Sunlight website:www.richmondsunlight.com/

Here is a list of all bills before the Virginia General Assembly whose descriptions mention guns, firearms or weapons:

Billr Description Patron
HB12 Concealed handgun permits, out-of-state; photo identification. Ware
HB51 Weapons other than handguns; purchase by certain officers. Miller
HB76 Concealed handguns; authorization and training for persons designated to carry on school property. Marshall, R.G.
HB79 Concealed handguns; possession by full-time faculty members at higher educational institutions. Marshall, R.G.
HB83 Federal firearms laws; enforcement. Marshall, R.G.
HB90 Virginia National Guard; possession of handguns by members at certain facilities. Taylor
HB119 Virginia National Guard; possession of handguns by members. Webert
HB128 Weapons; possession prohibited in state legislative buildings, penalty. Hope
HB132 Risk management plan; coverage for injury or death on state property, concealed handgun prohibition. Marshall, R.G.
HB133 Risk management plan; coverage for injury/death on college property, concealed handgun prohibition. Marshall, R.G.
HB149 Concealed handgun permits; individuals on federal Terrorist Screening Database. Simon
HB167 School board employees; possession of firearms by employees who are former law-enforcement officers. Cole
HB187 New public school buildings; plans or blueprints, indoor active shooter gunshot detection and alert. Taylor
HB206 Firearms, certain; identification requirement. Webert
HB260 Firearms; law-enforcement certification of transfer. LaRock
HB273 Transfer of certain firearms; identification requirement. LaRock
HB332 Concealed handgun permit; judges exempt. Miller
HB368 Firearms; disposition of those acquired by localities. Davis
HB377 Felons; restoration of firearms rights, report to State Police. Rush
HB382 Firearms; control by state agencies, etc. Fowler
HB422 Firearms businesses; local regulation of dealers in proximity of schools. Murphy
HB423 Firearms; possession in school zone, penalty. Simon
HB424 Firearms; possession in school zone; regulation by locality. Simon
HB425 Firearms; prohibits person in Terrorist Screening Database to purchase, etc. Simon
HB433 Concealed handguns; revocation of permit. Villanueva
HB439 Firearm; use or display while committing a felony increases penalty. Lingamfelter
HB443 Carrying a concealed handgun; permit not required. Campbell
HB482 Transfer of firearms; criminal history record information check; penalties. Kory
HB560 Brandishing a firearm; intent to induce fear, etc., penalty. Lingamfelter
HB563 Firearms; disposition by locality, licensed dealer right of action. Lingamfelter
HB593 General Services, Department of; regulation of firearms. Marshall, R.G.
HB599 Transfer of firearms; criminal history record information check; penalties. Plum
HB617 Concealed handgun permit; demonstration of competence. Bell, J.J.
HB632 Transfer of firearms; criminal history record information check, penalties. Bell, J.J.
HB658 Protective orders; possession of firearms; penalty. Filler-Corn
HB761 Possession of concealed handguns; females at public institutions of higher education. Freitas
HB766 Carrying concealed handguns; protective orders. Gilbert
HB768 Victims of domestic violence, etc.; firearms safety or training course. Gilbert
HB783 Brandishing a firearm; law-enforcement officer; penalty. Adams
HB784 Possession of firearms by persons adjudicated delinquent; military service exception. Adams
HB804 Reporting lost or stolen firearms; penalty. Lingamfelter
HB809 Sale of firearms; persons not lawfully present in United States; penalty. Lingamfelter
HB810 Transfer of assault weapon; proof of citizenship. Lingamfelter
SB48 Concealed handgun; person may carry concealed without permit if otherwise eligible to obtain permit. Black
SB49 Protective orders; prohibits person who is subject to order from possessing firearms, penalty. Howell
SB95 Use of firearm in commission of crime; civil liability. Marsden
SB96 Protective orders; possession of firearms; penalty. Marsden
SB97 Handguns; establishes limitation on purchases, penalty. Marsden
SB138 Firearms retailers; local regulation, proximity to schools. Favola
SB156 Concealed handgun permit; family member who resides with applicant may submit statement to court. Favola
SB175 Concealed handgun permits; sharing of information. Stuart
SB178 Concealed handgun permits; reciprocity with other states. Garrett
SB184 Firearms magazines, certain; prohibition of sale, transfer, etc., penalties. Marsden
SB185 Firearms, loaded; prohibits carrying certain firearms in public places, exception. Marsden
SB186 Concealed handgun permits; proof of competence, training courses. Marsden
SB187 Transfer of firearms; permit required. Marsden
SB198 Concealed weapons; adds any employee with internal investigations authority designated by DOC. Lucas
SB199 Transfer of firearms; criminal history record information check, penalties. Lucas
SB205 Handguns; purchase by certain officers. Edwards
SB214 Firearms; Terrorist Screening Database check prior to purchase. Favola
SB217 Firearm or pneumatic gun; allowing access by children, penalty. Marsden
SB220 Firearm transfers; penalties. McEachin
SB260 Concealed handgun permit; disqualifications, residential mental health or substance abuse treatment. Surovell
SB263 Firearms; purchase by persons intending to commit act of terrorism, penalty. Surovell
SB300 Firearms; alcohol; penalties. Ebbin
SB301 Transfer of firearms; criminal history record information check; penalties. Ebbin
SB302 Firearms; access by children; penalty. Ebbin
SB323 Possession or transportation of firearms; protective orders; penalty. Favola


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