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Founded in 1938. 80 Years of Protecting Virginia's Gun Rights and the Shooting Sports.
Updated: 1 hour 15 min ago

NRA Suspending All Sanctioned Matches through April 30

Tue, 03/31/2020 - 10:22
Due to the Wuhan Coronavirus pandemic, the NRA is unfortunately suspending all sanctioned matches through April 30th 2020. Any requests for sanctioning of new matches, beyond April 30th, are also suspended until further notice. As a result of this suspension, the NRA will no longer accept match fees or scores. The NRA will continue to monitor the situation and make additional statements as the COVID-19 pandemic unfolds. Please contact the NRA Competitive Shooting Division at comphelp@nrahq.org or follow the NRA Competitive Shooting Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/nracompetitiveshooting/​  or monitor https://competitions.nra.org

John Lott: With Criminals Being Let Out of Jail, Gun Stores are Essential Businesses

Thu, 03/26/2020 - 10:27
Dr. John Lott had this article over on the National Review web site yesterday.
With police cutting back their efforts and inmates are being released from prison, it is prudent for Americans to take responsibility for the safety of themselves and their families. Hopefully, people won’t need guns any more than they do in ordinary times. But in these precarious times, even some of the most anti-self-defense Democrats realize that closing gun stores isn’t going to do anything to reassure people.When the Governor of Illinois of all people recognizes that gun stores are essential businesses, you would think other anti-rights governors could also recognize this fact.  Fortunately for Virginians, the Code specifically states that the Governor cannot infringe on our right to keep and bear arms, including purchases.

VSSA Take on HR5717

Tue, 03/24/2020 - 11:01
A relative messaged me on Friday related to a new bill introduced in the House of Representatives - HR5717.  It includes a lot of bad stuff like firearm licensing, "universal" background checks, a "red flag" provision, and a ban on modern sporting rifles and suppressors.  Having said that, it only has 18 cosponsors, in the anti-gun House of Representatives, which indicates that this bill is a step too far for a lot of the gun ban crowd currently in office.  It is not unusual for bills like this to be introduced every session, and not go anywhere.  We should remain vigilant, but this isn't a bill with which gun owners need to spend a lot of time.  If the intention was to sneak this by gun owners, they have obviously failed as VSSA has been tagged in Twitter posts about the bill and as I said, gun owning relatives have reached out to me personally.

If the bill does start to gain some steam and our posture needs to change, VSSA will alert members as soon as that happens.

NSSF Resources for Gun Owners and FFLs During Wuhan Coronavirus

Tue, 03/24/2020 - 10:37
In light of Governor Northam's Executive Order related to "non-essential" businesses, it is a good opportunity to take stock of what this means for gun owners.  If a gun shop has the ability to limit the number of people in the store to 10 (I can't imagine this would not be possible given that Costco is able to limit the number of people entering the store), they do not have to close.  Indoor shooting ranges are specifically mentioned and are considered "non-essential" in his order, but gun shops are not mentioned and are in fact protected by law.  According to the NSSF COVID-19 INFORMATION AND RESOURCES FOR FFLS the Code of Virginia Title 44. Military and Emergency Laws: Chapter states:
3.2. Emergency Services and Disaster Law,
Nothing in this chapter is to be construed to:
...(3) Empower the Governor, any political subdivision, or any other governmental authority to in any way limit or prohibit the rights of the people to keep and bear arms as guaranteed by Article I, Section 13 of the Constitution of Virginia or the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States, including the otherwise lawful possession, carrying, transportation, sale, or transfer of firearms except to the extent necessary to ensure public safety in any place or facility designated or used by the Governor, any political subdivision of the Commonwealth, or any other governmental entity as an emergency shelter or for the purpose of sheltering persons;So, unlike New Jersey and California, Virginians are protected by the Code of Virginia from orders prohibiting gun sales.

Hat Tip Cam Edwards.

Wuhan Coronavirus Gun Sales Surge Straining Background Check System

Thu, 03/19/2020 - 09:28
The Colorado Bureau of Investigation, Pittsburgh Post Gazette, and the FBI via Newsweek, are reporting delays in the completion of background checks as the sale of firearms surge due to the media induced panic surrounding the Wuhan Coronavirus.   At the same time, San Jose has shut down a gun store as a "non-essential" business.  First the increased sales angle from Newsweek:
Gun sales have skyrocketed in recent weeks as panic over the spread of COVID-19 worsens.

Mark Oliva, the director of public affairs for the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the firearms industry's trade group, said the FBI's National Crime Information Center (NCIC) informed his organization that the number of background checks processed on March 16 soared by 300 percent over the same day in 2019.

Federal background checks—which are performed by the FBI and are required when transactions occur through licensed dealers—are seen as a general proxy for gun sales.

Oliva added that, since February 23, the NSSF was told that the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) has been running roughly double the number of checks it was over the same period in 2019. February was the third highest month ever for NICS background checks since they began in 1998 according to Newsweek. The system saw a 36% increase in background checks.  While not a perfect indicator of firearms sales, background checks do provide a snapshot of what is occurring.

After processing over 14,000 background checks last week, the Colorado Bureau of Investigations announced steps it was taking to assist with the increased demand for background checks.

And in Pennsylvania, one gun shop had this to say:
Marty Patterson, assistant manager of National Armory in Moon, called it a “panic.”

“They’re guarding their toilet paper, pretty much,” he said. “It’s media hype, really — a panic spread by the media. Mostly they’re buying stuff to protect their home, a lot of shotguns, but — of course — handguns, too.”This is not to say the Wuhan Coronavirus is not serious, it is.  But there has been no proportionality related to media coverage of the illness.  This nation has seen two other serious foreign pandemics in the last 10 years (both originated in China) yet opponents of the President are using this to gain an advantage in this year's election.

Regarding the San Jose gun show closure, the Mayor has closed it due to the city's "shelter in place" order.  Cam Edwards has the story at the above link.

Virginia 2A T-Shirt Supports VSSA

Wed, 03/11/2020 - 11:28
Here's your opportunity to get a t-shirt that shows you support the right to keep and bear arms in Virginia, and support VSSA.  Stickers are available too!  Just click the link to "Accessories".


Order by 9 PM CDT March 22, 2020 and get free shipping on orders of $45 or more, so order multiple shirts. There are several colors from which to choose.  Use Code “FREESHIP320a7a121”.  Just click the link above.  A portion of each purchase will support VSSA.

Dick's Sporting Goods Pulls Firearms from Over Half of Stores

Wed, 03/11/2020 - 08:54
The Wall Street Journal has the story here.
The company’s plans to eliminate the hunting department at about 440 more Dick’s Sporting Goods locations follows the earlier removal of the department at 135 stores. The company had 850 stores at the end of the last fiscal year, most of which were Dick’s Sporting Goods locations.

In 2018, following the mass shooting at a Parkland, Fla., high school, Dick’s said it would sell guns only to people at least 21 years old, and would stop selling assault-style rifles at its 35 Field & Stream stores. The company stopped selling assault-style rifles at its flagship Dick’s stores following the 2012 deadly shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn.

Firearms and ammunition are a shrinking part of the company’s business but Dick’s CEO Edward Stack has taken a public stance on the issue and lobbied for more stringent restrictions on firearms sales.That shrinking part is largely do to a number of gun owners ending their patronage after Stack joined forces with the gun ban lobby and actively pushed for increased gun control.  Shortly there after the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the trade association for the firearms industry, expelled the retailer from the association's membership. 

The retailer also reported its latest financial results yesterday and said it expects same-store sales for this fiscal year to be between about flat to up 2%. Last year Dick's saw the company’s same-store sales increase by 3.7%.   Stack has admitted that the company took a sales hit after he became a proponent for gun control.

Realizing What Happens When You Don't Vote

Tue, 03/10/2020 - 10:06
A VSSA member replied to the last legislative update with an email that said this:
I am a VSSA member and did vote in this last election. I think we’re going to get creamed if we don’t get everybody out to vote next time. I’m surprised when I speak with people now after what’s happened & that they’re not even registered to vote or don’t know how.

Question for you, can we please put on the VSSA site front page a link on how to register or where to register to vote? To answer the questions, a link will be put on the VSSA web site. But to the larger point, this member was willing to identify (by name) as one of what is likely thousands of gun owners who did not vote last year and are now seeing the result of that inaction.  The question is, how many of the others are now willing to do next time what they did not do in 2019?

Washington Free Beacon: Virginia Gun Sales Surge as Dems Pass Gun Control

Fri, 03/06/2020 - 11:54
Stephen Gutowski at the Washington Free Beacon writes that firearm sales in Virginia surged as Democrats in the General Assembly were busy passing new gun control laws:
Nearly 66,000 background checks were performed in Virginia in February as the state's Democratic-controlled legislature weighs a number of strict background checks—a steep increase from the 40,381 checks performed in February 2019. Virginia experienced one of the most dramatic upticks in background checks—a strong indicator of total sales—in the nation, according to data released by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF). Gun sales are up nationwide with average growth rates of 16.7 percent, according to the report, but the surge was especially dramatic in Virginia where checks rose by 63.4 percent compared to 2019.

The spike in Virginia gun sales, which have increased for four consecutive months, shows that guns remain at the forefront of many residents' minds. While Democrats dropped a proposal to ban so-called assault weapons after facing public backlash from Second Amendment activists, they have moved forward on seven other gun-control measures; five have already passed through both chambers while two more are slated for a conference committee. The remaining proposals—including a red flag bill, a one-gun-a-month purchase limit, and a universal background check bill—appear to be enough to drive Virginians to their local gun stores. The story quoted a representative of the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) as saying the increased sales numbers should send a clear message to lawmakers as they weigh additional restrictions.
"They see that their elected representatives are infringing on their Second Amendment rights and they're buying the firearms they want to provide for their own protection."The General Assembly is scheduled to wrap-up work tomorrow. A number of bills, including reinstating handgun rationing and a red flag law are already on their way to the Governor. The handgun rationing bill does include an exemption for people who have a Concealed Handgun Permit (CHP) so expect the number of people with permits to increase along with the sales that have already surged.

Bills Slowly Move Out of Conference Committee

Fri, 03/06/2020 - 07:55
Several bills moved out of conference on Thursday:

HB 2 Firearm transfers; criminal history record information checks, penalty. This bill was amended by the Senate to only require background checks on the sale of firearms, loaning a firearm to a friend or neighbor, or giving a firearm as a gift would not require a backgound check. Today, the Conference Committee recommended that the Senate Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute (Senate Version of the bill) be accepted to resolve the matter under disagreement. 03/05/20 House: Conference report agreed to by House (54-Y 44-N) The Senate still needs to vote.

SB 70 Firearm transfers; criminal history record information check, penalty. No conference report has been provided but it is expected to be the same result as HB2.

HB 1499 Virginia Gun Violence Intervention and Prevention Fund; created. The Senate Version of the bill removed all references to "gun violence" and simply created the "Virginia Violence Intervention and Prevention Fund. Today, the Conference Committee recommended that the Senate Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute be rejected and that the engrossed House bill be accepted to resolve the matter, which reinserts all references to "gun violence" as it was introduced. 03/05/20 House: Conference report agreed to by House (64-Y 34-N) The Senate Still needs to vote.

Thursday the Senate agreed to the House amendments to the companion bill of HB1499, SB248, on a vote of (23-Y 17-N) which now puts both bills in the same status.

HB 812 Handguns; limitation on purchases, penalty. (Handgun rationing). The Senate amended this bill to include an exemption for concealed handgun permit holders as the Senate version included. Today, the Conference Committee recommended that the Senate Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute be accepted to resolve the matter. 03/05/20 House: Conference report agreed to by House (51-Y 48-N). The Senate still needs to vote.

SB 69 Handguns; limitation on purchases, penalty. The Conference Committee Recommended that the House Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute be rejected and that the Senate engrossed bill (that included the exemption for concealed handgun permit holders) be accepted to resolve the matter under disagreement. 03/05/20 House: Conference report agreed to by House (52-Y 47-N). The Senate still needs to vote.

SB 71 Firearms; possession on school property. No conference report has been presented.

SB 263 Concealed handgun permits; demonstration of competence, effective date. The House had amended this bill to remove all references to NRA Certified Training as an acceptable demonstration of competence in addition to removing the option for online training. The House had already accepted the Senates changes to the companion bill which had added NRA Certified Training back to the bill and only removed the online training option. The Conference Committee recommended the original Senate bill. This means that both version now include NRA Certified Training as an option for demonstrating competence. The House approved the conference report yesterday. The Senate has not voted.

SB 64 Paramilitary activities; penalty. Provides that a person is guilty of unlawful paramilitary activity if such person brandishes a firearm or any air or gas operated weapon or any object similar in appearance while assembled with one or more persons with the intent of intimidating any person or group of persons with any firearm, any explosive or incendiary device, or any components or combination thereof. Such unlawful paramilitary activity is punishable as a Class 5 felony. 03/05/20 House substitute agreed to by Senate (21-Y 19-N).

The Session is nearing its end. Expect the Senate to vote on the conference reports today.

Paul Bedard: Boom: FBI gun checks surge 30% amid Biden, Bloomberg gun grab threats

Wed, 03/04/2020 - 13:56
Paul Bedard reports at the Washington Examiner that NICS background checks have surged in the first two months of this year:
Background checks in January and February recorded the highest number ever for the period, said the FBI. In just two months, there have been 5,505,169 checks. Last year, there were 4,218,980 background checks in January and February.Bloomberg dropped out of the Democratic Presidential Nomination contest today but Biden has already said that if he wins he will put Robert Francis "Hell yes we are going to take your AR-15" O'Rourke in charge of a Biden Administration's gun control efforts.  This could end up being a record year for firearm sales. 

Seventh Congressional District Nomination Process

Wed, 03/04/2020 - 10:28
For gun owners who live in the 7th Congressional District, the GOP nomination process to select a candidate to challenge anti-rights Abigail Spanberger will be a nominating convention.  While this is not the most optimum nominating process, limiting the process to party activists, gun owners can file to be delegates to the nominating convention.  You must prefile as a delegate prior to the meeting and each locality in the district has a different filing date.  There are several candidates from which to choose.  They are:

Republican primary candidatesTwo of the above are members of the House of Delegates - Delegate Nick Freitas and Delegate John McGuire.  They both have an excellent voting record on Second Amendment issues in the General Assembly. Gun owners when choosing a candidate should not only consider their record on our issue, but also the candidate that would stand the best chance of defeating Spanberger.  The 7th District leans GOP and Spanberger won in 2016 by only a small percentage of the vote.  Gun owners can't take a chance on nominating an individual that will give Spanberger an open path to re-election.  Delegates Freitas and McGuire likely offer the best chance of beating Spanberger.  Gun owners need to be active in the nominating process.  Click the links above to each candidate and make you own decision, then choose your locality below and file to be a delegate to the 7th District nominating convention.  Please note if you live in Louisa County, the prefiling deadline passed before VSSA received the below information.

STATUS OF COUNTIES (PREFILES AND CALLS)
Amelia N/A GOP Business Meeting date pendingChesterfield PREFILE https://virginia.gop/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/2020-Delegate-Membership-Filing-Form.pdf DEADLINE, 5pm, Friday, March 20th (Postmarks do not apply)CALL TO CANVAS https://virginia.gop/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Amended-Chesterfield-GOP-2020-Canvass-Call-Final.pdfCulpeper PREFILE FORM https://virginia.gop/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/delegate-membership-filing.pdfilingcorrected.docx DEADLINE, 9pm, Saturday, MARCH 7th (Postmarks do not apply)CALL TO CANVAS https://virginia.gop/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Canvass-call-2020.pdfGoochland PREFILE https://goochland.gop/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/APPROVED_2020-Combined-Application-form.pdf DEADLINE, 8:30pm, Wednesday, March 18th (Postmarks do not apply)CALL TO MASS MEETING https://goochland.gop/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/APPROVED_2020.3.28-GCRC-Mass-Meeting-Call.pdfHenrico PREFILE https://www.henricogop.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Form-2020-Henrico-County-Republican-Committee-Mass-Meeting-For-Publication.pdf DEALINE, 5pm, Saturday, March 21st(Postmarks do not apply) CALL TO MASS MEETING https://www.henricogop.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/2020-HCRC-Reconstitution-Call-For-Publication.pdfLouisa PREFILE FORM DEADLINE has passedCALL TO MASS MEETING https://virginia.gop/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/final-Call-louisa-correct-info.pdfNottoway N/A GOP Business Meeting MARCH 5thOrange PREFILE FORM https://virginia.gop/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/OFFICIAL-ROCC-pre-file-form-2020.pdf DEADLINE 6pm, Wednesday, March 4th(Postmarks do not apply)CALL TO MASS MEETING https://virginia.gop/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/OFFICIAL-Call-for-2020-ROCC-Mass-Meeting.pdfPowhatan PREFILE FORM https://virginia.gop/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/2020-PCRC-Convention-Canvass-Filing-Form-1-1.pdf DEADLINE, 5pm Wednesday, March 18th (Postmarks do not apply)CALL TO CANVAS https://virginia.gop/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Powhatan-County-Republican-Committee-2020-Call-to-Canvass.pdfSpotsylvania PREFILE FORM https://virginia.gop/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/SCRC-2020-Prefiling-Form-1.pdf DEADLINE, 7pm Friday, March 20th (Postmarks do not apply)
CALL TO MASS MEETING https://virginia.gop/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/SCRC_Official_Call.pdf

Legislative Update - Senate Passes Remaining House Gun Bills

Wed, 02/26/2020 - 18:49
The following bills were on today's Senate Floor Calendar:

Unfinished Business Senate
SB 69 Handguns; limitation on purchases, penalty. - Yesterday, the  House insisted on the substitute that removed exemption for concealed handgun permit holders, and requested a conference committee. No action was taken in the Senate today.

SB 263 Concealed handgun permits; demonstration of competence, effective date. The Senate acceded to the request for a conference and appointed Senators: Bell, Deeds, Stuart.  Awaiting House Conferees

SB 593 Licensed family day homes; storage of firearms. Senate acceded to request for a conference and appointed Senators Hanger, McClellan, Stuart. Awaiting House conferees.

Senate - House Bills on Third Reading -  These bills were conformed to the Senate Companion bills in Senate Judiciary on Monday (with the exception of HB9 and HB1083)  which the senate versions were defeated before crossover.

HB 2 Firearm transfers; criminal history record information checks, penaltyPassed Senate with substitute (23-Y 17-N)

HB 9 Firearms; reporting those lost or stolen, civil penalty. This bill was amended on the floor to change the required reporting time from 24 to 48 hours.  Lt. Governor Fairfax cast the tie breaking vote. Bill passed 21-20.

HB 264 Concealed handgun permits; demonstration of competence. This bill was amended in Senate Judiciary to include NRA Certified Training as an approved training.  Passed Senate with substitute (21-Y 19-N)

HB 421 Firearms, ammunition, etc.; control by localities by governing possession, etc., within locality. This bill was amended on the floor to exempt ROTC and other higher education programs using firearms. Passed Senate with substitute with amendment (22-Y 18-N)

HB 674 Firearms; removal from persons posing substantial risk, penalties. ("Red Flag" bill) Passed by for the day

HB 812 Handguns; limitation on purchases, penalty. Passed by for the day

HB 1004 Protective orders; possession of firearms, surrender or transfer of firearms, penalty.

HB 1080 Firearms or other weapons; unauthorized to possess on school property. Passed Senate with substitute (22-Y 18-N)

HB 1083 Minors; allowing access to firearms, This bill was amended in committee to reduce the penalty from a Class 6 Felony to a Class 1 Misdemeanor.  The current penalty is a Class 3 Misdemeanor.  It also keeps the age at 14 which is current law instead of raising it to 18 as introduced. Passed Senate with substitute (22-Y 18-N)

House of Delegates:
The following Senate bills were on the House Calendar today on final passage. 

SB71     Firearms; possession on school property - Conformed to the House version  Passed House with substitute (54-Y 46-N)

SB173   Stun weapons; prohibits possession on school property, exemptions. (VSSA supports this bill) - House BLOCK VOTE (100-Y 0-N)

SB70  Firearm transfers; criminal history record information check, penalty. This was conformed to the House version which requires a background check on sales and transfers.  The Senate version only required them on sales.  Passed House with substitute (54-Y 46-N)

SB240 Firearms; removal from persons posing substantial risk of injury to himself, etc., penalties.  Red Flag bill.  This bill was changed in the House to remove some of the due process protections added in the Senate.  In Senate Judiciary the House version was amended and brought more in line with what the House did to SB240. Passed House with substitute (53-Y 47-N)

SB479   Protective orders; possession of firearms, surrender or transfer of firearms, penalty. Passed House with substitute (56-Y 41-N)

SB14      Trigger activators; prohibition, penalty. This bill as amended in the Senate restates the Federal "bump stock" ban  House: Passed House (55-Y 45-N)

Both the House and the Senate are still in session as this update is being being posted.   As soon as additional conferees are appointed, they will be posted here on the blog.

Senator Chap Petersen on Why He Voted Against HB961

Wed, 02/19/2020 - 09:08
State Senator Chap Petersen was on Fox and Friends Tuesday Morning talking about why he voted against HB961.  He said he told folks early on that he was opposed to the bill.

House Democrats apparently retaliated yesterday by killing one of his bills in the Firearms Public Safety Committee.  The bill had passed the State Senate 40-0.
People in the room — including gun control advocates who liked the bill — believe Democrats killed it because Petersen voted against the assault weapons bill yesterday https://t.co/jm9L9aoZD2— Amy Friedenberger (@AJFriedenberger) February 18, 2020If you haven't already, please let Senator Petersen know you appreciate his vote. He is one of the rare Democrats in the General Assembly that has some knowledge of firearms. We don't agree with him all of the time but there are just some bridges that go to far for him on the subject.  Petersen (along with Deeds and Edwards) also voted in 2010 to repeal the ban on carrying firearms in restaurants that serve alcohol .

Hat tip to Cam Edwards.

The Next Step After Defeat of Northam Gun, Magazine, and Suppressor Ban

Tue, 02/18/2020 - 10:41
The Washington Post confirms what VSSA's lobbyist found while working with senators on the Senate Judiciary Committee to defeat HB961 - they thought the bill went too far and captured more firearms than what many think of as so called "assault weapons".  Take Senator Creigh Deeds for instance.  Deeds was one of the four Senators that VSSA focused efforts on to defeat the bills.  He used to be a reliable vote against gun control but started to turn after the Virginia Tech shooting in 2007.  He also felt that his support for Second Amendment Rights had been betrayed when the NRA supported Bob McDonnell in the 2009 Gubernatorial election when McDonnell had voted for handgun rationing in 1993 and Deeds had voted against it.  McDonnell had promised he would sign a repeal of the law while Deeds had already started shifting his position on background checks more in line with the gun ban lobby.  I saw gun ban activist Lori Haas giving Deeds an ear full outside the committee room after the vote. He later told the Post:
Deeds said in an interview that the bill’s magazine limits could have applied to some long rifles and handguns that “I don’t think anybody really intended to criminalize.”

“AK-47s or AR-15s — I think they’re impractical, and I can’t imagine that people really need to own those things. In fact, they are weapons of war,” Deeds said. “But when you’re trying to define that as a matter of code, you’ve got to be really careful.”No Senator Deeds, that is exactly what they wanted to do.  That's why the Secretary of Public Safety, Bryan Moran, focused on the Virginia Tech shooting in his remarks in both the House Public Safety Committee and Senate Judiciary.  The firearms used in the Tech shooting were handguns.  And, despite the fact that the commission appointed by Governor Tim Kaine  after the shooting said that the size of the magazines used would have had no impact on the carnage, that is what Moran focused on.  Deed's comments also show we still need to educate those who voted to waylay about why firearms like the AR-15 are indeed practical and used for sport, hunting, and competition.

Gun owners in the districts of the four senators (Surovell, Petersen, Deeds, Edwards) should use this time to educate them on the many rifles like the AR-15, why they are so popular, why their features make them easy for anyone - youth, women, handicapped shooters - to use. Gun ranges in or near their districts should invite them to competitions that use the rifles so they can see why these firearms are indeed "practical".

Three Senate Gun Control Bills on House Public Safety Docket Friday Morning

Thu, 02/13/2020 - 12:58
Three of the five gun control bills that passed the State Senate prior to Crossover are on tomorrow morning's docket in House Public Safety. All three of the bills passed the Senate in a different form than they passed the House. The bills are:

SB69 Handguns; limitation on purchases, penalty. This bill includes an exemption from the one handgun-a-month limit for individuals who possess a concealed carry permit. The House bill does not include this provision. The question is will they conform the Senate bill to what passed the House.
SB263 Concealed handgun permits; demonstration of competence, effective date. Like SB69, this bill passed the House in a different form. The Senate bill did not remove references to NRA Certified Training.
SB593 Licensed family day homes; storage of firearms.

Monday's Senate Judiciary docket will be posted tomorrow. We will update members as soon as it is posted.

Legislative Update - Ban on Modern Sporting Rifles Reports from House Committee

Sun, 02/09/2020 - 18:38
Photo by Richmond Times DispatchThe House Public Safety Committee met Friday to take up bills heard in subcommittee and to hear HB961, Governor Northam's bill to ban modern sporting rifles (referred to by the gun ban lobby as "assault weapons"), ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 rounds as well as firearms that are capable of holding such a magazine, and banning suppressors. As introduced it would have required individuals that own these firearms to register them with the State Police. Last night, VSSA was made aware that a substitute would be introduced that removed the registration part, but the bill still contained language that would require Virginians to either turn over or destroy ammunition magazines that hold over 12 rounds by January 1st, 2021 or become a felon. When you click the link to the bill above, you should scroll down to 18.2-308.9. Importation, sale, transfer, etc., of assault firearms prohibited; penalty. to see the definition of what would constitute an "assault firearm".

After about 30 minutes of testimony and debate (you can see the entire discussion in the video at the end of this newsletter) the committee voted 12-9 on a party line vote to report the bill. At that time, a number of the people in the audience stood up and shouted "We will not comply." The chairman appeared shocked that this was occurring, called a member of the Capitol Police to the dais, and told him to clear the room. It was later learned that the video stream of the committee stopped at this point and did not resume until the room was cleared and the committee was ready to take up the final bill on the agenda without any opportunity for public comment.

As of Tuesday, it was not even clear that this bill would be heard. There are some Democrats in the House that are not comfortable with this even after the amendments. But the Governor wants to go 8 for 8 on his gun control bills and it appears he has forced the House to move the bill and at the same time, put members of the Senate in the position of opposing the Governor, or rejecting the pleas of their constituents on this issue. There are at least four members of the State Senate who are on record as not supporting this policy. The bill has to clear the House by the time the House adjourns on Tuesday as each side can only take up legislation that originated in the other house beginning on Wednesday.

Other bills passed in House Public Safety were:

HB264. The bill as introduced would remove the option of completing the training required to apply for a concealed handgun permit (CHP) through online courses. As amended in committe, it removes the options of completing the training through an NRA Certified instructor and instead only allows training provided by a "state certified" trainer.

HB600 Family day homes; storage of firearms. This bill requires family day homes (in-home childcare etc) to have firearms unloaded and ammunition locked up separately when in operation.

HB1288 Firearms; purchase, possession, etc., following two or more misdemeanor convictions.

HB1499 Virginia Gun Violence Intervention and Prevention Fund; created. (The Senate version of this bill was amended to remove the reference to guns)

In other legislative news for Friday:

SB71 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. Passed the Senate 21-18

SB14 Trigger activators; prohibition; penalty. This bill was engrossed and passed to third reading (final passage). This bill was amended in committee to mirror the federal bump stop regulation.

SB 67 Firearms; reporting those lost or stolen, civil penalty. This bill requires that an individual report a lost or stolen firearm within 24 hours of knowing such has occurred or face a civil penalty of $250. It was read for the first time and passed to second reading.

SB543 Firearms shows; mandatory background check. This bill makes the background check on private sales at guns shows mandatory. Currently it is voluntary. Not sure why this bill is necessary since the "universal" background check passed the senate. This bill was read for the first time today and passed to second reading.

Three are no firearm related bills on Monday's docket in Senate Judiciary.

Marathon Evening Judiciary Meeting Advances Two Additional Gun Control Bills in Senate, House Public Safety Will Meet Friday

Thu, 02/06/2020 - 11:36
Wednesday's meeting of Senate Judiciary began at approximately 4:30 PM and ran until 9:00 PM with the two gun related bills on the docket coming at the end of the agenda.  This wasn't to try and out last pro-rights supporters but simply because they had to take up bills with a fiscal impact for referral to Finance ahead of next week's crossover.  The two bills that advanced are:

S.B. 67 Reporting lost or stolen firearms; civil penalty. Requires that, if a firearm is lost or stolen from a person who lawfully possessed it, such person shall 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. Violation is a civil penalty of $250.  This bill basically further victimizes the victim of a theft.  The bill reported 7-6 with Democrat Senator Chap Petersen voting no on the bill.  Please contact Senator Petersen and thank him for his vote.

S.B. 543 Firearms shows; mandatory background check. This bill makes the voluntary background check for private sales at gun shows mandatory.  With the passage of SB70, not sure why this bill is necessary but the patron said there is no guarantee  that SB70 will become law so he wanted to make sure this was made mandatory. The bill was reported 8-3

House Public Safety Committee will meet tomorrow morning at 8:00 a.m., House Committee Room (Pocahontas Buliding). While the agenda has not been posted yet, we do know that the bills heard in subcommittee on Tuesday will be on the agenda.  One of those is HB264.  The bill as introduced would remove the option of completing the training required to apply for a concealed handgun permit (CHP) through online courses.  As amended in committee however, it removes the options of completing the training through an NRA Certified instructor and instead only allows the following:
  • completing any hunter education or hunter safety course approved by the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries or a similar agency of another state;
  • completing any firearms safety or training course or class available to the general public offered by a law-enforcement agency, institution of higher education, or private or public institution or organization or firearms training school utilizing instructors certified by the Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS); 
  • completing any law-enforcement firearms safety or training course or class offered for security guards, investigators, special deputies, or any division or subdivision of law enforcement or security enforcement,   
  • presenting evidence of equivalent experience with a firearm through participation in organized shooting competition or current military service or proof of an honorable discharge from any branch of the armed services,  
  • completing any in-person firearms training or safety course or class conducted by a state-certified instructor, 
  • completing any governmental police agency firearms training course and qualifying to carry 48 a firearm in the course of normal police duties; or
  • completing any other firearms training that the court deems adequate
Please contact members of the committee and urge them to oppose this bill.  Please be sure to point out that as amended, this bill would severely hamper the ability of individuals in rural areas to obtain training as well as require shooting ranges that teach firearms training to totally re-certify their staff by gaining state certification through the DCJS.

Other bills that we know are going to be on the agenda tomorrow are:

HB600   Family day homes; storage of firearms. This bill requires family day homes (in-home childcare etc) to have firearms unloaded and ammunition locked up separately when in operation.

HB1288 Firearms; purchase, possession, etc., following two or more misdemeanor convictions.

HB1499 Virginia Gun Violence Intervention and Prevention Fund; created.Reported 8-0 (The Senate version of this bill was amended to remove the reference to guns)

VSSA lobbyist Rich Savage also said to expect HB961 to be on the agenda.  HB961 is Governor Northam's bill to ban modern sporting rifles like AR-15s but would also ban many commonly owned handguns simply because they are capable of holding a magazine that holds more than 10 rounds.  To keep firearms already owned you would have to register them.  There would be no provision however to keep magazines and suppressors that would be banned by the bill.  Please contact members of the committee and urge them to oppose the bill.  If you can attend the meeting, please do so.  You will need to arrive early to insure you can get into the committee room.  The Pocahontas building opens at 6:00 AM.

Finally, bills on third reading in the Senate today are:

SB 64 Paramilitary activities; penalty.
SB 71 Firearms; possession on school property.
SB 684 Firearms; appellant to seek restoration of rights, etc.

Friday's Gun Control Bills Should be on 1st Reading in House

Tue, 01/28/2020 - 10:32
There were nine bills scheduled to be on the agenda for the House Public Safety Firearms Subcommittee this morning but the meeting was cancelled.  However, the gun control bills that were reported out of committee on Friday will be on 1st reading in the House with final passaged expected on Thursday.  Those bills are:House Bill 2  - "Universal" Background Checks would criminalize private transfers of firearms without first paying fees, with limited exceptions. Most transfers between friends, neighbors, or fellow hunters are not exempted. These proposals would have no impact on crime and are completely unenforceable.  This bill is different than what passed earlier in the Senate.House Bill 9 Requires the reporting of lost or stolen firearms within 24 hours of gaining the knowledge that this has occurs.  This bill victimizes gun owners who suffer loss or theft of their property with a fine if they don’t report a lost or stolen firearm within 24 hours of discovering them missing.House Bill 421 Rolling back pre-emption.  This bill allows local governments to enact their own gun control ordinances, potentially resulting in a patchwork of laws and the Second Amendment not being protected across the state.  It goes much further than the bill that passed the Senate earlier.House Bill 1083 Minors access to firearms.  This bill severely restricts parental decisions about firearms in the home while attaching excessive penalties for violations.House Bill 674 ""Red Flag" bill.  This bill allows the seizure of an individual’s firearms on baseless accusations without a hearing or other opportunity for the person to be heard in court. It permits the government to seize firearms based on weak evidence and nebulous standards of evidence.  While the Senate bill that passed last week is bad (HB240) is bad  this bill is much worse.

House Bill 812 Handgun rationing (one gun-a-month) arbitrarily rations an individual’s right to lawfully purchase a handgun to once within 30 days.  This bill is different than what passed the Senate as HB812 does not include an exemption for people with a concealed handgun permit.

Please continue to call and email your delegate and urge them to opposed these bills. 

On the Senate Calendar on Final passage today is SB 479 Protective orders; possession of firearms, surrender or transfer of firearms, penalty.  This bill takes away the right to possess a firearm if an individual is subject to a permanent protective order that does not deal with family abuse.

There is one good bill on final vote today in the State Senate - SB 173Prohibition on possession of stun weapon on school property; exemption for holder of concealed handgun permit. Allows the holder of a valid concealed handgun permit to possess a stun weapon on school property while in a motor vehicle in a parking lot, traffic circle, or other means of vehicular ingress or egress to the school.  This bill reported out of committee unanimously last Wednesday.  Please contact you Senator and urge them to support this bill.

Also, please continue to contact your delegate and urge them to oppose HB961 - the Governor's bill to ban the future sale of modern sporting rifles and handguns that are capable of holding a magazine larger than 10 rounds.  This bill would ban most of the firearms currently sold in Virginia and would require you to register existing firearms that you own that fit the description in the bill.

Wednesday's Senate Judiciary Committee Results

Thu, 01/23/2020 - 13:42
Wednesday's final vote on SB240, the "red flag" bill, in the State Senate was almost foregone conclusion after yesteday's session where the bill was amended and engrossed to a third vote on a party line vote. Nothing really changed today. Much of the ground that was covered in debate today was a rehash of yesterday. Democrats continued to say they added many due process protections and compared what would happen in this legislation to what happens when someone goes to the magistrate to report domestic violence, and that the protections in SB240 are more extensive than what would occur in a domestic violence situation. The bill now moves to the House.  Senator Stuart made an excellent closing argument on the floor that can be found below.


Senate Judiciary had a marathon meeting that started around 4:00 PM and lasted until approximately 7:30 PM. All but one of the good bills that were listed in yesterday's update were defeated. The Northam Administration stated their goal is not punishment but instead preventing acts before they occur. Translated, restricting the rights of law abiding gun owners is viewed as crime prevention instead of locking up violent criminals.

One bill of great importance was SB353, patroned by Senator John Bell (D- Loudoun). As drafted, the bill was targeting all outdoor shooting ranges. VSSA's lobbyist met with the Senator and was told it was a drafting error. When it was finally Senator Bell's turn, a substitute bill was distributed. It was significantly amended and became very clear that the target was not ranges like VSSA's 26 affiliated ranges, or other membership based ranges, but was targeting what the patron called "make shift" ranges on private property. As the patron continued he referenced what he said was the failure of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors to deal with several instances that occurred over the past couple of years in Loudoun County. Several members of the committee, including Democrat Chap Peterson, questioned whether this was something better suited for local zoning boards to handle rather than the General Assembly. After about 30 minutes, the Committee decided to pass the bill by for the day.

One interesting note, at least one Democrat member of the committee, Senator Chap Peterson is apparently growing weary of the number of firearm related bills that have been heard by the committee. At one point he asked "Why does everything have to be about guns?"

A summary of the bills and the action taken is below.

SB75 Allowing access to firearms by minors; penalty. Stricken at the request of patron (14-Y 0-N)

SB76 Protective orders; possession of firearms; penalty Stricken at the request of the patron (14-0)

SB614 Prohibition on carrying of certain firearms in public places; County of Albemarle and City of Charlottesville; penalty. Stricken at request of the patron.

SB781 Leaving an unattended handgun in public; penalty - Stricken at the request of the patron.

SB18 Firearms; criminal history record information checks; age requirement; penalty. Provides that a person must be at least 21 years old, or must be at least 18 years old by the effective date of the bill, to purchase a firearm in addition to "universal" background check. - Stricken at request of the patron

SB13 Possessing or transporting a weapon within Capitol Square; penalty. Again, members on both sides were not ready to move forward with the bill as drafted so it was passed by for the day.

SB15 Carrying weapon into building owned or leased by the Commonwealth; penalty This bill was debated, it was passed by for the day due to numerous questions that legislators on both sides had. When Senator Edwards asked the patron if they could take it by for the day Senator Peterson was heard to say "how 'bout for the year".

SB207 Purchase of service handguns or other weapons by retired sworn law-enforcement officers - Reported unanimously

SB476 Risk management plan; coverage for injury or death on public school or college property; concealed handgun prohibition. - Rereferred to General Laws and Technology

SB477 Risk management plan; coverage for injury or death on state property; concealed handgun prohibition. - Rereferred to General Laws and Technology

SB372 Protective orders; possession of firearms; surrender or transfer of firearms; penalty. Incorporated into SB479 (13-Y 1-N)

SB479 Protective orders; possession of firearms; surrender or transfer of firearms; penalty. Reported (10-4) (Senator Norment joined the majority Democrats)

SB509 Local hunting and firearm regulation. Reported from Judiciary 12-0 and rereferred to Senate Agriculture

SB593 Licensed family day homes; storage of firearms - Reported 12-3 and rereffered to Rehabilitation and Social Services

SB82 Violation of protective order; armed with firearm or other deadly weapon; mandatory minimum sentence; penalty. Passed by indefinitely (8-Y 6-N 1-A)

SB83 Brandishing a firearm; law-enforcement officer; penalty. Passed by indefinitely (7-Y 6-N 1-A)

SB84 Concealment of firearm in committing felony; penalty. 01/22/20 Senate: Passed by Indefinately (9-Y 5-N)

SB85 Stolen firearms; penalties. Passed by indefinitely (9-Y 5-N)

SB86 Use or display of firearm in committing felony; penalty. Passed by indefinitely (9-Y 6-N)

SB88 Discharging firearm; penalty. Passed by indefinitely (9-Y 6-N)

SB89 Violation of protective order while armed with firearm or other deadly weapon; mandatory minimum sentence; penalty. Passed by indefinitely (9-Y 6-N)

SB173 Prohibition on possession of stun weapon on school property; exemption for holder of concealed handgun permit. Reported with amendments (13-Y 0-N)

SB248 Virginia Gun Violence Intervention and Prevention Fund. Reported substitute (9-Y 4-N) Rereferred to Finance and Appropriations (Substitute removes all references to guns

SB263 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. Reported Judiciary (7-Y 6-N) Democrat Creigh Deeds joined GOP members in opposing the bill

SB319 Security of public property. Passed by indefinitely (9-Y 6-N)

SB353 Outdoor shooting ranges; prohibited adjacent to residential areas; exceptions; civil penalty. This bill was discussed extensively, a substitute was offered that made it clear the bill is not aimed at ranges like the 26 VSSA affiliated ranges but instead at private individuals who have built ranges on their private property. In the end the bill was passed by for the day as committee members believed it still needed more work. Senator Chap Peterson especially seemed to think this was a local matter and not one for the General Assembly.

HB581 Allowing access to firearms by minors; penalty. There was debate on the bill. Senator Chap Peterson was not comfortable with the language nor with the raising of the penalty from a misdemeanor to a Class 6 Felony so the bill went by for the day.

SB928 Possession, purchase, and transport of certain firearms in certain localities. Provides that a person may lawfully possess, purchase, or transport a firearm or firearms magazine that he would otherwise be lawfully permitted to possess, purchase, or transport on January 1, 2020, while he is in a locality that has adopted an ordinance, resolution, or motion that authorizes the possession, purchase, or transportation of such firearm or firearms magazine within such locality. Passed by indefinitely (9-Y 5-N)

SB490 Purchase, possession, or transportation of firearms following conviction for assault and battery of a family or household member; The bill provides for a process by which a person convicted of such crime may petition the circuit court for a reinstatement of his right to possess or transport a firearm and the factors a court shall consider in determining such reinstatement. There was much debate on this bill. The committee heard from the public and then passed the bill by for the day, mainly because it was getting late and there is more work that needs to be done with the bill.

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