Update (2/1): Virginia Citizens Defense League President Phil Van Cleave tells GunsAmerica via email that the efforts of Virginia gun owners can likely be credited for “watering down” the red flag bill and the Senate version of the universal background check bill. He also believes the massive pro-gun rally and the sanctuary movement helped sink the “assault weapons” ban, which he believes is dead for this legislative session at least.
But he also calls the bill that gives local governments the ability to pass their own gun control “troubling” and says,”it looks as if we are going to get some bad gun-control bills signed into law and effective on July 1.”
“Bloomberg bought and paid for the Virginia Democrat Party and we’ll have to take the House away from them in 2021 to put an end to this attack on the Constitution,” he concludes.
The VCDL plans to bring lawsuits and stays on many of the bills the legislature passed this week.
The Virginia House of Delegates passed seven gun-control bills today dealing with everything from background checks to safe storage to handgun purchases.
Many of the bills have already passed the state Senate. While the House and Senate versions will have to be reconciled, passage in the House all but assures these bills will make it to Gov. Ralph Northam’s desk. He said before the session began that he would be willing to sign any gun-control measures the Assembly passes.
While the official vote tallies have yet to be posted on Virginia’s legislative tracking website, many of the bills appear to have passed along party lines. Democrats control the house 55 to 45, and many of the bills passed by an eight or nine vote margin. Notable exceptions include the bill allowing localities to adopt their own gun control laws and the “red flag” bill.
Here’s a quick rundown (h/t WAVY):
- HB2 requires a background check for all firearm transfers. The bill makes exceptions for transfers between immediate family members and those that occur within a shooting range, firearm safety course or competition. The bill removes the provision that makes background checks at gun shows voluntary. It passed 54-46.
- HB9 requires a person report a lost or stolen firearm to local law enforcement or state police within 24 hours after the discovery. It passed 55-44.
- HB 421 allows localities to adopt or enforce an ordinance governing the possession, carrying, storage or transporting of firearms. It passed 50-48.
- HB674, commonly known as a “red flag bill,” allows for the temporary confiscation of a firearm from a person who poses a “substantial risk to themselves or others.” It passed 52-46.
- HB812 limits the sale of handguns to one per month. The bill sets exemptions, including for a licensed gun dealer. It passed 53-47.
- HB1004 prohibits any person subject to a permanent protective order from possessing a firearm throughout the duration of that order. The bill gives a person 24 hours after being served to legally transfer the gun. It passed 58-42.
- HB1083 sets penalties for someone who ‘recklessly’ leaves a loaded, unsecured firearm in any manner that could endanger a minor. The bill raises the age threshold from 14 to 18.
Absent from this list is an “assault weapons” ban. Democrats threatened such a ban for weeks, and Gov. Northam wanted the legislature to take up the bill when he called a special session last year. But the bill died in a Senate committee earlier this month, and the House version was never taken up.
It’s unclear whether the herculean efforts of Virginia’s gun owners discouraged their elected representatives from pursuing the measure, but the legislation will no doubt be resurrected next legislative session.
The bills that did pass this year are bad enough. The text of HB1083, for example, does not explain how it will be enforced in hunting or self-defense situations. The Virginia Citizens Defense League re-posted a comment from writer and media strategist Gabriella Hoffman, who makes exactly this point:
The new laws are set to take effect this summer.