Index to prior gun-law updates


Preliminary Information for 2005

This fine summary of the vigorous Virginia-2005 legislative session comes from Philip Van Cleave, a key activist behind the Virginia Citizens Defense League. They are responsible in large measure for all the bills enacted and defeated in the state. The power of e-mail has contributed to their being a force in Virginia, that and a lot of dedicated volunteers using shoeleather. Join them.

A page-by-page analysis for the current edition (Ed. 5) will be posted soon.

To: Alan Korwin <>
From: Philip Van Cleave <>
Subject: Re: Virginia changes

Here is what I sent out a few weeks ago on VA-ALERT:

HB 2535, carried for VCDL by Delegate Riley E. Ingram, who represents the Hopewell area: This bill allows a person with a concealed handgun permit to have a concealed, loaded, handgun in the vehicle in a school parking lot, traffic circle, etc. It also clarifies that firearms cannot be banned from property where a school function is being held UNLESS the property is being used EXCLUSIVELY for that school function.

Details: There are two key concepts in this bill. First, the handgun can be loaded but it MUST be CONCEALED and remain concealed in the vehicle while on school property and you must have a CHP. If you are going to get out of the vehicle, the gun MUST be left in the car CONCEALED. Once you are on school property you cannot put the gun in the trunk, because as soon as you step out of the car with the gun you would be in violation of the law (a FELONY). If you plan on getting out of the car, you might consider concealing the handgun before you arrive at the school by putting the handgun in the glove box, console, under the seat, etc. Remember these two things and you should be OK: the handgun is CONCEALED at all times and the handgun NEVER leaves the vehicle with you.

Second, if you are at a public location and a school function arrives (like a school bus stopping at McDonald's), you can have a firearm in your possession as long as the public location is not being used EXCLUSIVELY for a school function. Under current law you are in violation of the law as soon as those kids and their teacher walk into your location. This new change applies to all gun owners, with or without a CHP.
HB 1915, carried for VCDL by Delegate Mark L. Cole, who represents the Spotsylvania/Fredericksburg area: Current wording of 18.2-287.4 seems to imply that you cannot carry a loaded firearm where the population is over 160,000. Only at the end does it happen to describe the firearms actually prohibited as those commonly viewed as "assault weapons," e.g., have magazines that can hold over 20 rounds, has a folding stock or designed to accommodate a suppressor, etc.. Because of the confusing ordering of paragraphs, several citizens have been falsely arrested or harassed for carrying typical self-defense handguns. Police, judges, magistrates, city attorneys have misread the current version of this law!

While VCDL has always opposed the restrictions in current law, HB 1915 not only clarifies it to preclude future harassment and/or false arrest of citizens, but now also exempts concealed handgun permit holders from it entirely! Shooting ranges are also exempted.

Details: If you do NOT have a CHP, then if you are in a public area in a city with a population exceeding 160,000 (like Richmond, Virginia Beach, etc.) or a county having an urban county executive form of government (like Fairfax) or in a city or county that is surrounded by or adjacent to such a county (like Falls Church), you CANNOT possess:

1. A LOADED semi-automatic CENTER-FIRE rifle or pistol that has a magazine in it that will hold MORE than 20 rounds at the time of the offense or 2. A LOADED semi-automatic CENTER-FIRE rifle or pistol that was designed by the manufacturer to accommodate a silencer (suppressor, more correctly) or 3. A LOADED semi-automatic CENTER-FIRE rifle or pistol that has a folding stock or 4. A LOADED shotgun with a magazine that will hold more than 7 rounds of the longest ammunition for which it is chambered

NOTE: Items 1 and 4 do not require you have the maximum number of bullets in the magazine. The magazine, as long as it is in the gun, can be empty and you could still be charged. Item 2 does not require that the suppressor be on the gun for there to be a violation. CHP holders - don't worry about any of it ;-)
HB 1917, Delegate Mark L. Cole: This bill says that just because you are in an area where you COULD be hunting on a Sunday and possess a weapon, you shall NOT be presumed to be hunting. YES! Delegate Cole has a firm grip on that 'freedom' thing. It should ALWAYS be up to the state to PROVE that you have violated the law - in this case by actually hunting. Sure, the police might have to work harder, but that is their job. I want my freedom and presumed innocence protected.
HB 2282, Delegate William R. Janis, who represents part of Henrico and surrounding areas: This bill increases protection of new shooting ranges by stating that the noise standards for the locality that were in place at the time the application for the range was submitted shall apply to that range from the application time forward.
HB 2928, Delegate Thomas C. Wright, Jr., who represents the area around Victoria: This bill requires that before an individual is denied a CHP by a statement from a Sheriff, chief of police, or Commonwealth attorney or other 'competent person', there MUST be a specific act or acts upon which the denial is based. The Court must also base the denial upon a preponderance of such evidence.
Under current law, you can be denied simply based on a statement someone makes without having to have any evidence that the statement is even correct!
HB 2931, Delegate Robert F. McDonnell, who represents the Virginia Beach area: This bill reduces the amount of information that a gun purchaser has to provide on the state firearms purchase form. Currently the form requires all the same information as the federal form and has an extra question to boot.
HB 1671, Delegate R. Steven Landes, who represents the area around Weyers Cave: This bill repeals one of two parts of the law that bans carrying a loaded firearm in a parked vehicle or if walking down the road if you don't have permission to hunt on both sides of the road. CAUTION - the other part of this law (15.2-1209.1) has not been changed! 15.2-1209.1 allows a county to implement such a ban, but exempts guns in moving vehicles or carried on a person acting at the time in defense of person or property. We now need to get rid of 15.2-1209.1.
The other bills don't directly effect most of you:

HB 2683, Delegate Lingamfelter, makes it easier for gun shows to report show information to the state police.

HB 2577, Delegate Jackie T. Stump, allows a person who has their rights restored by federal law to possess, transport, or carry explosive materials to do so under VA law.

HB 2060, Delegate Thomas Davis Rust, clears up an oversight that did not allow police to be exempt from Virginia's stupid one-gun-a-month law. Currently just CHP holders are exempt. Usually it is citizens who are left out in the cold...

SB 1149, Senator Kenneth W. Stolle, changes hunting under the influence of alcohol to hunting while impaired and raises the penalty from a class 2 to a class 1 misdemeanor. This bill was our baby-step back.


At 12:24 PM -0700 5/12/05, Alan Korwin wrote:
Phil -- Have you already produced a summary of the legislative changes this year?
May I see?


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