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
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
May I see?