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Double-Standard: Virginia Eliminates Online Carry Courses While Promoting Distancing for Everything Else

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Double-Standard: Virginia Eliminates Online Carry Courses While Promoting Distancing for Everything Else

Virginia has provided a stark example of how gun control is aimed at harassing law-abiding gun owners rather than improving public safety.

As part of Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam and the General Assembly’s sweeping attack on gun rights in 2020, anti-gun lawmakers enacted legislation that made it more difficult for gun owners to obtain the required training for a Right-to-Carry permit.

Prior to January 1, applicants had been able to prove their competence with a handgun by providing proof of “Completing any firearms training or safety course or class, including an electronic, video, or online course, conducted by a state-certified or National Rifle Association-certified firearms instructor.” HB 264, signed into law by Gov. Northam on March 23, removed the electronic, video or online course options and required a qualifying firearm training or safety course to take place in-person.

Such legislation is always aimed at inconveniencing gun owners rather than improving public safety. In his book More Guns, Less Crime, Economist John Lott noted that “the presence or length of the training periods typically show no effect on crime…” and “there is no doubt that longer training requirements discourage some people from getting permits.”

However, this legislation is particularly galling given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the government’s response to it. Just as the state government is encouraging Virginians to social distance, including distance learning, it has cut off a vital distance learning tool for gun owners. The problem has been exacerbated by Northam’s onerous COVID-19 restrictions on indoor shooting ranges.

Northam signed HB 264 11 days after declaring a state of emergency in response to COVID-19. At the that same time, Northam took measures to protect the state’s workforce by banning state employee travel. Further, the governor directed the state Secretary of Administration “to implement a phased transition to teleworking for state employees” and directed state agencies “to limit in-person meetings and non-essential, work-related gatherings.”

According to Northam, the work of the state government is capable of being done remotely, but remote learning for firearms owners is unacceptable.

Virginia’s premiere state educational institutions were quick to shift to distance learning at the outset of the pandemic. For instance, on March 11 the University of Virginia announced that it would be moving all courses online – 12 days before Northam’s attack on gun owner online learning. The state appears to be so comfortable with the adequacy of distance learning that it has determined it should not stand in the way of someone securing a terminal degree from the second oldest college in America. On March 30, the College of William & Mary announced that it would require all PhD dissertations to be defended remotely.

Despite the protestations of many parents, distance learning has been deemed adequate for the children of Virginia’s largest county. As of January 15, 2021, the Fairfax County Public Schools website stated, “Students will receive virtual instruction 5 days per week. The week will include 4 days of live, face-to-face online instruction with teachers Tuesday through Friday.” Fairfax County plans to keep the virtual model in place at least until February 2.

In order to promote distancing in response to COVID-19, the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles has even waived certain training requirements for Class B commercial driver’s licenses.

To their credit, the Virginia Senate attempted to temporarily resolve the online carry injustice in August. The Senate unanimously passed SB 5041, which would have delayed the in-person training requirement until July 1, 2021. The House of Delegates failed to pass the measure. 

Gun owners across the country should take note of the flagrant double-standard at work in Virginia. The state’s eager embrace of distanced work and learning for all but firearms training reveals that HB 264 was never about the inadequacy of remote firearms education, but rather just a convenient means to attack gun owners.

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Virginia handgun carry permit
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Washington: Second Amendment Banned in First Amendment Spaces After the Signing of Anti-Gun Measure

Friday, May 14, 2021

Washington: Second Amendment Banned in First Amendment Spaces After the Signing of Anti-Gun Measure

On Wednesday, despite the thousands of calls, emails, and other communication from NRA Members and Second Amendment supporters, Senate Bill 5038 advanced out of the legislature and was signed into law

ATF Proposed Rule a Blatant Attack on American Gun Industry

News  

Saturday, May 8, 2021

ATF Proposed Rule a Blatant Attack on American Gun Industry

Two weeks ago we reported on a leaked document that appeared to be a new ATF proposed rule to amend several key definitions in federal firearm regulations

Illinois: Gun Seizure Bill Resurrected, Passes House

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Illinois: Gun Seizure Bill Resurrected, Passes House

Yesterday, House Bill 1092, to expand Illinois’ program of suspending Second Amendment rights without due process, was resurrected after it previously had been re-referred to the House Rules Committee.

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

Gun Laws  

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

CAUTION: Federal and state firearms laws are subject to frequent change. This summary is not to be considered as legal advice or a restatement of law.

Texas: Constitutional Carry Bill Heading to Conference Committee

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Texas: Constitutional Carry Bill Heading to Conference Committee

The Texas House has sent House Bill 1927, constitutional carry legislation sponsored by Rep. Matt Schaefer (R-Tyler), to a conference committee to work out the differences between the House- and Senate-passed versions of the bill.

Nevada: Gun Ban Bill Passes Committee, Headed to the Senate Floor

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Nevada: Gun Ban Bill Passes Committee, Headed to the Senate Floor

Yesterday, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed Assembly Bill 286 with an amendment, to end the centuries old practice of making firearms for personal use.

Texas: Pro-Second Amendment Senate Conferees Appointed on HB 1927; House Passes SB 19, Prohibiting Corporate Discrimination Against the Firearms Industry

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Texas: Pro-Second Amendment Senate Conferees Appointed on HB 1927; House Passes SB 19, Prohibiting Corporate Discrimination Against the Firearms Industry

Earlier today, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick appointed five pro-Second Amendment Senate conferees on House Bill 1927, constitutional carry legislation that has now passed both chambers and has been sent to a conference committee to work out ...

South Carolina: General Assembly Adjourns Sine Die

Friday, May 14, 2021

South Carolina: General Assembly Adjourns Sine Die

Yesterday, the South Carolina General Assembly adjourned sine die from its 2021 legislative session.

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

Gun Laws  

Monday, June 30, 2014

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

CAUTION: Federal and state firearms laws are subject to frequent change. This summary is not to be considered as legal advice or a restatement of law.

Texas: Senate Passes HB 1927

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Texas: Senate Passes HB 1927

Early this evening, after more than 6 hours of debate and discussion on more than two dozen amendments, the Texas Senate passed House Bill 1927, constitutional carry legislation, on an 18-13 vote.

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NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.