Today, the Senate Judiciary Committee unsurprisingly rejected all of the pro-gun bills that the House sent over, by voting to pass them by indefinitely. These bills would have rolled back some of the anti-gun infringements passed during the last two years. This committee also previously rejected all pro-gun senate bills before it.
House Bill 204 would have repealed the five business day delay for firearm transfers and restored the three day delay that was previously in place. The three day delay for state police to complete a background check was already considered appropriate for the technology level of the time when Virginia created its computerized background system decades ago. It is also what federal law considers appropriate in other states that use the federal NICS background check system.
House Bill 325 would have repealed the law that victimizes gun owners who suffer loss or theft of their property, with a fine if they do not report lost or stolen firearms within 48 hours of discovering them missing.
House Bill 509 would have restored due process protections in Virginia by repealing the so-called “red flag” scheme that 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.
A person subject to the suspension of a Constitutional right should be entitled to high evidentiary standards, an opportunity to be heard, and the right to face his or her accusers. Civil liberties advocates from across the political spectrum have expressed concerns about these schemes and how the procedure may lead to abuses, due to insufficient due process protections.
House Bill 827 would have prevented localities from passing their own restrictions on lawful carry. Ever since the General Assembly allowed them to do so, anti-gun jurisdictions have created a confusing patchwork of carry restrictions that are difficult to know and obey and result in arbitrary boundaries that disarm law-abiding citizens without doing anything to keep armed criminals out.
It also would have prohibited localities from filing lawsuits against the firearm industry for lawful activities. It would not have prohibited lawsuits for breach of contract or negligence from firearms or ammunition purchased by localities.
In addition, it would have required localities to sell any firearms they receive in so-called “gun buyback” events to licensed dealers rather than destroy them. This would have ensured that firearms obtained by, or with the assistance of, taxpayer-funded resources were made available to law-abiding citizens in sales that recover funds for the localities.
Once again, this highlights the importance of gun owners staying vigilant and remembering these actions in the 2023 elections, when the whole state Senate is up for re-election. Please stay tuned to www.nraila.org and your email inbox for further updates.