New Virginia Gun Laws Taking Effect July 1st, 2012

Once again, the Virginia Citizens Defense League has delivered for Virginia gun owners.  Thanks to the tireless efforts of VCDL activists, the 2012 Legislative Session was even more of a rousing success than the 2011 Session.  Not only was every single anti-gun bill opposed by VCDL defeated but the session ended with almost a dozen VCDL supported bills passed by the Legislature and signed by Governor McDonnell.

These important changes will take effect on July 1st …

Better Protection For Gun Owners During Declared Emergencies

I have written before about the dangers of emergency declarations stripping citizens of their right to keep and bear arms.  Virginia code § 44-146.15 governs the constitutional limitations placed upon such declarations in Virginia and HB 20, sponsored by Delegate Wilt, improved this code section to provide that:

Nothing in this chapter is to be construed to:

(3) Empower the Governor, any political subdivision, or any other governmental authority to in any way limit or prohibit the rights of the people to keep and bear arms as guaranteed by Article I, Section 13 of the Constitution of Virginia or the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States, including the otherwise lawful possession, carrying, transportation, sale, or transfer of firearms except to the extent necessary to ensure public safety in any place or facility designated or used by the Governor, any political subdivision of the Commonwealth, or any other governmental entity as an emergency shelter or for the purpose of sheltering persons;

The senate version of this bill, sponsored by Senator Obenshain, was SB 245.

Note that this change still allows gun owners to be disarmed in emergency shelters.  That will need to be addressed in future legislative sessions.

We Don’t Need No Stinking Gun Buybacks

HB 22, sponsored by Delegate Cole, prevents localities from participating in so-called “gun buybacks” unless they have first passed an express ordinance authorizing the participation.  And in the event that they do hold such an event, the firearms thus collected must be offered for sale to the public or a licensed dealer.

Forgot Your Permit Today?  No Problem

HB 26, sponsored by Delegate Cole, provides that failure to have your permit and a photo-id on your person while exercising the privilege of carrying a concealed firearm only results in a $25 civil penalty and the fact that you had a concealed handgun permit at the time of an infraction but simply forgot to have it with you is an affirmative defense to a charge of carrying a concealed handgun.

Localities Can’t Control Guns in Employee’s Automobiles

HB 375, sponsored by Delegate Pogge, provides that localities may not adopt or enforce any workplace rules that abrogates the employee’s right to have a lawfully-possessed firearm in a locked personal vehicle.

Note that this bill specifically exempts state agencies.  One of the most important issues we need to address in future sessions is extending complete preemption to state agencies.

No More Fingerprinting

Although most jurisdictions have long since eliminated fingerprinting for concealed handgun permit applicants, state law still allowed jurisdictions the option when issuing first-time permits.  HB 754, sponsored by Delegate Cline, removes this option.

The Senate version of this bill is SB 67 which was sponsored by Senator Stanley.

Some Much-Needed Housekeeping

SB 563, sponsored by Senator Ruff, makes some much-needed clarifications to the application process.  Many jurisdictions had added extra-legal requirements and were requesting information beyond that which is requested on the application form developed by the VA State Police.  Senator Ruff’s bill makes it clear that …

No information or documentation other than that which is allowed on the application in accordance with this subsection may be requested or required by the clerk or the court.

The bill also made it clear that, once approved, the permit could be issued via postal mail as opposed to requiring the applicant to appear and pick it up in person.  This too had become an issue in several jurisdictions.

Oh … You Want ID to Vote?

SB 663, sponsored by Senator Smith, makes it clear that a concealed handgun permit is a valid form of ID when voting.

Say Goodbye And Good Riddance to “One-Gun-a-Month”

I saved the best for last.  The most publicized victory of the year was, without a doubt, the elimination of Virginia’s “One-Gun-a-Month” law.  Passed under Governor Wilder, “One-Gun-a-Month” was heralded by anti-gunners as a model piece of gun-control legislation.  It has long been an embarrassment to Virginia gun rights advocates that one of the most pro-gun states in the union had such a disastrous piece of legislation.

VCDL has been working for years to eliminate “One-Gun-a-Month” and has been successful in adding exceptions for permit holders and trade-ins in previous sessions.  But these exceptions are no longer needed after July 1 thanks to House bill HB  940 sponsored by Delegate Lingamfelter and Senate bill SB 323 sponsored by Senator Carico.

What’s Next?

Now we begin looking to the 2013 Legislative Session.  How can you get involved?

1)  Join VCDL.

2) Send a “Thank You!” email or letter to each and every one of the patrons of the bills listed above as well as Governor McDonnell.

3)  Plan on coming to the VCDL 2013 Lobby Day at the Virginia General Assembly.

PS.  Don’t forget that none of these changes take effect until July 1, 2012!

© 2012, John Pierce. All rights reserved.


About John Pierce

Monachus Lex is written by Virginia attorney John Pierce. John is a life-long gun rights advocate, an NRA certified instructor and co-founder of the nationwide gun rights group OpenCarry.org.

He has an undergraduate degree in Computer Information Systems, an MBA from George Mason University and is a 2012 Honors Graduate of Hamline University School of Law in St. Paul, MN.

Professionally, John is a member of the American Bar Association Second Amendment Civil Rights Litigation Subcommittee and his writings have been published by the ABA Civil Rights Litigation Committee and the ABA Minority Trial Lawyer Committee.

In addition, his open carry advocacy has been featured on Nightline and The Daily Show With Jon Stewart.
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7 Responses to New Virginia Gun Laws Taking Effect July 1st, 2012

  1. Pingback: New Virginia Gun Laws Take Effect July 1st, 2011 | Monachus Lex

  2. Grapeshot says:

    The march forward is constant and relentless. The holy grail, Constitutional Carry, is within sight!

    Virginia is the home of patriots and VCDL, but I do repeat myself.

  3. Shawn Dyer says:

    Please come help us in illinois, where only the criminls are allowed to carry concealed. Our state and the State of Chicago have lost their minds in not allowing us to protect ourselves. Any and all help would be appreciated.

    • John Pierce says:

      I think Illinois is slowly moving toward some form of concealed carry. It seems to be a race between the judiciary and the legislature as to who will give it to you first.

      Once that happens, then it is only a matter of organizing and getting incremental improvements every year. I know the good people of Illinois can do it!

  4. Clinton Guajardo says:

    I have an uncle that believes that if you own a Concealed Weapons Permit that you MUST carry concealed and that you forfeit your right to Open-Carry. I don’t know where he heard this information but it sounds rather silly to me. Can you send me a message back telling me how silly this idea is so that he can read it? He will not believe me.

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