RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC)- The Senate Judiciary Committee advanced nine gun control bills on Monday.
Next, the bills will go to the Senate floor for a vote. Many of the House bills have been amended to mirror proposals already passed by the full Senate to pave a simpler path to the Governor Ralph Northam’s desk.
The bill originally called for “universal background checks” but the legislation has since been diluted. The version that cleared the committee on Monday disappointed some gun control advocates because it only applies to commercial sales, not the transfer of firearms. The Senate’s version of the bill also only pertains to sales.
This bill requires a lost or stolen firearm to be reported to law enforcement within 24 hours of the discovery. Those who don’t comply would face a fine, not prison.
This bill removes the option for people to take an online course to obtain a concealed handgun permit. Both the House and Senate versions require in-person training.
This bill gives local governments the ability to adopt or enforce stricter rules on the possession and/or transport of firearms with the passage of an ordinance. It allows governments to restrict gun rights at permitted events, in public parks and in government buildings. The House and Senate bills are in alignment after earlier versions were amended to be more specific about where ordinances could apply to.
Commonly referred to as a “red flag law,” the bill would allow for the temporary confiscation of firearms from people deemed to be a threat to themselves or others. The House and Senate bills are in alignment after lawmakers made small changes to the process of obtaining a search warrant if a firearm isn’t voluntarily surrendered. In the current versions, a Commonwealth’s Attorney doesn’t have to be consulted and a judge doesn’t have to consider “reasonable alternatives” to the seizure of a firearm. The bill is praised by gun control advocates as suicide prevention legislation but Republicans counter that it doesn’t do anything to connect people to mental health services.
This bill limits handgun purchases to one a month. The House bill was conformed to the Senate version that previously included an exception for those with concealed-carry permits. It’s unclear if the bill will reach the governor’s desk with that provision.
The bill prohibits any person subject to a permanent protective order (i.e., a protective order with a maximum duration of two years) from knowingly possessing a firearm while the order is in effect.
This bill bans school boards from authorizing staff to possess firearms on school grounds besides those specifically allowed under state law. This comes after Lee County Schools attempted to arm teachers as a “more cost-effective” alternative to hiring school resource officers for every building.
The bill increases the maximum penalty for “recklessly” leaving a loaded, unsecured firearm in a manner that could endanger a minor.
This bill was the only gun control bill considered Monday, that the Senate Judiciary Committee killed for the year. The bill was outside Gov. Northam’s original legislative package. It would’ve expanded crimes that could result in the loss of firearm rights at the state level to include stalking, sexual battery, domestic assault and hate crimes.
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