The Virginia General Assembly adjourned sine die from its 2021 legislative session today. As a result of strong lobbying efforts by NRA and its members, along with other Second Amendment supporters, no legislation was even filed to ban commonly-owned firearms or magazines this session, despite that having been the centerpiece of the 2020 gun ban agenda. In addition, persistent lobbying by NRA all the way through today ensured that House Bill 2276 and Senate Bill 1250 did not leave the General Assembly, and are dead for the session.
House Bill 2276 would have ended the centuries-old practice of manufacturing firearms for personal use by imposing requirements that far exceed those in federal law. It would have prohibited private individuals from possessing certain unregulated components commonly used by hobbyists to make their own firearms, as well as possessing firearms without serial numbers that are currently legal.
Senate Bill 1250 would have prohibited shooting ranges from renting firearms to customers for use on premises without first obtaining government permission with the same background check as required for a sale.
Our efforts also ensured that law-abiding gun owners got one bill passed in their favor. The General Assembly passed House Bill 2310 to allow individuals who completed online firearms training prior to January 1st, 2021, but were prohibited from appearing in person at their circuit court clerk’s office due to COVID restrictions, to apply for a concealed handgun permit through April 30th, 2021. HB 2310 passed the Senate unanimously and the House by an overwhelming bipartisan majority. It will go into effect immediately, should Gov. Northam sign it.
Unfortunately, the anti-gun majority did pass new infringements:
House Bill 2081 prohibits firearms within 40 feet of a polling place. It dictates to private property owners what they must do with their property. While many polling locations in the Commonwealth are located in schools, which are already gun-free zones by law, others are located in venues that are private property. The bill contains no exemption for lawful concealed carry by license holders, and also does not mandate that polling places have security measures to actively keep criminals away, such as metal detectors and armed security.
House Bill 2128 allows for a five business day delay to be imposed on firearm transfers. Virginia’s current law allows for a three business day delay for what is supposed to be an instant background check done by computers. This was considered appropriate to the technology level when it was created decades ago. It is also what federal law considers appropriate for firearm dealers in other states that use the federal NICS background check system.
House Bill 2295 bans firearms from Capitol Square and any building or parking facility owned or leased by the Commonwealth, with exemptions for firearms stored in parked vehicles or carried in vehicles on roads. Capitol Square remains an arbitrary boundary of an open area where law-abiding citizens are disarmed, while zero measures are taken to prevent criminals from entering.