VA Dems Reach Agreement On Background Checks, Gun Rationing

The legislative session in Virginia is almost over, and Democrats in the House and Senate have reached an agreement on several gun control measures that passed out of their respective chambers in different forms, ensuring that Gov. Ralph Northam will be able to sign most of his anti-gun agenda into law in coming days.

WTOP radio in Washington, D.C. reports that deals have been struck on universal background check bills as well as the return of “one-gun-a-month” firearms rationing.

Expanded, “universal” background checks will only apply to gun sales, not other gun transfers, under the final language of bills agreed to by the House and Senate.

Under a separate agreement, the return of Virginia’s one handgun per month purchase limit will include an exception for concealed carry permit holders.

In both of those cases, the final language of the bills looks to be closer to the language passed by the state Senate, and not the more draconian versions approved by the House of Delegates.

There are some oddities with the background check bill that will be sent to Northam for his approval. Under the language, if I were to sell a firearm to a relative, it would be a crime not to conduct a background check before transferring the firearm. If I’m just gifting the gun, on the other hand, no background check would be required. The law will be largely unenforceable, but I expect that anti-gun lawmakers will be back next year to “tweak” the measure and add in requirements for background checks on all transfers as well.

The one-gun-a-month language represents a return to the old days in Virginia. From the mid-1990s to 2012, the state had the same law in place, along with the exemption for concealed carry licensees. I suspect that the new one-gun-a-month law will spur some Virginians to obtain their concealed carry license in order to bypass the gun rationing scheme.

The Virginia Shooting Sports Association reports that two other gun control bills passed out of conference committee on Thursday as well.

SB 263 Concealed handgun permits; demonstration of competence, effective date. The House had amended this bill to remove all references to NRA Certified Training as an acceptable demonstration of competence in addition to removing the option for online training. The House had already accepted the Senates changes to the companion bill which had added NRA Certified Training back to the bill and only removed the online training option. The Conference Committee recommended the original Senate bill. This means that both version now include NRA Certified Training as an option for demonstrating competence. The House approved the conference report yesterday. The Senate has not voted.

SB 64 Paramilitary activities; penalty. Provides that a person is guilty of unlawful paramilitary activity if such person brandishes a firearm or any air or gas operated weapon or any object similar in appearance while assembled with one or more persons with the intent of intimidating any person or group of persons with any firearm, any explosive or incendiary device, or any components or combination thereof. Such unlawful paramilitary activity is punishable as a Class 5 felony. House substitute agreed to by Senate (21-Y 19-N).

 

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