House of Delegates passes gun safety package

virginia general assemblyThe Virginia House of Delegates on Wednesday passed House Bills 1163, 1386, and 1391, the legislative pieces of the bipartisan gun agreement reached between Gov. Terry McAuliffe and the General Assembly.

The agreement restores and expands concealed carry reciprocity, requires State Police to be available for voluntary background checks at gun shows, and prohibits individuals under permanent domestic violence protective orders from possessing a firearm under state law.

“Action in the House of Delegates today continues our bipartisan progress toward an historic accord that will increase public safety in our Commonwealth and save lives.” McAuliffe said in a statement. “We can all be proud of this significant achievement that will broaden access to background checks at gun shows and protect Virginia families from gun violence at the hands of domestic abusers. I look forward to signing these important measures into law.”

“This bipartisan agreement on guns is positive news for Virginia,” said House Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford). “The agreement secures the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens and takes reasonable steps to make our communities safer.  Restoring reciprocity for concealed carry permit holders was a major priority for the House this session and I am glad we were able to reach an agreement to not only restore reciprocity, but also expand it.

“This agreement shows what can be accomplished when we set aside our political rhetoric and work together for the Commonwealth of Virginia. I want to thank Governor McAuliffe, Secretary Moran, Chairman Lingamfelter, Delegate Gilbert, Senator Reeves, and all those involved in making this agreement a reality,” Howell said.

“This bipartisan agreement is a positive step forward toward keeping Virginians safe,” said House Democratic Leader David J. Toscano. “There is certainly more work to do, but Governor McAuliffe, Attorney General Herring, and General Assembly members on both sides of the aisle should be commended on working together on these measures.”

“The agreement reached is a significant step in securing the Second Amendment rights of Virginians who choose to protect themselves as they travel in other states,” said Delegate Todd Gilbert (R-Shenandoah).  “I am glad that we were able to come to an agreement that increases public safety while protecting the rights of law-abiding people.  I thank all of my colleagues involved for their hard work on this.”

“The primary public safety goal of House Democrats is to keep firearms out of the hands of those who are most likely to commit gun violence,” said Delegate Sam Rasoul (D–Roanoke). “These first steps promote firearm safety by keeping guns out of the hands of domestic abusers, and gives unprecedented opportunity to perform background checks on more gun sales in Virginia.”

House Bill 1163, carried by Delegate Michael Webert (R-Fauquier), establishes reciprocity with any state that has a concealed carry permit program.  The legislation also prevents individuals who have had a Virginia permit revoked from having an out-of-state permit recognized in Virginia. The Superintendent of the Virginia State Police has 60 days after the bill becomes effective to enter into reciprocity agreements. House Bill 1163 passed the House 72 to 26.

“The restoration of concealed carry reciprocity agreements has been a top priority of the House of Delegates. Possessors of concealed carry permits have demonstrated themselves, both here in Virginia and throughout the country to be some of the most law-abiding, responsible citizens; thus I was disappointed in the Attorney General’s actions last year, but I am pleased we reached a bipartisan agreement to address this important issue,” said Delegate Webert. “This legislation ensures that Virginians will be able to feel safe by defending themselves as they travel for work, vacation, or to visit their families. It also includes an important provision to ensure that individuals denied a permit in Virginia do not shop around with other states. I am proud to carry this legislation and appreciate my colleagues for supporting this bill.”

House Bill 1386, carried by House Militia, Police and Public Safety Committee Chairman Scott Lingamfelter (R-Prince William), requires the Virginia State Police to be available at every gun show to administer voluntary background checks for private sales. The House Appropriations Committee has committed to fully funding this bill in the House budget.  House Bill 1386 passed 96 to 3.

“Preventing criminals from purchasing firearms is essential to the safety of the Commonwealth. Virginia has a strong set of laws to keep our communities safe without infringing on the rights of law-abiding citizens. This legislation is consistent with that philosophy,” said Chairman Lingamfelter. “This legislation will give people the assurance that comes from conducting a background check when engaging in a private firearms transaction without mandating government oversight of private transactions. Private sellers now have the ability to make sure they are not selling guns into the hands of criminals and the mentally ill.  This agreement is a win for all parties involved ”

House Bill 1391, carried by Delegate Kathleen Murphy (D-Fairfax), prohibits individuals subject to a permanent protective order for a domestic violence offense from possessing a firearms.  This legislation is limited to permanent protective orders granted by judges after a full hearing with the opportunity for representation by counsel, which ensures due process protections for all parties involved.  House Bill 1391 passed 96 to 3.

“I have worked hard on this issue and I am glad we were able to finally take a positive step to prevent these tragedies,” said Murphy. “More than half of women murdered with guns die at the hands of a domestic abuser. This bill will save lives.”


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