20-7 Legislative Update – HB961 – The NFA – 2A and More

February 17, 2020

Senator Steve Newman:
Yesterday, the Senate of Virginia convened at 10:30 a.m. There were hundreds of bills on the calendar to be heard, amended if necessary, debated, and voted on. We completed our work just before 1:00 a.m. To say it was a “marathon day” is an understatement. I would actually call it the “Night of the Long Knives.”
As I’ve shared with you over the past several weeks, the new ultra-liberal Democrat majority is claiming a mandate from the past election to change laws that impact every aspect of life in our Commonwealth. Many of these far-reaching and heavy-handed changes in state law were expedited through the Senate process late into the night.
I want to share several of them with you here. These bills will now go across the hall to the House of Delegates for their consideration. They may change the language and send them back to us in the Senate or they may agree with the radical policies and pass them on to the Governor for his signature.
It’s imperative that you remain involved in this legislative process. This is YOUR government and your voice matters! I will continue to do my best to update you on the latest happenings in Richmond through social media and my weekly column in the Bedford Bulletin and the Fincastle Herald.
SB 34: Driver’s licenses for illegals- individuals will not have to produce proof of legal presence in the United States to receive a Virginia driver’s license.
SB 183: Monuments- allows local governments to vote to remove, relocate, contextualize, cover, or alter any monument or memorial for war veterans located in its public space, regardless of when it was erected.
SB 890: Transportation Ominbus Package- nearly doubles the statewide gas tax.
SB 543: Mandatory background check at gun shows- requires the State Police to perform a criminal record check on a potential purchaser or transferee at every gun show in Virginia.
SB 788: Increase in grand larceny threshold- increases from $500 to $1,000 the threshold amount of personal property stolen for the accused to be charged with grand larceny.
SB 7: Minimum Wage Increase- increases Virginia’s minimum wage from the current $7.25 to $11.50 by 2024. In 2024, and each year after, the Commissioner of the Virginia Employment Commission will divide the state into “wage regions” to set the adjusted minimum wage for the following 12 months.
SB 2: Decriminalization of simple marijuana possession- decriminalizes simple possession of marijuana and provides a civil penalty of no more than $50 or 5 hours of community service as an alternative punishment.
SB 481: Mandate for Employer Provided Sick Leave- requires employers with 15 or more employees to provide each employee with earned paid sick time, one of many mandates placed on Virginia’s businesses this Session.
SB 838: Liability of general contractor and subcontractor for payment of wages- if the wages due to a subcontractor’s employees are not paid, the general contractor is subject to criminal and civil penalties.
SB 935: Exemption from out-of-state tuition rates- allows an exemption from out-of-state tuition to students who meet certain criteria, regardless of their citizenship or immigration status. So, someone from West Virginia would have to pay out-of-state tuition, but someone here illegally from another country would qualify for in-state tuition.
SB 939: Collective bargaining by employees of local governments- permits localities to adopt ordinances allowing them to recognize any labor union or employee association as a bargaining agent. This also applies to public school employees. An amendment was adopted to prohibit strikes by such groups.
SB 11: Plastic bag tax- directs localities in Northern Virginia to impose a five cent tax (payable by the consumer) for each plastic bag consumed. Localities in the rest of the state are granted the authority to opt-into the Northern Virginia plan, which is a carve-out I fought hard for last night.
And in the House of Delegates last night, they passed…
HB 961: Gun outlaw- BROADLY expands the definition of “assault firearm” to include many firearms already in the hands of our citizens today. So, most every firearm in Virginia would likely fall under this definition. There are several other provisions of this anti-Second Amendment bill that the Senate will consider in Committee in the coming days.

Motivated in part by the “Second Amendment Sanctuary” movement that has seen more than 100 Virginia counties and cities pass measures denouncing—and in some cases, preemptively refusing to enforce—constitutionally suspect gun laws, some Virginians at the rally began chants of “We will not comply.”
In fact, the mantra “We will not comply” helped set the stage for America as it exists today.
In 1765, the British Parliament passed the Stamp Act, which imposed a tax on nearly every piece of paper used by the American colonists. The colonists considered this a direct tax on them without the approval of the colonial legislatures—a flagrant violation of longstanding legal precedent and an affront to their rights as Englishmen.
Threats of noncompliance and public protests so troubled Parliament that the act was repealed before ever being put into effect.
Americans routinely circumvented or ignored bans on the importation of firearms and powder, and eventually resorted to armed defensive action against British attempts to confiscate guns and powder stores from colonial communities.
Noncompliance with federal laws mandating the return of escaped slaves was rampant throughout northern states prior to the Civil War. In 1850, the Vermont Legislature went so far as to pass a law effectively requiring state judicial and law enforcement officers to act in direct opposition to the federal Fugitive Slave Law.
Importantly, many abolitionists refused to keep their intentions quiet—they, too, were vocal about their refusal to comply with laws they considered both unconstitutional and morally unjust.
“We will not comply” was very much a general refrain of the now-beloved abolitionist movement.
Noncompliance permeated democratic discourse throughout the 20th century, as well. Some of the most revered figures of the civil rights era were actually brought to the national spotlight by acts of noncompliance.
Rosa Parks refused to comply with a city ordinance mandating segregated buses that would force her to the back of the bus. Hundreds refused to comply with state laws by engaging in sit-ins. King spent periods in jail for his repeated refusals to comply with court orders.
Threatening noncompliance is not unique to modern gun owners, nor unique to modern American discourse.
“We will not comply” is neither an undemocratic threat nor an un-American resolve.
It is a long-standing part of democratic discourse, and an utterly American promise to strive for compliance with a higher law.

Tom Garrett Audio-

HB961 Text:
§ 18.2-308.9. Importation, sale, transfer, etc., of assault firearms prohibited; penalty.
A. For purposes of this section:
“Assault firearm” means:
1. A semi-automatic center-fire rifle that expels single or multiple projectiles by action of an explosion of a combustible material with a fixed magazine capacity in excess of 12 rounds;
2. A semi-automatic center-fire rifle that expels single or multiple projectiles by action of an explosion of a combustible material that has the ability to accept a detachable magazine and has one of the following characteristics: (i) a folding or telescoping stock; (ii) a pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the rifle; (iii) a second handgrip or a protruding grip that can be held by the non-trigger hand; (iv) a grenade launcher; (v) a flare launcher, (vi) a silencer; (vii) a flash suppressor; (viii) a muzzle brake; (ix) a muzzle compensator; (x) a threaded barrel capable of accepting (a) a silencer, (b) a flash suppressor, (c) a muzzle brake, or (d) a muzzle compensator; or (xi) any characteristic of like kind as enumerated in clauses (i) through (x).
3. A semi-automatic center-fire pistol that expels single or multiple projectiles by action of an explosion of a combustible material with a fixed magazine capacity in excess of 12 rounds;
4. A semi-automatic center-fire pistol that expels single or multiple projectiles by action of an explosion of a combustible material that has the ability to accept a detachable magazine and has one of the following characteristics: (i) a folding or telescoping stock; (ii) a second handgrip or a protruding grip that can be held by the non-trigger hand; (iii) the capacity to accept a magazine that attaches to the pistol outside of the pistol grip; (iv) a shroud that is attached to, or partially or completely encircles, the barrel and that permits the shooter to hold the pistol with the non-trigger hand without being burned; (v) a manufactured weight of 50 ounces or more when the pistol is unloaded; (vi) a threaded barrel capable of accepting (a) a silencer, (b) a flash suppressor, (c) a barrel extender, or (d) a forward handgrip; or (vii) any characteristic of like kind as enumerated in clauses (i) through (vi).
5. A shotgun with a revolving cylinder that expels single or multiple projectiles by action of an explosion of a combustible material; or
6. A semi-automatic shotgun that expels single or multiple projectiles by action of an explosion of a combustible material that has one of the following characteristics: (i) a folding or telescoping stock, (ii) a pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the shotgun, (iii) the ability to accept a detachable magazine, (iv) a fixed magazine capacity in excess of seven rounds; or (v) any characteristic of like kind as enumerated in clauses (i) through (iv).
“Assault firearm” includes any part or combination of parts designed or intended to convert, modify, or otherwise alter a firearm into an assault firearm, or any combination of parts that may be readily assembled into an assault firearm. “Assault firearm” does not include (i) a firearm that has been rendered permanently inoperable, (ii) an antique firearm as defined in § 18.2-308.2:2, or (iii) a curio or relic as defined in § 18.2-308.2:2.
B. It is unlawful for any person to import, sell, transfer, manufacture, or purchase an assault firearm, provided that a person may transfer an assault firearm to another person if:
1. The transfer is a bona fide gift made by or to a member of a transferor’s immediate family as defined in § 6.2-1300;
2. The transfer occurs by operation of law;
3. The person receiving the assault firearm is an executor or administrator of an estate or is a trustee of a trust created by a will, and the assault firearm to be transferred is property of such estate or trust;
4. The transferor is an executor or administrator of an estate or is a trustee of a trust created by a will, and the assault firearm to be transferred is the property of such estate or trust;
5. The transfer is temporary and is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm;
6. The transfer is temporary and occurs within the continuous presence of the owner of the firearm;
7. The sale or transfer of an assault firearm is to an authorized representative of the Commonwealth or any subdivision thereof as part of an authorized voluntary gun buy-back or give-back program;
8. The transfer is of an antique firearm as defined in § 18.2-308.2:2; or
9. The transfer occurs at a shooting range, shooting gallery, or other area designated for the purpose of target shooting, for use during target practice, a firearms safety or training course or class, a shooting competition, or any similar lawful activity.
C. A violation of this section is punishable as a Class 6 felony.
D. The provisions of this section shall not apply to (i) any government officer, agent, or employee, or member of the Armed Forces of the United States, to the extent that such person is otherwise authorized to acquire an assault firearm and does so while acting within the scope of his duties; (ii) the manufacture of an assault firearm by a firearms manufacturer for the purpose of sale to any branch of the Armed Forces of the United States or to a law-enforcement agency in the Commonwealth for use by that agency or its employees, provided that the manufacturer is properly licensed under federal, state, and local laws; (iii) the sale or transfer of an assault firearm by a licensed dealer to any branch of the Armed Forces of the United States or to a law-enforcement agency in the Commonwealth for use by that agency or its employees; (iv) the purchase by any person of his service handgun pursuant to § 59.1-148.3.
§ 18.2-308.10. Import, sale, possession, etc., of certain firearms magazines; penalty.
A. For purposes of this section, “large-capacity firearm magazine” means any firearm magazine, belt, drum, feed strip, or similar device that has the capacity of, or can be readily restored or converted to accept, more than 12 rounds of ammunition. “Large-capacity firearm magazine” does not include (i) a magazine, belt, drum, feed strip, or similar device that has been permanently altered so that it cannot accept more than 12 rounds of ammunition or (ii) an attached tubular device designed to accept and only capable of operating with .22 caliber rimfire ammunition.
B. It is unlawful for any person to import, sell, transfer, manufacture, purchase, [ possess, ] or transport any large-capacity firearms magazine. A violation of this [ section subsection ] is punishable as a Class 6 felony.
C. [ It is unlawful for any person to possess any large-capacity firearm magazine. A violation of this subsection is punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor.
D. ] The provisions of this section shall not apply to (i) any government officer, agent, or employee, or member of the Armed Forces of the United States, to the extent that such person is otherwise authorized to acquire or possess a large-capacity firearm magazine and does so while acting within the scope of his duties; (ii) the manufacture of a large-capacity firearm magazine by a firearms manufacturer for the purpose of sale to any branch of the Armed Forces of the United States or to a law-enforcement agency in the Commonwealth for use by that agency or its employees, provided that the manufacturer is properly licensed under federal, state, and local laws; (iii) the sale or transfer of a large-capacity firearm magazine to any branch of the Armed Forces of the United States or to a law-enforcement agency in the Commonwealth for use by that agency or its employees; or (iv) any large-capacity magazine transferred to a person as part of such person’s purchase of his service handgun pursuant to § 59.1-148.3.
§ 18.2-308.11. Import, sale, transfer, etc., of silencers; penalty.
A. For purposes of this section, “silencer” means any device for silencing, muffling, or diminishing the report of a firearm, including any part or combination of parts designed or intended for use in assembling or fabricating such a device.
B. It is unlawful for any person to import, sell, transfer, manufacture, or purchase a silencer, provided that a person may transfer a silencer in accordance with the provisions of the National Firearms Act (26 U.S.C. § 5801 et seq.). A violation of this section is punishable as a Class 6 felony.
C. The provisions of this section shall not apply to (i) any government officer, agent, or employee, or member of the Armed Forces of the United States, to the extent that such person is otherwise authorized to acquire a silencer and does so while acting within the scope of his duties; (ii) the manufacture of a silencer by a firearms manufacturer for the purpose of sale to any branch of the Armed Forces of the United States or to a law-enforcement agency in the Commonwealth for use by that agency or its employees, provided that the manufacturer is properly licensed under federal, state, and local laws; or (iii) the sale or transfer of a silencer to any branch of the Armed Forces of the United States or to a law-enforcement agency in the Commonwealth for use by that agency or its employees.
§ 18.2-308.12. Import, sale, possession, etc., of trigger activators prohibited; penalty.
A. For purposes of this section, “trigger activator” means any device that allows a semi-automatic firearm to shoot more than one shot with a single pull of the trigger by harnessing the recoil energy of any semi-automatic firearm to which it is affixed so that the trigger rests and continues firing without additional physical manipulation of the trigger by the shooter.
B. It is unlawful for any person to import, sell, transfer, manufacture, purchase, possess, or transport any trigger activator. A violation of this section is punishable as a Class 6 felony.
§ 18.2-308.13. Surrender, etc., of prohibited firearm magazine and trigger activator.
A. Except as provided in subsection B, any person who legally owns a large-capacity firearm magazine, as defined in § 18.2-308.10, or trigger activator, as defined in § 18.2-308.12, on July 1, 2020, may retain possession of such large-capacity firearm magazine or trigger activator until January 1, 2021. During this time period, such person shall (i) render the large-capacity firearm magazine or trigger activator permanently inoperable; (ii) remove the large-capacity firearm magazine or trigger activator from the Commonwealth; (iii) transfer the large-capacity firearm magazine or trigger activator to a person outside the Commonwealth who is not prohibited from possessing the large-capacity firearm magazine or trigger activator; or (iv) surrender the large-capacity firearm magazine or trigger activator to a state or local law-enforcement agency.
B. Any person who legally owns a large-capacity firearm magazine or trigger activator on July 1, 2020, and who, on January 1, 2021, (i) is serving outside of the United States in the armed services of the United States, (ii) is serving outside of the United States as a member of the diplomatic service of the United States appointed under the Foreign Service Act of 1946, (iii) is serving outside of the United States as a civilian employee of the United States government or any agency or contractor thereof, or (iv) is a spouse or dependent of any person listed in clause (i), (ii), or (iii) may retain possession of such large-capacity firearm magazine or trigger activator until 30 days from the date such person is no longer serving outside of the United States. During this 30-day period, such person shall comply with clause (i), (ii), (iii), or (iv) of subsection A.
C. The provisions of § 15.2-915.5 shall not apply to any large-capacity firearm magazine or trigger activator surrendered to a local law-enforcement agency pursuant to this section.
§ 19.2-386.28. Forfeiture of weapons that are concealed, possessed, transported, or carried in violation of law.
Any firearm, stun weapon as defined by § 18.2-308.1, or any weapon, magazine, silencer, or trigger activator concealed, possessed, transported, or carried in violation of § 18.2-283.118.2-287.0118.2-287.418.2-308.1:218.2-308.1:318.2-308.1:418.2-308.218.2-308.2:0118.2-308.2:118.2-308.418.2-308.518.2-308.7, or 18.2-308.818.2-308.918.2-308.1018.2-308.11, or 18.2-308.12 shall be forfeited to the Commonwealth and disposed of as provided in § 19.2-386.29.

 


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