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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

HB 48 Passes

I mentioned here the other day the brewing controversy over House Bill 48 (see "When These Guys Talk, I Listen").  The Virginia Citizens Defense League had come out "strongly opposed" to it because the bill, in offering liability protections to homeowners who use a firearm (or "any degree of physical force") to stop an intruder from entering his home and potentially committing acts of bodily harm, it might have defiled other freedoms guaranteed the citizenry in doing so.

Well, the bill passed the Senate yesterday, with a disclaimer/qualification added that should assuage those concerns.  From the NRA:
Virginia: Senate Passes Three Pro-Gun Bills, Sending Two to the Governor

Today, the Virginia Senate took action on four pro-gun bills previously passed by the House of Delegates.

Of particular note, was the Senate passage of House Bill 48 by a 24 to 16 vote. This bill was amended by the Senate Courts of Justice Committee to address concerns that HB 48 would negatively impact your right to self-defense. This bill was previously in Criminal Code 18.2 but put into the Civil Procedures section, 8.01. In addition, the following language was added:

"This section shall not be construed to limit, withdraw, or overturn any defense or immunity already existing in statutory or common law prior to the effective date of this law."

House Bill 48, sponsored by Delegate Dickie Bell (R-20), would provide civil liability immunity to someone who uses any degree of physical force against another person when the other person has unlawfully entered the dwelling and committed an overt act. Despite its passage due to the amended language, HB 48 must now be sent back to the House of Delegates for their concurrence. The state Senate also passed both House Bill 22 and House Bill 26. Since these bills have now been passed by both chambers without amendments, they will be sent to Governor Bob McDonnell for his consideration.

House Bill 22: Drafted by the NRA in 2009 and sponsored by Delegate Mark Cole (R-88), HB 22 would establish that no locality or entity may participate in a gun “buyback” program where individuals are given anything of value or money in exchange for surrendering a firearm to the locality unless the governing body first passes an ordinance authorizing the gun “buyback.” This legislation would also require that any locality holding gun "buybacks" sell the firearms to a federally licensed dealer “or be disposed of in any appropriate manner” if they could not be sold. This legislation passed in the state Senate by a 23 to 17 vote.

House Bill 26: Sponsored by Delegate Mark Cole (R-88), HB 26 would allow a court to waive a $25 dollar fine upon presentation of the permit to the court, if a person fails to display his concealed handgun permit when requested by a law enforcement officer. This legislation passed in the state Senate by a 40 to 0 vote.

The state Senate was scheduled to vote on House Bill 754, however, consideration was passed by for the day. A vote on this legislation could now happen as early as tomorrow. Sponsored by Delegate Ben Cline (R-24), HB 754 would remove the option for a locality to require that an applicant for a concealed handgun permit submit fingerprints as part of the application.
We make progress.

* House Bill 754 actually passed later in the day.