Host of gun bills [DaveH: good and bad] await legislators in upcoming session
BY ANDREW CAIN Richmond Times-Dispatch
Gov. Bob McDonnell has established a task force to review school and campus safety in Virginia after the mass shooting in Connecticut. He has ordered the group to send him its initial recommendations by Jan. 31 so that he and lawmakers can consider the ideas in the General Assembly session that starts Jan. 9.
A separate work group, headed by Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and Dr. Bill Hazel, the state’s secretary of Health and Human Resources, is reviewing issues related to mental health.
While lawmakers have until Jan. 19 to introduce bills for the upcoming session, legislators in both parties already have announced or introduced a host of gun bills. For example:
• Del. Joseph D. Morrissey, D-Henrico, says he will introduce legislation to ban the sale of assault-style weapons and large-capacity magazines.
• Sen. David W. Marsden, D-Fairfax, has introduced legislation to make gun owners civilly liable if their weapons are stolen and used in the commission of a crime that results in death or injury and they “failed to take adequate care and control” to prevent the theft. He filed a second bill that would establish a $250 penalty for failing to report the theft of one’s gun.
• Republicans in the House of Delegates say they want to boost funding to encourage more school resource officers in elementary schools. School resource officers are certified local law enforcement officers who are posted in public schools in the state. Terry McAuliffe, the presumptive Democratic nominee for governor, has called for legislation to help localities provide school resource officers for elementary schools that request it.
• Del. Robert G. Marshall, R-Prince William, says he will introduce legislation that would require school boards to arrange for some school employees to receive the Virginia State Police standard of firearm safety and competency training.
• Del. Anne B. Crockett-Stark, R-Wythe, has filed a “castle doctrine” bill that would provide civil immunity for people who use deadly force against an intruder.
• Sen. Janet D. Howell, D-Fairfax, says she will introduce legislation to close the so-called gun-show loophole in which private purchasers can buy guns from private sellers without undergoing a background check.
• Del. Luke E. Torian, D-Prince William, has introduced a bill that would delete some firearms safety courses that now satisfy the competency requirement to qualify for a concealed-weapon permit. The bill requires that certain firearms safety courses that satisfy the requirement focus primarily on the use and handling of a concealed handgun.
• Del. James M. Scott, D-Fairfax, has introduced a bill that would bar any person who is convicted of stalking, sexual battery, or assault and battery of a family member that results in serious bodily injury from possessing, transporting, or carrying a firearm or any other weapon for five years after conviction.
• Sen. Phillip P. Puckett, D-Russell, introduced a bill that provides an exemption for any retired correctional officer with at least 15 years of service from any fee charged for the issuance of a concealed-handgun permit.