[Re-posted from a VA-ALERT with prior approval of VCDL]
[First person singular pronouns (I, my, mine, etc) and “PVC” reference Philip Van Cleave, President VCDL]
Not only did the One Handgun A Month repeal pass the Senate by 21 to 19 on Monday, but we had an unexpected win in a normally anti-gun subcommittee!
SOME HISTORY FIRST
For many years the Republicans have had a special subcommittee that is used to kill pro-gun bills that the Republican leadership does not want Republicans to have to vote on. These are always controversial bills. The subcommittee is the Militia, Police, and Public Safety Subcommittee #3.
The subcommittee is always made up of two solid pro-gun Republicans and three solid anti-gun Democrats. So the Democrats control this subcommittee even though the Republicans have a significant majority in the House!
The net result is that the three anti-gun Democrats vote against pro-gun bills, the two Republicans vote for them, and the bills die by a 2 to 3 vote. The Republicans on the subcommittee can't be blamed because they always vote correctly. That leaves only the three anti-gun Democrats to blame and they really don't care, by definition, as they are anti-gun.
In the House, according to the House rules, a subcommittee can kill a bill. Thus, when the subcommittee kills the pro-gun bills, all the Republicans on the full committee do not have to vote on the controversial bills and the Speaker and Republican leadership wins.
Fast forward to Monday night. The first bill up is Delegate Bob Marshall's HB 91, which would allow college and university faculty to carry guns. Delegate Marshall did an excellent job in fighting for that bill in the subcommittee. No matter what you may think of him, he is a man of strong convictions and puts up one hell of a fight for those convictions.
I spoke in favor of the bill and a bunch of university police representatives spoke against it.
Sadly, Marshall's bill was killed by, you guessed it, a 2 to 3 vote.
Next up was Delegate Anderson's airport terminal bill, HB 1052, which would allow someone otherwise lawfully carrying a gun to carry that gun into the non-sterile area of the terminal building of an airport. That is an area where there is no security screening - where you buy tickets, rent vehicles, and pick up or drop off luggage. 40 states allow this and Virginia used to until 2004, when that was taken away in exchange for full preemption of local gun laws.
I spoke for the bill and the Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority (MWAA) and the Richmond Airport Authority spoke against it. The MWAA representative seemed particularly smug, apparently believing the bill was as good as dead.
Questions were asked by the subcommittee members and finally there was a call for a motion on the bill.
Normally anti-gun Delegate Hope moved the bill be passed. My breathing stopped cold (luckily for me my heart kept going). The Chairman, obviously caught off guard, paused and then finally asked for a "second" to the motion. The motion was seconded by pro-gun Delegate Morefield. My breathing was still stopped. They then voted and HB 1052 PASSED by a 3 to 2 vote!
Voting pro-freedom: Delegates Hope, Merricks, and Morefield
Voting anti-freedom: Delegates Tyler and Kory
My breathing started again, and everyone was in shock. The MWAA representative was beside himself. ;-)
I overheard Delegate Hope telling a reporter that he had voted for the bill because he was tired of the Speaker using the Democrats to kill bills that the Speaker didn't want Republicans to vote on. He said he was sending the bill to full committee for a vote! He also said that since people were being allowed to carry guns just about everywhere, perhaps it was time to debate whether we want to just do that and let them carry everywhere or whether we should continue to restrict some areas. (He's not good on guns, so he's hoping the answer will be more restrictions.)
VCDL would be happy to see such a dialog, of course, as we think the Virginia would choose to simply allow the law-abiding to carry everywhere they go.
HB 1052 will be heard in the full Militia, Police, and Public Safety Committee on Friday at 9 AM in House Room C and I will be there representing VCDL. The future of HB 1052 is not clear, as there are a lot of parliamentary moves and other things that could be used to kill it by the Republican leadership. To that end, let's help fight for HB 1052 by doing the following Action Item:
Let's send a message to our Delegates to support HB 1052, so we can carry in airport terminals while renting cars, picking up or dropping off passengers, helping a family member with their luggage, etc. Simply click the link below:
VCDL's "Write Your Legislators" Tool
VA-ALERT is a project of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, Inc. (VCDL).
VCDL is an all-volunteer, non-partisan grassroots organization dedicated to defending the human rights of all Virginians. The Right to Keep and Bear Arms is a fundamental human right.
VCDL web page: http://www.vcdl.org [http://www.vcdl.org/]
Come on DC members. Let's roll on this one. I [DaveH] am blown away by the "Death Star" / "Blackhole" subcommittee passing one. Let's hope that Del Hope's hope that the full committee will continue or expand restriction was a mistake for the forces of evil.