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HB1265, providing that nothing related to emergency services and disaster laws allows the Governor or any other governmental authority to limit the RKBA, approved by the House, is out of Senate committee with an amendment regarding emergency shelters, yesterday, and will soon be up for vote by the Senate.
HB1577 is a big one. The Senate committee, yesterday, issued a substitute for the one approved by the House. This bill eliminates the provision allowing counties and cities to require by ordinance fingerprints for the CHP background check. It eliminates the expiration date on resident CHP's, but non-resident permits continue to have a 5-year expiration. For resident permits, VSP will perform an annual background check on all permit holders, and revoke the permits of anyone who has become disqualified. Creates a new Class 6 felony for anyone knowingly possessing a revoked CHP while in possession of a concealed handgun. Because a new felony is created, these provisions don't take effect unless a budget appropriation for additional prison funds to cover the anticipated fiscal impact is included in the 2007 budget. Assuming funds are appropriated, the changes take effect on 1 July 2007.
HB162, the "parking lot" bill, prohibits a person, property owner, tenant, employer, or business entity from establishing, maintaining, or enforcing any policy or rule that would prohibit a person from storing a lawfully possessed firearm in a locked vehicle. No person, property owner, tenant, employer, or business entity would be liable for any occurrence connected with use of a firearm that had been stored in a locked vehicle pursuant to the section. The bill also allows a person to file for injunction to enforce the provisions of the section, and provides for actual damages and attorney fees for a prevailing plaintiff. The substitute issued from Senate committee, yesterday, includes an exemption clause that I find problematic:
"This section shall not apply to (i) property on which a person is prohibited from possessing a firearm by § 18.2-308.1; (ii) possession of firearms in vehicles on the curtilage of an individual's abode; (iii) vehicles on property (a) to which access is restricted or limited through the use of a gate, security station, signs, or other means of restricting or limiting general access onto the property; or (b) upon which a building occupied by a single employer and its affiliated entities is located and in which access to the building is restricted or limited by card access, a security station, signs, or other means of restricting or limiting general public access into the building; (iv) vehicles owned or leased by an employer or business entity and used by an employee in the course of his employment; or (v) personal vehicles while such vehicles are being used for the transport of consumers of programs licensed by the Department of Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Substance Abuse Services."
I'm wondering if this includes public parking decks because they have gates limiting general access onto the property? The original bill had no such provision, and the House committee substitute specified private
property. The Senate committee substitute just says property. This one is important to me, because my employer recently enacted a so-called "violence in the workplace" policy that includes a parking lot prohibition among other unpleasantness.
Anyway, lots for us Virginians to contact our Senators about. Time to get writing.