August 24, 2020
By Mark Chesnut
While we’ve heard mostly only bad news about the Second Amendment in Virginia since anti-gunners flipped the legislature a year ago, some good news out of the commonwealth deserves attention.
Many gun rights supporters feared anti-gunners would hijack the special session, which started earlier this week. However, Republican Rep. Glenn Davis beat them to the punch, introducing two pro-2A measures designed to partially roll back some of the restrictive laws that took effect on July 1.
As most Firearms News readers likely remember, one of the new laws did away with Virginia's preemption law, which kept municipalities from passing tougher statutes than those at the state level. Since then, several communities have already done just that, creating a dangerous patchwork of regulations nearly impossible to navigate for lawful gun owners. Other communities are also considering similar statutes.
House Bill 5020 provides a partial remedy to that, at least for those who have a state concealed carry license. That legislation would exempt holders of a concealed handgun permit from any local ordinances that prohibit possessing, carrying or transporting firearms and ammunition.
The other measure, HB 5024, would do away with the Class 1 misdemeanor penalty for buyers and sellers who don't follow the state’s so-called "universal" background check law. The current law, which just went into effect last month, provides the Class 1 misdemeanor penalty for both the buyer and seller if they fail to obtain government permission for the transfer.
In Virginia, Class 1 misdemeanors are punishable by up to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine. Other examples of Class 1 misdemeanors include traffic offenses such as Reckless Driving or DUI, and criminal offenses such as Assault & Battery.
Both of these measures are good starting points in the effort to roll back many of the restrictions passed last year after anti-gunners gained control of the general assembly. We’ll keep you posted on their progress.
Freelance writer and editor Mark Chesnut is the owner/editorial director at Red Setter Communications LLC. An avid hunter, shooter and political observer, he has been covering Second Amendment issues and politics on a near-daily basis for the past 20 years.