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Virginia: Senate Passes “Red Flag”, Committee Refuses to Punish Criminals

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Virginia: Senate Passes “Red Flag”, Committee Refuses to Punish Criminals

On January 22nd, the Virginia Senate voted to pass Senate Bill 240 to suspend Second Amendment rights and confiscate firearms without sufficient due process. It will now move to the House of Delegates for further consideration. That evening, the Senate Judiciary Committee rejected a number of bills to impose harsher penalties on criminals and chose instead to approve more restrictions on your constitutional right to protect yourself and your loved ones.

Please click here to find your lawmakers and call them. Ask your Delegate to OPPOSE SB 240 and ask your Senator to OPPOSE SB 263.

Senate Bill 240, sponsored by Senator George Barker, passed the Senate by a vote of 21-19. It would grant the authority to seize a person’s firearms on baseless accusations without a hearing or other opportunity for a person to be heard in court. It permits the government to seize firearms based on weak evidence and nebulous standards of evidence.

A person subject to a suspension of a Constitutional right should be entitled to high evidentiary standards, an opportunity to be heard, and the right to face his or her accusers. Civil liberties advocates from across the political spectrum have expressed concerns with SB 240 and how the “red flag” procedure might lead to abuses of the process because of insufficient due process protections in the bill.

The Senate Judiciary Committee was more interested in ways to harass law-abiding gun owners than in considering meaningful reforms to keep Virginians safe by removing repeat criminals from circulation.

Bill advanced by the Senate Judiciary Committee:

Senate Bill 263, sponsored by Senator John Bell, would remove the option of using an online or electronic training course to satisfy the training requirement for a Virginia Concealed Handgun Permit. Mandatory training requirements are yet another cost prohibitive measure that prevents lower income Americans from defending themselves. The option of online or electronic training courses ensures that Concealed Handgun Permits are accessible to all law-abiding citizens, regardless of financial means.

Bills rejected by the Senate Judiciary Committee:

Senate Bill 82 and Senate Bill 89 would have provided for a minimum three year prison sentence for violating a protective order while armed.

Senate Bill 85 would have provided harsher penalties for criminals who steal or use stolen firearms. It would have instituted a mandatory five year prison sentence for stealing a firearm with the intent to distribute or use it in commission of a violent felony, a mandatory two year prison sentence for knowingly distributing a stolen firearm, and a mandatory one year prison sentence for knowingly receiving a stolen firearm.

The committee deferred other gun control bills to next week. Your NRA will keep you updated. Again, please click here to find your lawmakers and call them. Ask your Delegate to OPPOSE SB 240 and ask your Senator to OPPOSE SB 263.

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.