Va. Delegate-Elect Introduces Even More Gun Control Bills: 'It's Time to Get to Work'

Posted: Jan 07, 2020 10:10 AM

The upcoming Virginia General Assembly is set to vote on a wide range of gun control bills that Gov. Ralph Northam (D) is pushing now that Democrats hold majorities in the statehouse.

Trying to capitalize on that momentum, Delegate-elect Dan Helmer (D), an Iraq and Afghanistan veteran, announced on Monday he is introducing three more gun control bills to "reduce gun violence in Virginia." 

HB567 will implement a ban on indoor shooting ranges in private buildings with "large numbers of employees" because of "recent workplace shootings." The bill would ban the ranges if it is in a building that has more than 50 employees working in said building. Indoor ranges would be required to maintain a log of each shooter's name, phone number, address, and the law-enforcement agency where such user is employed and the indoor range verifies each shooter's identity and address by requiring all users to present a government-issued identification card.

"This is a gun control bill that will eliminate jobs and destroy small businesses in Virginia without reducing crime. In addition to generating about $18 million each year in revenues, the state’s ranges are the epicenter for vital safety training," National Rifle Association spokesperson Catherine Mortensen told Townhall. "This is where our law enforcement community comes to train alongside families and individuals seeking skills for home and self-defense."

HB568 will ban open carry of firearms in private vehicles, with Helmer calling it "absurd that a loaded gun can be left unattended in a car's glove box." Gun owners would be required to secure their firearm in a locked container.

HB569 will "ensure concealed carry permit holders from out-of-state have permits that meet Virginia's standards," with Helmer stating that Virginia will no longer "allow a domestic abuser in another state to carry concealed weapons."

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Helmer's bills are in addition to the universal background checks, "assault weapons" and high-capacity magazine bans, and one gun purchase per month bill that will be introduced when the new General Assembly convenes.

In response to the bills, an overwhelming majority of counties in Virginia have declared themselves to be Second Amendment sanctuaries, stating they will not enforce any law they deem to be unconstitutional. The sanctuaries have mostly received support from their county sheriffs, giving them some muscle in their message to Richmond.