The Senate Judiciary Committee killed HB 827, a bill that would remove local authority to pass gun control ordinances. In its Monday meeting, the committee also killed several other Republican gun bills. Although a few bills are still working their way through the legislature, Monday’s committee meeting largely concludes the current General Assembly session in terms of gun policy, with few gains made by either firearms advocates or opponents.
“The session looks to be a wash for both sides, except for one bill on the serial numbers, and then a switchblade bill,” Virginia Citizens Defense League President Philip Van Cleave told The Virginia Star. “That’s not totally unexpected, but you never know.”
Governor Glenn Youngkin signed his first bill on Monday. HB 828, sponsored by Delegate Tony Wilt (R-Rockingham), was the first bill passed out of the 2022 General Assembly last week. It passed without receiving any recorded ‘no’ votes in either the House or the Senate.
In 2021, Delegate Wendy Gooditis (D-Clarke) sponsored a bill to create a state-run assistance program to help dairy farmers participate in the federal Dairy Margin Coverage Program that provides financial assistance for small and mid-sized dairy farmers when milk prices drop. In January, Wilt said in committee that the federal government didn’t have the program available in time, which meant that farmers would miss an application deadline at the beginning of February.
“So what this bill simply does is extend that time to May 15,” Wilt said.
The House of Delegates passed a bill to fund a group violence intervention program based on the “Operation Ceasefire” projects implemented in Boston. That’s been a goal of now-Speaker Todd Gilbert (R-Shenandoah) since 2019, and Governor Glenn Youngkin promised it during his campaign. Delegate Tony Wilt (R-Rockingham) introduced HB 833; the version that passed out of the House on Monday would create a grant fund managed by the attorney general to fund violent crime reduction strategies, training and equipment for law enforcement, grants to law enforcement and other organizations engaged in group violence intervention.
The House of Delegates passed a bill to repeal the 2020 law authorizing localities to ban firearms on locality property. Delegates debated the bill on Wednesday before the vote Thursday.
“House Bill 827 returns our code back to its prior position,” Delegate Tony Wilt (R-Rockingham) said on Wednesday. “Other portions of the bill: it eliminates the requirement to destroy firearms that are confiscated and rather allows them to be offered for sale through a licensed dealer. And it also limits the ability of localities to sue firearm manufacturers.”
The House of Delegates passed Delegate Mark Levine’s (D-Arlington) “Good Apples Bill,” which requires law enforcement officers to report acts of wrongdoing committed by other on-duty officers. It also requires officers to render aid if they witness someone suffering a serious bodily injury, and it expands a ban on biased-based profiling to include profiling by sexual orientation. In a vote Wednesday, HB 1948 passed 57-42, with three Republicans joining Democrats to vote for the bill.