Virginia has had many shakeups recently. As a result, we have reported on the controversy surrounding their gun laws. However, the story is still ongoing with several new developments.
New gun laws
The Governor's website posted that he signed the following bills:
- House Bill 674 and Senate Bill 240 establishing an Extreme Risk Protective Order, or a "red flag" law.
- House Bill 9 which requires gun owners to report their lost or stolen firearms to law enforcement within 48 hours, or face a civil penalty.
- House Bill 1083 increases the penalty for recklessly leaving firearms in the presence of children under the age of 14.
Governor Northam proposed amendments to these bills:
- Senate Bill 35 and House Bill 421 allowing localities to regulate firearms in public buildings, parks, recreation centers, and during permitted events. Amendments clarify the exemption for institutions of higher education.
- Senate Bill 479 and House Bill 1004 prohibiting individuals subject to protective orders from possessing firearms. Also, require them to turn over their firearms within 24 hours. Furthermore, they must prove to the courts they have turned over their weapons.
The new gun laws will take effect July 1, 2020. Virginia Executive Order #53 does not designate gun shops as "essential" during the statewide lockdown. Regardless, they were allowed to stay open. They must observe safety guidelines in order to do so.
Additionally, Gov. Northam signed a bill to decriminalize marijuana. Essentially, the bill will eliminate jail time for small marijuana possession, with only a civil penalty. This is listed as a $25 fine for the first offense.To be clear, this is not full legalization. Employers, schools and government agencies are prohibited from requiring disclosures of certain information. This would be in regards to any information related to such arrest, criminal charge, or convictionThe Governor stated, "As we decriminalize simple possession of marijuana and seal the records of prior convictions, I am proposing a study to assess the impact of fully legalizing marijuana in the Commonwealth."Please read the new laws in their entirety, if they apply to you. Also read them if you want to stay up to date on new laws regarding the matter.Certainly, this won't be the last time we see Virginia in the news. Do you support or oppose the new laws? What do you think of all these changes? Please sound off in the comments.