As we noted, the Virginia House Public Safety committee has passed HB 961. It was a substitute of the originally proposed bill that passed. The state site reports that it was “Reported from Public Safety with substitute (12-Y 9-N)”. There have been some major changes in the offered substitute.
The version the committee sent to the full House of Delegates eliminates the earlier § 18.2-308.8 that resulted in conflicting language which appeared to ban possession of “assault firearms” without real grandfathering. And § 18.2-308.12 and § 18.2-308.13 have been rewritten to eliminate any registration requirement.
The substitute version that was passed includes . . .
- § 18.2-308.2:2 B.1 bans the sale of an “assault firearm” by a dealer.
- § 18.2-308.7 limits assault firearms to 7-round magazines when carried by a person under 18, with exceptions.
§ 18.2-308.8 is no longer there.
- § 18.2-308.9 replaces § 18.2-308.8, and defines “assault firearm,” and forbids the “import, sell, transfer, manufacture, or purchase an assault firearm provided that a person may transfer an assault firearm to another person if:”
- Exceptions include “the transfer occurs by operation of law”.
- Note that “possess” is no no longer listed as prohibited.
- § 18.2-308.10 bans “large-capacity firearms magazines” defined as more than 12 rounds.
- § 18.2-308.11 seems to ban transfer of silencers, but not possession, except “that a person may transfer a silencer in accordance with the provisions of the National Firearms 475 Act (26 U.S.C. § 5801 et seq.).”
- § 18.2-308.12 is a bit odd. It bans “trigger activators,” but the definition seems to be limited to bump-fire stocks. Cranks and the like aren’t included.
- § 18.2-308.13 is now limited to “large-capacity firearms magazines” and “trigger activators,” setting a six month amnesty period ending January 1, 2021. By then then you have to get rid of those.The end result of the substitute seems to be a future ban on commercial sales of “assault firearms” by licensed dealer, a ban on standard capapcity magazines, and bump-fire stocks. Private possession and sales of “assault firearms” can continue, and silencers may still be possessed if registered under the NFA, as before.
While not as bad as the original version, this is still a very bad bill, one that the VCDL’s Philip Van Cleave accurately called “a monstrosity that cannot be fixed.”