Free Lance-Star reporter Chelyen Davis covers Virginia government.
Bill to bar Va from enforcing fed gun laws diverted back to committee
For a few days, it looked like the House of Delegates, at least, might pass a bill that would prevent Virginia from enforcing any new federal restrictions on guns.
But today the House sent Del. Bob Marshall’s bill back to a committee, saying that in its zeal to protect the Second Amendment, it could cost the state millions in federal grant funds.
Marshall’s bill, HB 2340, passed through a House committee late last week. It sought to “prevent any agency, political subdivision, or employee of Virginia from assisting the Federal government of the United States in any investigation, prosecution, detention, arrest, search, or seizure, under the authority of any federal statute enacted, or Executive Order or regulation issued, after December 31, 2012, infringing the individual Right to Keep and Bear Arms by imposing new restrictions on private ownership or private transfer of firearms, firearm magazines, ammunition, or components thereof.”
A fiscal impact statement attached to the bill said it could have unknown fiscal repercussions, and House Republican leaders said they wanted to send the bill to the budget-writing House Appropriations Committee to assess those repercussions.
“We do have a fiduciary responsibility in Appropriations to look at things we think will have a fiscal impact,” said Del. Kirk Cox, R-Colonial Heights. “This is not a smokescreen.”
Cox listed several federal grants the state receives for law enforcement, judicial work and other needs.
Marshall did not appear to believe the move to send his bill back to committee was anything but a ruse to kill it quietly.
“A vote in favor of passing this by is a vote to allow Washington to deprive us of our Second Amendment rights,” Marshall said. “This has nothing to do with school shootings, this has everything to do with our oath of office. If we send this back to committee are we going to be looked at as somebody who accepts a token amount of money in exchange for the Second Amendment rights of our citizens. … Our constituents are going to look at this as a betrayal.”
Any bill not passed by next Tuesday will die automatically, because Tuesday is “crossover,” the legislative mid-session deadline for each house to deal with its own bills and send them to the other house.