VA-ALERT: Mini-update: pro-gun bills advance yet again!

1. Pro-gun bills move forward again! 
2. The legislative process in Virginia - baby turtles rushing to the sea 
3. For newer members: why universal background checks are a VERY BAD idea 
4. Obama switching gears - universal background checks and not an assault weapon ban? 
5. Video of Delegate Gilbert v Lopez from Thursday night ("Useful idiot") 
6. Unofficial team leader recognition from Lobby Day 
7. Thought for the day 

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1. Pro-gun bills move forward again! 
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Thanks to EM Bob Sadtler for attending the meeting of the Militia, Police and Public Safety full committee Friday morning. He reported that the following pro-gun bills were passed out and now head to the House Floor next week: 

HB 2317, Anderson, allows military personnel living in nearby states who commute to their permanent duty station in Virginia to buy guns in Virginia 

HB 2340, Bob Marshall, prohibits state and local government employees from aiding the federal government in enforcement of any federal gun laws or Presidential Orders enacted after 12/31/12. 

HB 2342, Lingamfelter, provides for expedited background checks for CHP holders when purchasing firearms 

HB 1582, Cole, allows private schools to have armed guards 

All anti-gun bills were left in subcommittee and are dead. 

Note that HB 2317 and HB 2342 were not heard in subcommittee, but were instead heard only in full committee. There is no requirement that bills go to a subcommittee and, while not often done, subcommittees can be skipped and a bill heard and voted on in full committee. One good thing about this is that we get voting records on more legislators that way. 

Cliff's notes: a host of pro-gun bills are alive and working their way through the legislature. All the bad anti-gun bills are dead. 


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2. The legislative process in Virginia - baby turtles rushing to the sea 
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I've often made the analogy that getting a bill passed into law is like sea turtle hatchlings racing to the (relative) safety of the sea. Many of them never make it because they have to get past a gauntlet of predators as they rush across an open beach. Birds sweep down on them from above, while crabs and even raccoons grab them on the beach. 

Similarly, there are a lot of ways for a bill to be killed long before it becomes law. Consequently it is much easier to kill a bill than to get one passed. And that is a good thing because we don't want to create any bad laws. 

1. A bill is usually first heard in a subcommittee, but sometimes this step is skipped. The bills can be modified in subcommittee. Some subcommittees can kill bills, others can only recommend that they be killed or passed. 

2. The full committee then hears any bills that were not actually killed by a subcommittee. Bills can be modified by committee. The committee votes to either kill the bill or pass it out of committee to the Floor. The committee can also refer the bill to another committee instead. 

3. The bills that pass out of committee are then heard on the Floor of the body where they were introduced (either Senate or House). Bills on the Floor are voted on by all members of the body. It takes 3 days before the Floor votes on a bill, during which time the bill can be modified on the Floor. 

4. Bills that pass on the Floor are then sent to the other body and the process begins back at step 1 for the new body. 

5. If a bill survives the other body without change, then the bill heads to the Governor's desk (step 7). 

6. If the bill is modified, then the originating body can vote to accept the changes. If accepted, the bill heads to the Governor's desk (step 7), else a conference committee is set up and three members from each body meet to determine if any kind of compromise can be reached. The conference committee at that point can kill the bill or send it back to each body with suggested changes. At that point, both bodies must simply agree to the changes or not. No more changes are allowed. If both agree, the bill heads to the Governor's desk (step 7). If either one votes down the changes, the bill is dead. 

7. Bills surviving the legislature, arrive on the Governor's desk. He has 4 choices: sign the bill into law, veto the bill, don't sign the bill (it will become law automatically without his signature), or send the bill back with suggested changes. 

8. Both bodies can vote by 2/3 majority to override a veto and make the bill law. If either body fails to garner that big a margin, then the bill dies. For Governor modified bills, the bodies can vote to accept the changes or send the bill back to the Governor without the changes and we go back to step 7. 


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3. For newer members: why universal background checks are a VERY BAD idea 
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VCDL strongly opposes "universal" background checks, where all firearm sales, including private sales, require a background check, whether at a gun show or outside of a gun show. 

The reason that VCDL opposes universal background checks is because in order to implement AND enforce such a requirement, all guns will have to be registered so the government knows who has what guns and when any transfers take place. Once the government knows that, then they are in a position to confiscate your guns down the road. Confiscation has happened in California, New York, Chicago, and DC. The topic has come up recently in several venues, so don't think it couldn't happen again. It is NONE OF THE GOVERNMENT'S BUSINESS as to what guns you own. 

The way the system is now, you can legally buy a gun from a private seller without a background check and the government does not know you have acquired that firearm. Or, you could acquire a gun from a dealer (so the government knows you have bought that gun), but you could end up not liking it and selling it the next day without the government knowing of the sale. Thus, the government is unsure which guns any of us actually have in Virginia. Private sales are actually a safety mechanism against registration. 

If we have universal background checks (at either the state or federal level), the government will know what guns you have because if you sell or acquire any guns privately, they will require a background check. That creates a closed system. If you do sell a gun without doing a background check and they show up to confiscate it, they will then arrest you for failure to do a background check on that sale. They will either get your gun or they will get you if they can't get your gun. 

Currently the government is not supposed to have any records that show exactly which guns you have bought. The detailed records are kept at the gun dealer's location (decentralized registration). With a quick change to the law (or perhaps some bizarre Presidential Order), the feds can swoop down on dealers, gather up all that paperwork, put it in a database, and, voila, they have all of our guns registered IF, AND ONLY IF, private sales are required to go through a background check, too. 

Universal background checks and gun registration go hand-in-hand. 

Universal background checks are a BAD IDEA! 


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4. Obama switching gears - universal background checks and not an assault weapon ban? 
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Looks like registration is the President's main agenda. I'm not surprised, of course. 

Thanks to EM Dave Hicks for link: 

http://tinyurl.com/ayt62ut 

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W.H. gun push narrows to background checks 

By REID J. EPSTEIN and JOHN BRESNAHAN | 1/25/13 7:20 PM EST 

RICHMOND, Va. – President Barack Obama unveiled a broad array of new gun 
control proposals last week, but already his administration has narrowed the 
main force of their effort behind just one: universal background checks. 

That was the message Vice President Joe Biden effectively delivered here 
Friday as he launched the administration’s road campaign in support of the 
new restrictions developed in the wake of the school massacre at Newtown, 
Conn. 

SNIP 
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5. Video of Delegate Gilbert v Lopez from Thursday night ("Useful idiot") 
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Here is video of Delegate Lopez presenting his magazine ban bill to the Militia, Police and Public Safety subcommittee #1 on Thursday night. At the end is where Delegate Gilbert got to the heart of the matter quite nicely. Not caught on tape was Delegate Lopez saying something like "So, I'm a useful idiot" under his breath. For those who have not attended a subcommittee hearing at the General Assembly, here's a chance to see what it is like. Not all are this entertaining, but you have to like Gilbert when he is on his game. Thanks to member Don Litton for the video: 

http://news.oldva.org/?p=85629 


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6. Unofficial team leader recognition from Lobby Day 
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On Monday we had quite a few stragglers coming in late. They were formed into rather large groups and went off to lobby. They were led by volunteers who had done lobbying before and stepped up to the plate. I don't have all the names of those ad-hoc team leaders, but I know that EMs Chip Fetrow and Collin O'Neal both did so. VCDL wishes to express its thanks to all those that helped on Lobby Day but did not get formally acknowledged. Next year we will do our best to record the ad-hoc leader's names, too. 


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7. Thought for the day 
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I really like this one, as we battle to save the Second Amendment and the soul of our great country. One of our members uses this as a tag line. Like many similar statements that our Founding Fathers made, it is powerful and is done in one short sentence: 

"In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends." - Martin Luther King Jr. 

I have to apply that to all the gun owners who enjoy the hard work and sweat that thousands of us are doing to protect their right to own a gun, while not lifting a finger themselves to help. 

If you haven't already done so, t's time to get off the fence and join VCDL in the battle for our future. Click here to join us: 

http://www.vcdl.org/join