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Florida Action Report! Self-defense Bill in House Criminal Justice Comm.

NRA ILA -

The critically important self-defense bill, HB-245, was heard by the House Criminal Justice Committee on Wednesday, February 22, 2017, and PASSED 9-4.  Once again State Attorney Phil Archer, left his job in Brevard/Seminole County to travel to Tallahassee to testify against your self-defense rights and the constitutional rights of the citizens he was elected to serve in the 11th Judicial Circuit. 

Gunning for Hillary

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The NRA did just about everything right. It endorsed Trump last May when he was still just the de facto nominee. The goal was to persuade Second Amendment supporters who’d backed other candidates to unify behind him.

‘This is our time,’ Pence tells CPAC

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Mr. Pence was introduced by Chris Cox, executive director of the National Rifle Association’s legislative-lobbying arm.Mr. Cox said he was presenting Mr. Pence with CPAC’s Charlton Heston Courage Under Fire award, designated to recognize individuals who have demonstrated “courage, strength of character, and backbone in defending conservative values and principles.”

The Lawless 4th Circuit Decision on Maryland "Assault Weapon" Ban

Virginia Shooting Sports Association -

Earlier this week, the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals handed down a decision that guts both the Heller Decision and the 2nd Amendment.  As conservativereview.com noted after the decision:
Inevitably, the courts overlook the most foundational of rights that are written in plain English — the ones that serve as the foundation of our republic. Last week, it was a state court in Washington violating the property and conscience rights of those who don’t service homosexual ceremonies. Today, it is the courts infringing upon the one right that pre-dated the Bill of Rights and is written in the most unambiguous and absolute terms: “shall not be infringed.”

As is always the case, after conservatives secured a 2-1 victory at the Fourth Circuit last year against Maryland’s “assault weapons” ban, the full en banc panel upheld the law. In a 10-4 ruling – one which was full of vengeful rhetoric over Sandy Hook and ignorance of the distinction between a machine gun and a ‘scary looking’ semi-auto — the court ruled that Maryland could ban 45 commonly held weapons as well as magazines that hold more than 10 rounds. “We have no power to extend Second Amendment protection to the weapons of war that the Heller decision explicitly excluded from such coverage,” wrote a brazen Judge Robert B. King. Every Democrat appointee except for Judge William Traxler (who wrote the dissent) and one GOP appointee joined the majority opinion.The 4th Circuit used to be one of the most constitutional constructionist of the 11 circuits but the eight years of Obama have completely destroyed this court that covers the part of the nation that includes Virginia.  Yesterday, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz discussed the lawless nature of the decision at the annual CPAC conference.
VSSA Life Member and Second Amendment Attorney Steve Halbrook also discussed the decision on NRATV.com on Wednesday.  Halbrook said that no military in the world uses the rifles banned by Maryland; they are sporting rifles. He explained that the decision is filled with errors. There is a fundamental distinction between fully automatic and semi-automatic. Further, the en banc review abandoned strict scrutiny in favor of the intermediate scrutiny balancing test. It completely rejects the Heller decision. 

Once again we see the importance of elections and why we need to get behind President Trump to undo the damage done to the lower courts in the last eight years.

Legislative Update

Virginia Shooting Sports Association -

The Virginia General Assembly adjourns tomorrow and action on all of the firearm related bills is completed with the exception of the approval, amending, or rejecting by the Governor.  Governor Terry McAuliffe has already vetoed two self-defense related bills, one gun related and one knife related, and the House passed by the attempt to override that action until the reconvened session scheduled for April 5.

This year saw a number of bills that continue to create a separate class of citizens related to concealed handgun permits (CHP), adding retired conservation officers, former attorneys and assistant attorneys of the Commonwealth and retired probation, workers' compensation commissioners, and parole officers to those who can either carry concealed without a permit or who are exempt from the fees required to obtain a CHP.  What has basically occurred over the last several years is creating a group of retired law enforcement personnel that get exemptions from the requirements that the rest of of have to follow.  This could all be avoided if the General Assembly would pass Constitutional Carry, giving Virginians the option to carry without a permit, while preserving the permit process so that those who want to carry outside of Virginia can still do so.  Bills doing just that were approved by the two main committees that deal with firearm related matters, only to be sent to the money committees to be killed.  This must end!

There were some important bills that did pass, two, as mentioned above have already been vetoed, and others are awaiting action by the Governor.  Those bills are:

HB 1432 Carrying a switchblade knife; exception. Authorizes any person to carry a switchblade knife concealed when such knife is carried for the purpose of engaging in a lawful profession or lawful recreational activity the performance of which is aided by the use of a switchblade knife. The bill removes switchblade knives from the list of weapons the selling, bartering, giving, or furnishing of which is a Class 4 misdemeanor. - Vetoed by Governor, House will attempt override on April 5, 2017.

HB 1466 Renewal of concealed handgun permits; notice. Provides that if a clerk has an electronic system for the application for and issuance of concealed handgun permits and such system has the capability of sending electronic notices to a permit holder, the clerk shall send the permit holder an electronic email notice that the permit will expire at least 90 days prior to such expiration. Approved by Governor Effective July 1, 2017

HB 1582 Concealed handgun permits; age requirement for persons on active military duty. Allows a person at least 18 years of age but less than 21 years of age to apply for a concealed handgun permit if he is on active military duty or has received an honorable discharge from the United States Armed Forces or the Virginia National Guard and has completed basic training as a part of his military service. Vetoed by Governor, House will attempt override on April 5, 2017

HB 1852 Carrying concealed handguns; protective orders. Authorizes any person 21 years of age or older who is not prohibited from purchasing, possessing, or transporting a firearm and is protected by an unexpired protective order to carry a concealed handgun for 45 days after the protective order was issued. Approved by House and Senate, Governor has until March 27 to act.

HB 1853 Victims of domestic violence, etc.; firearms safety or training course. Creates the Virginia Firearms Safety and Training for Sexual and Domestic Violence Victims Fund. The bill provides that the Department of Criminal Justice Services may distribute funds from the Fund to reimburse an entity that offers a firearms safety or training course or class approved by the Department free of charge to victims of domestic violence, sexual abuse, stalking, or family abuse. Approved by House and Senate,  Governor's Action Deadline Midnight, March 27, 2017.

HB 2325 Application for a concealed handgun permit; photo identification. Requires applicants for a concealed handgun permit to present one valid form of government-issued photo identification issued by a governmental agency of the Commonwealth or by the U.S. Department of Defense or U.S. State Department (passport). The bill removes the requirement that the application be made under oath before a notary. Governor's Action Deadline Midnight, February 24, 2017

HB 2369 Concealed handgun permit; change of address. Replaces the requirement that a concealed carry permit holder present proof of a new address with a requirement that the permit holder present written notice of the change of address on a form provided by the Department of State Police for a court to issue a replacement concealed handgun permit due to a change of address. Governor's Action Deadline Midnight, February 24, 2017

SB 1023 Concealed handgun permits; sharing of information. Prohibits sharing of information regarding Virginia concealed handgun permits in the Virginia Criminal Information Network with law enforcement in states that do not recognize a Virginia concealed handgun permit as valid in the state. The bill requires the Department of State Police to maintain and publish online a list of states that recognize a Virginia concealed handgun permit as valid in the state. The bill does not create a private cause of action. Approved by House and Senate,  Governor's Action Deadline Midnight, March 27, 2017.

SB 1299 Carrying concealed handguns; protective orders. Authorizes any person 21 years of age or older who is not prohibited from purchasing, possessing, or transporting a firearm and is protected by an unexpired protective order to carry a concealed handgun for 45 days after the protective order was issued.   Governor's Action Deadline Midnight, March 27, 2017
SB 1300 Victims of domestic violence, etc.; firearms safety or training course. Provides that the Department of Criminal Justice Services may distribute funds from the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Victim Fund to reimburse an entity that offers a firearms safety or training course or class approved by the Department free of charge to victims of domestic violence, sexual abuse, stalking, and family abuse. The bill also requires that, upon the issuance of a protective order, the petitioner for the order be provided with a list of such approved courses or classes. Governor's Action Deadline Midnight, March 27, 2017
Legislation similar to SB1023, HB1852/SB1299 and HB1853/SB1300 all passed in 2016 but were all vetoed by the Governor.  Gun owners should contact the Governor and urge him to sign all of these bills.  Also contact your Delegate and Senator and urge them to override the Governor's veto of HB 1432 and HB 1582.
Finally, as has been the case for over 20 years, all of the gun ban lobby supported legislation was defeated this year, all during the first half of the session.  We have been able to kill bad legislation but the Governor has vetoed a number of good bills during his three years in office.  If we want to go on the offensive and enact good legislation, we need to elect a pro-rights Governor, Lt. Governor and Attorney General this year.  That is what is at stake in this year's statewide elections.

Hawaii: Anti-Gun Legislation Passes Committee

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SB 898, sponsored by state Senator Ronald Kouchi (D-8), would permanently strip an individual of their Second Amendment rights, not based on a criminal conviction or mental adjudication, but based on a quasi-criminal proceeding.  The bill allows for firearms to be seized based on an ex-parte warrant application based on the low evidentiary standard of probable cause.  An individual is entitled to a hearing, however that hearing may not take place for up to 30 days.  At the hearing, the seized firearms can be retained and a permanent firearm prohibition can be put in place, not because of a disqualifying offense but merely the risk of one.  No one wants dangerous individuals to have access to firearms; however, this is not about dangerous people.  This bill sets to ignore the normal rules of criminal procedure in order to promote the anti-gun agenda of the political elites and others.

Arkansas: Your Urgent Action Needed to Ensure Flawed Campus Carry Bill is Amended!

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After being amended on the Senate floor and in the Senate Judiciary committee, HB 1249 now includes an excessive 16 hour training requirement, a patchwork of prohibited places and an arbitrary campus carry age limit of 25.  As amended, NRA does not support HB 1249.  However, state Senator Linda Collins-Smith has filed an NRA-supported amendment that would strip the unnecessary additional training mandate and the unacceptable age restriction from HB 1249, making it a true campus carry bill.  Please contact your state Senator TODAY and urge them to support Senator Collins-Smith’s amendment! 

Iowa: Pro-Gun Bill Passes Subcommittee

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Today, House Study Bill 133, the omnibus bill which would make many pro-gun reforms for Iowa gun owners, passed its subcommittee hearing.  HSB 133 will now go to the full House Judiciary Committee for further consideration.  Please contact the House Judiciary Committee members and urge them to support this important legislation!

West Virginia: Sunday Hunting Legislation Passes Committee

NRA ILA -

Today, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed Senate Bill 345.  Sponsored by state Senator Mark Maynard (R-6) SB 345 seeks to expand Sunday hunting opportunities on private land with written permission.  Currently, West Virginia allows hunting on Sundays in some counties on some private land.

California: Important Amicus Briefs Filed in Support of Petition for Supreme Court Review in Peruta Carry Case

NRA ILA -

In January, NRA and CRPA’s attorneys filed a petition with the United States Supreme Court asking the Court to review the case of Peruta v. California, which seeks to confirm that the Second Amendment protects the right to carry a firearm for self-defense.  Last week, a number of important amicus curiae briefs were filed in support of Plaintiffs’ petition urging the Supreme Court to take the case. 

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