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VA:Senate special panel likely to kill House bills expanding gun rights

Discussion in 'Carry Issues' started by RussP, Mar 4, 2010.

  1. RussP

    RussP Super Moderator Moderator

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    http://voices.washingtonpost.com/virginiapolitics/2010/03/senate_special_panel_likely_to.html

    Senate special panel likely to kill House bills expanding gun rights

    The chairman of the Senate Courts of Justice Committee this morning announced that he was creating a special subcommittee to hear a collection of bills dealing with guns that have passed the House of Delegates, including a proposal to repeal Virginia's law limiting handgun purchases to one a month.

    The committee's membership leaves little doubt as to the outcome: Chaired by Democrat Sen. Toddy Puller (D-Fairfax), the committee will also include Democrats Sen. Janet Howell (D-Fairfax) and Sen. Louise Lucas. Each have a long history of opposing such bills. The only Republican serving on the subcommittee will be Sen. Fred Quayle, who said recently he does not favor repealing the one-gun-a-month law.

    Sending the bills to a subcommittee takes advantage of a new practice of the Senate to allow the smaller group of senators to kill bills without requiring a vote of the full committee. The House has long operated under such rules. After years of moaning about how the House often failed to give its proposals the consideration of full committees, the Senate this year decided to follow the House lead and adopt a similar practice.

    Sending the gun bills to a subcommittee ensures the bills will be killed by senators from safe districts, whose voting history on gun issues is well established. It spares Democrats on the full committee who sometimes vote for such bills a tough vote that could hurt their reelection efforts.

    Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (D), the party's former gubernatorial nominee, for instance, will likely not have to cast a vote on the one-gun-a-month issue. He had said during the campaign that he would not veto a repeal of the bill but as a delegate in the 1990s, he had backed the adoption of the measure.

    Sen. Chap Petersen (D), who represents a swing Fairfax district, will also not have to weigh in. Petersen supported a measure earlier in the session to allow restaurant patrons to carry concealed weapons in establishments that serve alcohol, as long as they do not drink. Petersen said recently that he opposed repealing the one-gun-a-month law.

    Courts Committee Chairman Henry Marsh (D) denied protecting Senate voting records was a motivation for creating the subcommittee. Instead, he said he was aiming to "expedite" the work of the committee. Without sending the bills to subcommittee, he said the committee would not be able to complete its docket this year.

    The special subcommittee is scheduled to meet Thursday.

    CORRECTION: As a state delegate, Creigh Deeds voted against Virginia's one-gun-a-month purchase limit and has always opposed the law. Our apologies for the error.

    By Rosalind S. Helderman | March 1, 2010; 12:44 PM ET
     
  2. RussP

    RussP Super Moderator Moderator

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    In response to email sent by a Virginia GT member, his Senator replied:
     

  3. HerrGlock

    HerrGlock Scouts Out CLM

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    It seems a lot of the comments in these pages contain references to the Rules of the Senate for VA, specifically the rule where subcommittees shall make recommendation to the full committee. Doesn't seem like it's optional to send it on to the full committee. Should be interesting.

    http://hodcap.state.va.us/publications/SenateRules.pdf

    20 (h). The Chair of any Committee may appoint subcommittees to consider a particular bill or resolution or to consider matters relative to a portion of the work of the Committee. Such subcommittees shall make recommendations to the Committee. The Chair of the full Committee shall be an ex officio member of all subcommittees and entitled to vote, but shall not be counted as a member for purposes of a quorum. All subcommittees shall be governed by the Rules of the Senate.
     
  4. Yellowfin

    Yellowfin

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    It's like gerrymandering on demand. Only slimier.
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2010
  5. HerrGlock

    HerrGlock Scouts Out CLM

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    http://voices.washingtonpost.com/virginiapolitics/2010/03/va_senate_panel_begins_killing.html
    Va. Senate panel kills House bill that would have repealed gun purchase limit

    A specially formed Virginia Senate subcommittee voted to kill a bill that would have repealed the state's 17-year-old law banning the purchase of more than one gun a month.

    The panel voted along party lines 4-1 to table HB49, sponsored by Del. L. Scott Lingamfelter (R-Prince William).

    As the Virginia General Assembly's annual session winds down, it has been dominated largely by two issues: guns and budget cuts. While Republicans and Democrats battled over closing a $4 billion hole in the state budget, gun-rights and gun-control supporters fought over one of the largest numbers of gun bills to move through the state Capitol in years.

    The most closely watched effort involved Lingamfelter's attempt to repeal the gun-a-month law. He argues that improvements in computerized federal background checks and large numbers of exemptions to the law, including more than 214,000 Virginians with concealed weapons permits, have made it obsolete.

    Only four states have a gun-a-month law. South Carolina became the first in 1976, followed by Virginia (1993), Maryland (1996), California (2000) and New Jersey (2010). South Carolina repealed its ban in 2004. Gun-control supporters in Pennsylvania, led by Gov. Edward G. Rendell when he was Philadelphia's mayor, tried to pass such a law but failed.

    Gov. Robert F. McDonnell had said he would sign the gun-a-month repeal in the unlikely event the measure reached his desk.

    "The Governor is a strong supporter of the 2nd Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens, and he will strongly defend the constitutional rights of Virginians to keep and bear arms," a McDonnell spokeswoman said.

    The Senate panel also killed a proposal dealing with police-sponsored gun buyback programs soon after convening.

    Several police officers from cities such a Richmond and Newport News spoke against HB108, sponsored by Del. Mark L. Cole (R-Fredericksburg), saying it would effectively end gun buyback programs.

    And the subcommittee voted to table a bill that would ban employers from prohibiting a lawful gun owners from storing weapons in a locked vehicle at their place of employment.

    Business groups, including the Virginia Chamber of Commerce, said the bill, HB171, sponsored by Del. Brenda L. Pogge (R-York) would infringe on their rights to impose sensible workplace rules.

    Majority Leader Richard L. Saslaw (D-Fairfax) on Wednesday was not shy about saying that a special subcommittee in the Senate Courts of Justice would effectively serve as an elephant graveyard to bury a host of gun-related bills passed by the Republican-controlled House.

    Saslaw also acknowledged that the subcommittee was a form of revenge against its counterpart in the state Capitol and would kill several bills passed by the entire House just as House subcommittees have killed bills adopted by the entire Senate.

    "We're going to do just like the House did," Saslaw said. "If it's good enough for them, it's good enough for us."

    Lawmakers from both parties and both the House and Senate criticized the escalating tit-for-tat skirmishing by which committees composed of a handful of lawmakers in one chamber can kill bills passed by large majorities on the other side of the Capitol.

    Among the bills before the Senate Courts' special subcommittee was the attempt to undo the landmark gun-control measure in Virginia. The bill, HB49, sponsored by Lingamfelter (R-Prince William), would repeal Virginia's 17-year-old ban on buying more than one handgun a month. Another gun bill before the panel was Del. Charles W. Carrico Sr.'s bill, HB69, that would fend off federal regulation of any firearms and ammunition made, sold and possessed in Virginia.

    The gun-a-month repeal passed the full House by a vote of 61-37; the bill immunizing Virginia-made arms and ammo passed the same body by 70-29

    A few bills that were not related to firearms were also docketed in the subcommittee, including HB15, a measure sponsored by Del. Robert G. Marshall (R-Prince William) that would prohibit Virginia from holding any federal terrorist suspects in correctional facilities. Another is HB1197, sponsored by Del. Sal R. Iaquinto (R-Virginia Beach), that would require first-time drunken driving offenders to install an Breathylizer-like ignition-locking device on their vehicles.

    Republicans and gun-rights supporters, citing Senate Rule 20, said the subcommittees could only make "recommendations" on legislation, not kill them outright.

    But Saslaw countered that the bills would die because he and Sen. Henry L. Marsh III, the Richmond Democrat who chairs the full Senate Courts of Justice Committee, want them to die. As committee chairman, Marsh has discretion about what bills he wishes to docket for the full committee, Saslaw said.

    "If the chairman doesn't want to put it on the docket, he won't have to do it," Saslaw said. And he suggested that there was little aggrieved Republicans or gun-rights supporters could do about it.

    "They have no appeal," an agitated Saslaw said. "This is not a court of law. It's a committee."

    The subcommittee's members include Democratic Sens. Janet D. Howell of Fairfax, L. Louise Lucas of Portsmouth, Linda T. "Toddy" Puller of Fairfax, and Marsh--all of whom have been supporters of gun-control. The sole Republican is Frederick M. Quayle of Chesapeake.

    Sen. Mark D. Obenshain (R-Harrisonburg) said before the panel met that both Democratic and Republican senators who support gun rights are concerned about Saslaw's maneuver to kill the gun bills. Obenshain said it would mark the first time in his seven years in the Senate that bills passed by the House would not be heard by the full committee. He also said Republicans were already studying the parliamentary rule book and weighing their options.

    -- Fredrick Kunkle
     
  6. RussP

    RussP Super Moderator Moderator

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    How pathetic...