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Thread: Gun bills dominate general assembly

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    http://www.collegiatetimes.com/stori...neral_assembly

    Gun bills dominate General Assembly




    Candace Sipos, CT news reporter
    Wednesday, April 23; 12:00 AM



    In this year's Virginia General Assembly session, which began Jan. 9, a flood of gun control-related bills attempted to make their way into Virginia state law.

    Some advocated fewer restrictions on gun ownership and transportation, while others called for more stringent gun control.

    Some legislation claimed to have nothing to do with the April 16 shootings, while other delegates and senators were open in suggesting that their bills could have prevented the events of April 16 and other similar events in the future.

    Delegate Mark Cole (R-Fredericksburg) presented a bill that would not allow state agencies to have stricter regulations on guns than state law. Although this year's attempt did not include universities, Cole introduced a bill last year that did. Since carrying concealed guns with a permit is legal on Virginia Tech's campus but against the college's rules, last year's bill would have prevented Tech from banning concealed carry. Both bills ultimately failed.

    The committee never took up Cole's legislation this year.

    "Part of it is just that the load of the committees, the number of bills that we have each year, just kind of overwhelms the process, so we always have some bills that get left out," Cole said. He added that a lot of people were "reluctant" to accept gun-related bills after April 16 because the issue was still very emotional.

    His attempt from last year would not have come into effect until July 1, 2007, but he believes such legislation could have helped last April.

    "If law-abiding citizens, faculty, or even adult students at Virginia Tech who had a concealed carry permit, if some of them had been carrying, perhaps the tragedy might not have been near as bad as it was," Cole said.

    University spokesman Larry Hincker said that although there are a lot of societal issues Tech could "pine on," firearms in classrooms is one that concerns the university.

    "We feel that they don't belong here and we've been consistent over time," Hincker said.

    A bill presenting a different side of the story came from Sen. Henry Marsh III (D-Richmond), whose dubbed "gun show loophole bill" was defeated 9-6 on Jan. 23.

    Since under current laws, only licensed dealers must perform background checks on potential firearm buyers at gun shows, felons and mentally ill individuals restricted from purchasing guns could potentially bypass such checks if buying from private sellers. Marsh wanted this oversight in the gun trade industry regulation closed.

    "We didn't make it this year, but I think we're going to keep building on what we've done and try again next year," Marsh said, adding that there is no one way to prevent a shooting similar to Tech's, but new legislation could help.

    Gov. Tim Kaine agreed.

    "The law does not allow people with mental illnesses to have weapons, and there's a very good reason for that," Kaine said. "If you give them an easy mechanism for them to access weapons without a background check, then you're undermining the clear public safety."

    Delegate Bob Marshall (R-Richmond) backed legislation that would have allowed faculty members to carry a firearm that they legally owned with a concealed carry permit on college campuses.

    "We weren't called for hearing," Marshall said. "The speaker didn't want to deal with it. They probably were nervous that we would have won."

    He said that in banning firearms from campuses, colleges' Boards of Visitors have made distinctions on who can and cannot carry concealed weapons that the legislature did not carve out.

    "They're acting like super legislators," Marshall said. "They weren't given that authority."

    The delegate added that he spoke with a police officer from a public college in Virginia who said when the next event happens that requires firepower, their force will not have enough guns.

    "We have these mass murderers on campuses and the response of leadership is to pass a bill letting people have concealed carry in restaurants," Marshall said. "That didn't seem subordinate to the situation we're faced with."

    Delegate C. Todd Gilbert (R-Woodstock) backed a similar bill in 2005 that would allow students to carry concealed weapons on campus. His legislation was stopped in committee. This session, Gilbert presented a bill that would restrict colleges' Boards of Visitors from stopping anyone with a concealed carry permit from carrying on state property.

    However, Kaine said that after speaking with a "number of campus police chiefs and other law enforcement officers," he disagrees with the rationale of concealed carry on campus.

    "Those who want to advocate for greater concealed carry on campus, they have a heavy burden of showing they were right given what I have heard from law enforcement professionals who do this every day," Kaine said.

    Most gun control bills did not make it into Virginia law. Only two main bills got past the legislature into the governor's hands, and both were vetoed.

    Neither would have affected college campuses, according to Cole. One would have allowed concealed carry permit holders to keep their gun in the glove box of a car instead of on a seat beside him or her. The other bill would let concealed carry permit holders possess firearms in restaurants that serve alcohol as long as they do not consume alcohol.

    "I thought both of those were very reasonable and responsible measures, and I was disappointed to see the governor veto them," Cole said.

    Philip Van Cleave, president of the Virginia Citizens' Defense League, suggested that he was disappointed with the governor.

    "The governor's all mixed up," Van Cleave said. "I think he's very confused about the whole issue himself."

    Van Cleave stated that America has tried having stricter gun control, especially in the last 30 years, but "decided it doesn't work and only restricts the law-abiding citizens," instead of criminals.

    When Van Cleave and his counterparts were lobbying legislators against gun control policies before April 16, he said, "it felt like we were in a race against time and time ran out for 32 students."

    Two days after the shootings, Kaine announced that former state police superintendent Gerald Massengill would lead a review of authorities' handling of April 16 events. Massengill said that after speaking with campus police, college officials and students, the panel decided that, "more guns on campus, just the idea of guns, doesn't appear to be a prudent thing."

    He said he was disappointed that the "gun show loophole bill" didn't pass, and explained that allowing concealed carry on campus may cause problems.

    "Police expressed concern that if we are called into a situation, it would be in the best interest of public safety to not have to figure out if the guy with the gun was a bad guy or good guy," Massengill said.

    However, he added that the panel's report stated, "it certainly could be reasonably argued that if someone had been on the second floor with a gun, Cho probably wouldn't have killed 30 people." He said bills such as these should be highly considered before passing or failing.

    "The issue is a difficult one," Massengill said.
    My favorite kaine quote: "Those who want to advocate for greater concealed carry on campus, they have a heavy burden of showing they were right given what I have heard from law enforcement professionals who do this every day," Kaine said.
    Peace through superior firepower

    Luke 11:21
    "When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are undisturbed.

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    I participated in a press conference in early-March in Richmond w/ Dels Gilbert and Marshall when they introduced their bills. I spoke thereand was representing Students for Concealed Carry on Campus. Gilbert and Marshall are good guys. They're helping us fight the good fight.

    One day, common sense and liberty will once againprevail over stupidity and tyranny.

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    ...former state police superintendent Gerald Massengill...said that after speaking with campus police, college officials and students, the panel decided that, "more guns on campus, just the idea of guns, doesn't appear to be a prudent thing."
    So I am sure we can safely assume that Mr. Massengill did NOT carry a concealed firearm at any point during his meetings or visits to any VA campus. Right ...

    Bah, who cares .... I hear Massengill is a ****** anyway.
    Bob Owens @ Bearing Arms (paraphrased): "These people aren't against violence; they're very much in favor of violence. They're against armed resistance."

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    "This session, Gilbert presented a bill that would restrict colleges' Boards of Visitors from stopping anyone with a concealed carry permit from carrying on state property."

    I thought this was covered under the preemption laws? (except VCU)

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    beradcee wrote:
    "This session, Gilbert presented a bill that would restrict colleges' Boards of Visitors from stopping anyone with a concealed carry permit from carrying on state property."

    I thought this was covered under the preemption laws? (except VCU)
    Colleges can expell students who carry. It's not against the law to carry their, just school policy.

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    mpg9999 wrote:
    Colleges can expell students who carry. It's not against the law to carry their, just school policy.
    Right. But only students or faculty no?? I was under the impression that someone who was only 'visiting'(not student or faculty) could not be asked to leave or disarm except on the campus for VCU. Or am I wrong??

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