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Thread: Pre-1987 Preemption

  1. #1
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    With my fiancée and I moving to Norfolk/Virginia Beach now two weeks from today, I was looking over the VCDL website and saw a letter from the Loudoun city attorney which caught me by surprise. It makes mention of how laws passed prior to 1987 are/were considered to still be valid and enforceable (in this case dealing with city parks)... I was under the impression that Virginia has complete preemption, so the recent date of 2003 for this letter struck me as strange to say the least.

    So, I wanted to make sure that a) Virginia does indeed have full preemption, and b) when did this change? I couldn't find the answers via search, so thank you in advance to all who know the truth of the situation!

  2. #2
    Regular Member possumboy's Avatar
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    Looks like the update for § 15.2-915 does not have the exception that was quoted in the that letter (http://www.vcdl.org/letters/Loudon.pdf).

    Maybe it was removed in the 2003 or 2004 revisions.



    Current§ 15.2-915.

    http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp...0+cod+15.2-915

    § 15.2-915. Control of firearms; applicability to authorities and local governmental agencies.

    A. No locality shall adopt or enforce any ordinance, resolution or motion, as permitted by § 15.2-1425, and no agent of such locality shall take any administrative action, governing the purchase, possession, transfer, ownership, carrying, storage or transporting of firearms, ammunition, or components or combination thereof other than those expressly authorized by statute. For purposes of this section, a statute that does not refer to firearms, ammunition, or components or combination thereof, shall not be construed to provide express authorization.

    Nothing in this section shall prohibit a locality from adopting workplace rules relating to terms and conditions of employment of the workforce. Nothing in this section shall prohibit a law-enforcement officer, as defined in § 9.1-101 from acting within the scope of his duties.

    The provisions of this section applicable to a locality shall also apply to any authority or to a local governmental entity, including a department or agency, but not including any local or regional jail or juvenile detention facility.

    B. Any local ordinance, resolution or motion adopted prior to the effective date of this act governing the purchase, possession, transfer, ownership, carrying or transporting of firearms, ammunition, or components or combination thereof, other than those expressly authorized by statute, is invalid.

    (1987, c. 629, § 15.1-29.15; 1988, c. 392; 1997, cc. 550, 587; 2002, c. 484; 2003, c. 943; 2004, cc. 837, 923.)

  3. #3
    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    A brief response is that Virginia has had full preemption since the preemption law was passed - localities canot write firearms laws (except for such tangental issues as discharging firearm within city/town limits, hunting, etc.)

    The laws that were on the books prior to state preemption remain in effect because the General Assembly (most likely) could not void local laws. Virginia follows the "Dillon Rule" which essentially means that governance is controlled by the General Assembly and any unit of local government (city, county, town) may only do those things the General Assembly has specifically granted them the authority to do. This also applies to state agencies, but is not enforced with the vigor that is used against city/county/town lawmakers - see for example the mess we are in over the legality of open/concealed carry on college campuses, and the use of Virginia Administrative Code by Virginia Commonwealth and George Mason Universities to write their own laws.

    In spite of this, I think you will like Virginia. Hook up with the Tidewater folks for a open-carry dinner as soon as you can. It's a great way to meet folks, find out where to shoot, bash local governments, and eat good food. I can;t remember if the newbies buy dinner or ammo.

    stay safe, and a preemptive "welcome to Virginia,"

    skidmark
    "He'll regret it to his dying day....if ever he lives that long."----The Quiet Man

    Because stupidity isn't a race, and everybody can win.

    "No matter how much contempt you have for the media in all this, you don't have enough"
    ----Allahpundit

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the replies... I had thought I had read the law correctly, but a little outside knowledge always helps!

  5. #5
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    possumboy wrote:
    Looks like the update for § 15.2-915 does not have the exception that was quoted in the that letter (http://www.vcdl.org/letters/Loudon.pdf).

    Maybe it was removed in the 2003 or 2004 revisions.
    The grandfathering date in § 15.2-915 was removed effective July 1, 2004 by HB 483 after being incorporated into HB 530.
    ---

  6. #6
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    Welcome To Va Beach

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