Virginia Committee Passed HB 961 Today

Prohibiting sale, transport, etc., of assault firearms, certain firearm magazines, silencers, and trigger activators; penalties.

This article has been updated

Expands the definition of “assault firearm” and prohibits any person from importing, selling, transferring, manufacturing, purchasing, possessing, or transporting an assault firearm. A violation is a Class 6 felony. The bill prohibits a dealer from selling, renting, trading, or transferring from his inventory an assault firearm to any person. The bill also prohibits a person from carrying a shotgun with a magazine that will hold more than seven rounds of the longest ammunition for which it is chambered in a public place; under existing law, this prohibition applies only in certain localities. The bill makes it a Class 6 felony to import, sell, transfer, manufacture, purchase, possess, or transport large-capacity firearm magazines, silencers, and trigger activators, all defined in the bill. Any person who legally owns an assault firearm, large-capacity firearm magazine, silencer, or trigger activator on July 1, 2020, may retain possession until January 1, 2021. During that time, such person shall (i) render the assault firearm, large-capacity firearm magazine, silencer, or trigger activator inoperable; (ii) remove the assault firearm, large-capacity firearm magazine, silencer, or trigger activator from the Commonwealth; (iii) transfer the assault firearm, large-capacity firearm magazine, silencer, or trigger activator to a person outside the Commonwealth who is not prohibited from possessing it; or (iv) surrender the assault firearm, large-capacity firearm magazine, silencer, or trigger activator to a state or local law-enforcement agency.

The bill further states that any person who legally owns an assault firearm on July 1, 2020, may retain possession of such assault firearm after January 1, 2021, if such person has obtained a permit from the Department of State Police to possess an assault firearm in accordance with procedures established in the bill. A person issued such permit may possess an assault firearm only under the following conditions: (a) while in his home or on his property or while on the property of another who has provided prior permission, provided that the person has the landowner’s written permission on his person while on such property; (b) while at a shooting range, shooting gallery, or other area designated for the purpose of target shooting or the target range of a public or private club or organization whose members have organized for the purpose of practicing shooting targets or competing in target shooting matches; (c) while engaged in lawful hunting; or (d) while surrendering the assault firearm to a state or local law-enforcement agency. A person issued such permit may also transport an assault firearm between any of those locations, provided that such assault firearm is unloaded and secured within a closed container while being transported. The bill also provides that failure to display the permit and a photo identification upon demand by a law-enforcement officer shall be punishable by a $25 civil penalty, which shall be paid into the state treasury. The bill also requires the Department of State Police to enter the name and description of a person issued a permit in the Virginia Criminal Information Network (VCIN) so that the permit’s existence and current status will be made known to the law-enforcement personnel accessing VCIN for investigative purposes.

“Assault firearm” means:
1. A semi-automatic center-fire rifle that expels single or multiple projectiles by action of an
explosion of a combustible material with a fixed magazine capacity in excess of 10 rounds;

2. A semi-automatic center-fire rifle that expels single or multiple projectiles by action of an
explosion of a combustible material that has the ability to accept a detachable magazine and has one of
the following characteristics: (i) a folding or telescoping stock; (ii) a pistol grip that protrudes
conspicuously beneath the action of the rifle; (iii) a thumbhole stock; (iv) a second handgrip or a
protruding grip that can be held by the non-trigger hand; (v) a bayonet mount; (vi) a grenade launcher;
(vii) a flare launcher; (viii) a silencer; (ix) a flash suppressor; (x) a muzzle brake; (xi) a muzzle
compensator; (xii) a threaded barrel capable of accepting (a) a silencer, (b) a flash suppressor, (c) a
muzzle brake, or (d) a muzzle compensator; or (xiii) any characteristic of like kind as enumerated in
clauses (i) through (xii);

3. A semi-automatic center-fire pistol that expels single or multiple projectiles by action of an
explosion of a combustible material with a fixed magazine capacity in excess of 10 rounds;

4. A semi-automatic center-fire pistol that expels single or multiple projectiles by action of an
explosion of a combustible material that has the ability to accept a detachable magazine and has one of
the following characteristics: (i) a folding or telescoping stock; (ii) a thumbhole stock; (iii) a second
handgrip or a protruding grip that can be held by the non-trigger hand; (iv) the capacity to accept a
magazine that attaches to the pistol outside of the pistol grip; (v) a shroud that is attached to, or
partially or completely encircles, the barrel and that permits the shooter to hold the pistol with the
non-trigger hand without being burned; (vi) a manufactured weight of 50 ounces or more when the
pistol is unloaded; (vii) a threaded barrel capable of accepting (a) a silencer, (b) a flash suppressor, (c)
a barrel extender, or (d) a forward handgrip; or (viii) any characteristic of like kind as enumerated in
clauses (i) through (vii);

5. A shotgun with a revolving cylinder that expels single or multiple projectiles by action of an
explosion of a combustible material; or

6. A semi-automatic shotgun that expels single or multiple projectiles by action of an explosion of a
combustible material that has one of the following characteristics: (i) a folding or telescoping stock, (ii)
a thumbhole stock, (iii) a pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the shotgun, (iv)
the ability to accept a detachable magazine, (v) a fixed magazine capacity in excess of seven rounds, or
(vi) any characteristic of like kind as enumerated in clauses (i) through (v).

“Assault firearm” includes any part or combination of parts designed or intended to convert, modify,
or otherwise alter a firearm into an assault firearm, or any combination of parts that may be readily
assembled into an assault firearm. “Assault firearm” does not include (i) a firearm that has been
rendered permanently inoperable, (ii) an antique firearm as defined in § 18.2-308.2:2, or (iii) a curio or
relic as defined in § 18.2-308.2:2.

The committee will hear and decide whether to push the legislation to the full assembly today, in before a February 11th deadline.

These are the people on the and reminding them that the thousands and thousands who showed up to express their opposition to this egregious awful legislation that will do nothing to promote the general welfare of the Commonwealth is paramount.

UPDATE: The Committee Passed the Bill

It will now go into the full delegation, begin you efforts with the full swath of delegates, first with those who represent you if you are a Virginian.

Keith Finch
Keith is the Editor-in-Chief of GAT Marketing Group editor@gatdaily.com A USMC Infantry Veteran and Small Arms and Artillery Technician, Keith covers the evolving training and technology from across the shooting industry. A Certified Instructor since 2009 he has taught concealed weapons courses in the West Michigan area in the years since and continues to pursue training and teaching opportunities as they arise.