July 1st marks the day that laws go into effect in several states. Thanks to pro-gun efforts in many states, many residents across the country will see many of their gun related rights restored to varying degrees.
The so-called “guns everywhere bill” (as it was called by anti-gunners) goes into effect today. The bill does the following:
One of the main points of the bill was to legalize the carry of lawful firearms in churches. Georgia is one of a minority of states that currently forbids licensed carriers from carrying in churches. This component of the bill ended up getting watered down and under this bill a church would have to “opt-in” to allow carry.
The bill does expand the right to carry to bars as well as some government buildings.
The bill also strengthens state preemption laws, preventing local governments from passing weapons/carry laws that are more strict than the states’.
- Removes fingerprinting for renewal of Weapons Carry Licenses (WCL).
- Prohibit the state from creating and maintaining a database of WCL holders.
- Create an absolute defense for the legal use of deadly force in the face of a violent attack.
- Remove the sweeping restrictions on legally carrying a firearm with a WCL in churches and bars, leaving this decision to private property owners.
- Lower the age to obtain a concealed WCL for self-defense from 21 to 18 for active duty military, with specific training.
- Allows for the use of firearm sound suppressors while hunting.
- Repeal the unnecessary and duplicative state-required license for a firearms dealer, instead requiring only a Federal Firearms License (FFL).
- Prohibit a ban on firearms in public housing, ensuring that the right to self-defense should not be infringed based on where one calls home.
- Codify the ability to legally carry, with a WCL, in sterile/non-secure areas of airports.
- Include a provision that would have the state report those persons who have been involuntarily hospitalized or have been adjudicated mentally deficient to the NICS system while also providing an ability for relief through an application process to the court system for the purpose of restoration of rights.
- State that under a declared state of emergency, all law-abiding gun owners will not have their Second Amendment rights restricted or infringed by executive authority through Emergency Powers protection.
- Strengthen current firearms preemption statutes through further clarification of the regulatory authority of local governments, excluding firearm discharge ordinances.
In addition to the above changes to carry and gun rights, hunters can now legally use silencers (aka suppressors) for hunting.
Virginia (via the NRA-ILA)
Sunday hunting legislation — Senate Bill 154, sponsored by now-former state Senator Phil Puckett (D-38), and House Bill 1237, sponsored by Delegate Todd Gilbert (R-15) and 39 colleagues — repeals the outdated ban on Sunday hunting on private lands with written permission from the owner while still prohibiting hunting within 200 yards of a house of worship, the hunting of deer with dogs and the hunting of bear. SB 154 was signed into law on April 1 and HB 1237 was signed into law on March 5.
Senate Bill 371, sponsored by Senator Jeffrey McWaters (R-8), allows the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries to issue hunting, trapping and fishing licenses valid for one full year from a future effective date. SB 371 was signed into law on March 17.
House Bill 127, sponsored by Delegate Ed Scott (R-30), allows persons to hunt big game with muzzleloading pistols of a caliber of .45 or greater where and in those seasons when the use of muzzleloading rifles is permitted. HB 127 was signed into law on March 5.
House Bill 307, sponsored by Delegate Scott Lingamfelter (R-31), permits local school boards to provide after-school hunter safety education programs for students grades seven through twelve, at the cost of the participant. HB 307 was signed into law on April 4.
House Bill 357, sponsored by Delegate Rich Anderson (R-51), allows a circuit court clerk to disclose information contained in a concealed handgun permit application to the applicant. HB 357 was signed into law on March 31.
House Bill 715, sponsored by Delegate Tommy Wright (R-61), establishes a new combined license for persons hunting with a bow and arrow or a crossbow. HB 715 was signed into law on March 5.
House Bill 752, sponsored by Delegate Tom Rust (R-86), gives a school board discretion in requiring expulsion for certain students found with a firearm on school premises. HB 752 was signed into law on April 7.
House Bill 1146, sponsored by Delegate Buddy Fowler (R-55), allows apprentice hunters to hunt unsupervised if they have completed a hunter education course. HB 1146 was signed into law on March 17.
Your NRA-ILA thanks you for your active involvement during the 2014 legislative session, which helped ensure these measures became law. As always, please stay tuned to www.nraila.org for future updates.
Mississippi (via the NRA-ILA)
House Bill 314, sponsored by state Representative Andy Gipson (R-Braxton) in the House and managed by state Senators Briggs Hopson (R-Vicksburg) and Sean Tindell (R-Gulfport) in the Senate, makes critical reforms to the state’s firearms preemption and emergency powers laws. This bill expands protections against the confiscation of legally-possessed firearms during a state of emergency or natural disaster, preserves the rights of residents of public housing to lawfully own and possess firearms, clarifies limits on the authority of municipalities and counties to restrict the carrying of firearms, establishes remedies for citizens who are adversely impacted by local ordinances enacted outside the scope of this authority, and prohibits the destruction of firearms acquired by local governments as a result of gun “buyback” programs. House Bill 314 was signed into law on March 27.
House Bill 764, sponsored by state Representative Joey Hood (R-Ackerman) in the House and handled by Senate Wildlife, Fisheries & Parks Committee Chairman Giles Ward (R-Louisville) in the Senate, exempts disabled veterans from initial and renewal concealed carry permit application fees. House Bill 764 was signed into law on March 6.
Senate Bill 2425, sponsored by state Senator Philip Moran (R-Kiln) in the Senate and carried by state Representative Jeff Smith (R-Columbus) in the House, creates an annual tax-free weekend on the individual sales of firearms, ammunition, archery equipment and certain hunting supplies. This year’s “sales tax holiday” will take place on September 5-7. Be sure to visit Mississippi retailers during this time and stock up on hunting and shooting supplies for the fall! Senate Bill 2425 was signed into law on April 2.
Senate Bill 1774 and Senate Bill 1777 will take effect in Tennessee. SB 1774, sponsored by state Senator Mike Bell (R-9), allows a law-abiding gun owner to carry a firearm in his or her own vehicle without a Handgun Carry Permit (HCP). Senate Bill 1774 was signed into law on May 1.
SB 1777, also sponsored by Senator Bell, amends Tennessee’s current hunter harassment laws by prohibiting anti-hunting radicals from using drones to interfere with those lawfully hunting or fishing. The use of drones by anti-hunting extremists, with the expressed intention of spooking wildlife or catching a hunter off-guard, is extremely dangerous and could potentially result in injury. This legislation will protect the rights and safety of hunters afield. Senate Bill 1777 was signed into law on April 4.
Maryland (via the NRA-ILA)
Multiple pro-hunting laws will go into effect. As previously reported, Senate Bills 472, 473 and 966 were signed into law on May 15:
Senate Bill 472, sponsored by state Senator George Edwards (R-1) and cosponsored by Senators Christopher Shank (R-2) and Ronald Young (D-3), allows any game bird or game mammal, except migratory game birds and wetland game birds, to be hunted on a Sunday on specified public and private land during the open season for that game bird or game mammal in Allegany, Garrett and Washington Counties.
Senate Bill 473, also sponsored by Senator Edwards and cosponsored by Senators Shank and Young, allows the hunting of deer on specified property from the first Sunday in October through the second Sunday of January in Frederick County.
Senate Bill 966, sponsored by state Senators Roy Dyson (D-29) and Thomas Middleton (D-28), establishes a program in Charles and St. Mary’s Counties to train rifle shooters to hunt deer for the purpose of controlling the deer population in those counties.
Indiana (via the NRA-ILA)
Tomorrow, July 1, Senate Bill 229 goes into effect. As previously reported, SB 229 protects law-abiding gun owners from becoming unintentional felons by allowing legally possessed firearms to be locked in a vehicle, out of plain sight, while parked on school property. SB 229 also prohibits the use of taxpayer dollars for gun “buybacks” and removes the misguided “roaming school zone” language set to return on the books tomorrow. Senate Bill 229 was signed into law by Governor Mike Pence (R) on March 26.