Freshman Virginia Delegate Tim Anderson Aims at Gun Control

 

Freshman Delegate Tim Anderson (R-Virginia Beach) has pre-filed a suite of bills that, if enacted, will roll back many of Democrats’ gun control initiatives from recent years. Anderson’s four bills would eliminate fees for concealed handgun permits; reduce penalties for carrying concealed weapons without permits; remove the one handgun-a-month purchasing limit on people who don’t have permits; and remove authority for localities to implement their own gun bans on municipal property.

As far as the Second Amendment bills, I am seeking to revoke the nonsensical one-gun-a-month bill for non-concealed carry holders because there is no evidence to support that someone is more dangerous without a concealed carry permit than someone who has one,” Anderson said. “If you have a concealed carry permit, you can purchase an unlimited amount of firearms monthly, but without one you are limited to one handgun per month.”

Anderson is a gun store owner and lawyer who has launched multiple high-profile political lawsuits, and posts in-depth conservative policy explainer videos to Facebook.

Anderson’s HB 11 would reduce the penalty for a first concealed weapon violation from a class one misdemeanor to a civil penalty not more than $100, a second violation from a class six felony to a class two misdemeanor, and subsequent violations from class five felony to class one misdemeanor. It also allows people to apply for concealed handgun permits while charges for a violation are pending, which the defendant can then permit to the court to have the charges dismissed.

Anderson said, “Criminalizing a lawful gun owner because they have a gun in the wrong spot on their person or in their car is wrong. Thousands of Virginians face a year in jail, loss of firearm and a $2500 fine because the rules on conceal carry are so confusing. I have a bill to make a first offense conceal carry violation a civil penalty rather than a crime.”

“I am also seeking to revoke the disaster of allowing localities to make gun laws,” he said. “Gun laws need to be uniform for the entire state. Gun owners should not have to guess what a local ordinance may be in each jurisdiction.”

In addition to ending authority for local gun control bans, Anderson’s HB 26 changes the law around localities’ firearms buy-back programs. The bill requires localities to offer bought-back firearms for sale to firearms dealers; currently localities must destroy the firearm unless the owner surrendering the weapon asks the locality to sell it. HB 26 also curtails local and state government rights to sue firearms manufacturers. It is similar to SB 74, introduced by Senator Amanda Chase (R-Chesterfield.)

Repealing local gun control is a major target of gun-rights advocates in Virginia, and the Republican-controlled House will likely pass the bill or something similar. But HB 26 and SB 74 specifically target changes made by powerful Democratic Senator Scott Surovell’s 2020 SB 35, which incorporated bills from Senate Judiciary Committee Chair John Edwards (D-Roanoke) and Senator Creigh Deeds (D-Bath.)

To even get to the floor of the Democrat-controlled Senate, bills have to pass out of committee, including the Judiciary Committee. Moderate Democrats might help Republicans on some issues, but seem unlikely to budge on gun policy.

“I don’t believe that bill will pass in the Senate. I don’t believe there is any sentiment among my Democratic colleagues to roll back the reforms we passed,” Deeds told The Virginia Star in a statement.

Anderson has introduced 15 bills so far on a broad range of topics, many of them controversial.

Surovell told The Star, “Good to see Delegate Anderson is trying to break my 2010 record for most bills introduced first session as a freshman legislator. He will also easily break my record for most bills killed carried by a freshman legislator.”

Anderson said, “I want to have the opportunity to bring all of my bills to the Senate and fight for the people of Virginia. If the Senate kills some of them, they will have to look me in the eye when they do it and let them be on the record before the voters who will decide if their voting records reflect the values of Virginians.”

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Eric Burk is a reporter at The Virginia Star and The Star News Network.  Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Tim Anderson” by Tim Anderson. Background Photo “Virginia Capitol” by Doug Kerr. CC BY-SA 2.0.

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