VA Veto Session Highlights Need For Governors Who Respect The 2nd Amendment

By Christopher G. Kopacki, Ph.D.

Veto Blocked Rejected iStock-542578026
Veto Blocked Rejected iStock-542578026

Virginia’s General Assembly gathered in Richmond for the Reconvened Regular Session (or Veto Session). This is the one-day session when bills the governor either vetoed or sent back to the legislature with amendments can be taken back up. This veto session is more significant than usual for the firearm industry because Democrats, who currently control both the Senate and House of Delegates, passed dozens of antigun bills. They were on a mission to pass bills to strip away the Second Amendment rights of Virginians and punish the firearm industry. With much appreciation, Gov. Glenn Youngkin responded by vetoing all legislation that would have negatively impacted firearm and ammunition businesses.

Here’s a look at some of the defeated bills Democrats passed and were sent back to the General Assembly by Gov. Youngkin. The General Assembly was unable to override any of the governor’s vetoes.

  • SB 2 & HB 2 would ban the sale of many semiautomatic firearms classified as so-called “assault firearms.” The legislation would also ban standard capacity magazines, or those having a capacity of more than 10 rounds. NSSF’s recently-released research report conservatively estimates over 717 million such magazines produced since 1990, establishing beyond question they are commonly owned by law-abiding Americans.
  • SB 273 & HB 1195 would create an arbitrary and unconstitutional five-day waiting period for the purchase and transfer of firearms.
  • SB 327 would remove the right of young adults (18 to 20 years of age) to purchase certain semiautomatic rifles and shotguns. NSSF refers to this as an unconstitutional age-based gun ban.
  • SB 491 & HB 318 would create new civil liabilities for firearm industry members, specifically those engaged in the sale, manufacturing, distribution, importation or marketing of firearm-related products. These bills would also create a civil cause of action for the attorney general or local county or city attorney to enforce the provisions of the legislation. Such claims are preempted by the bipartisan Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA).
  • HB 351 would prohibit the transfer of a firearm from a licensed dealer unless the transferee purchases a locking device for the firearm if they reside in the same household as a child or complete a certification statement that they do not reside in the same household as a child. This bill disregards the fact that free locking devices are included in the package with every firearm shipped from a manufacturer and federal law already requires licensed dealers have such devices available for sale and must provide one when transferring a handgun.
  • HB 585 would implement statewide zoning restrictions that ban home-based licensed dealers from operating within 1.5 miles of an elementary or middle school. This bill would put many licensed dealers out of business.
  • HB 1174 would expand the definition of “assault firearms” while also unconstitutionally banning the sale of many Modern Sporting Rifles (MSRs) and those that would have been newly-designated as “assault firearm” to those under 21 years of age. The bill would have also codified into state law the minimum age to purchase a handgun as 21. That has come under scrutiny after a federal judge in Virginia ruled adults under 21 cannot be prohibited from purchasing a handgun.

To summarize, Democrats attempted to ban commonly-owned firearms and magazines, create new civil liabilities that would be weaponized against manufacturers and dealers, strip young adults of their rights, create unnecessary red tape to purchase a firearm and close responsible home-based businesses simply because they happen to be within an arbitrary distance of a school.

Democrats did not have the votes to override any of the governor’s industry-supported vetoes. NSSF thanks Gov. Youngkin and those legislators that stood up for the thousands of Virginians in the firearm industry and the millions of gun-owning Virginians it serves. NSSF will continue to actively engage here in Richmond. That doesn’t mean the work is done. Undoubtedly, many of these same bills, and some new ones, will be introduced next year.

About The National Shooting Sports Foundation

NSSF is the trade association for the firearm industry. Its mission is to promote, protect and preserve hunting and shooting sports. Formed in 1961, NSSF has a membership of thousands of manufacturers, distributors, firearm retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen’s organizations, and publishers nationwide. For more information, visit

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