Virginia’s legislature may make it easier for people who killed or raped as teens to later possess or transport a gun. Ironically, this is being proposed at the same time that the legislature is restricting gun possession by law-abiding adults.
Legislation sponsored by senior Democratic legislators would raise the age for trying many juveniles as adults from 14 to 16. It would also change the law to allow certain 14 or 15-year-olds who commit “murder,” “rape,” or “kidnapping,” to later “possess or transport” a gun.
The bill, HB 274, would limit the reach of the Virginia law restricting “Possession or transportation of firearms, firearms ammunition, stun weapons, explosives or concealed weapons by convicted felons,” by crossing out the word “14” and replacing it with “16.” As revised, that law, § 18.2-308.2(A), would read: “It shall be unlawful for … (ii) any person adjudicated delinquent as a juvenile
14 16 years of age or older at the time of the offense of murder in violation of § 18.2-31 or 18.2-32, kidnapping in violation of § 18.2-47, robbery … in violation of § 18.2-58, or rape in violation of § 18.2-61 … to knowingly and intentionally possess or transport any firearm.”
The bill is sponsored by freshman Delegate Joshua Cole (D-Fredericksburg) and is co-sponsored by senior Democratic delegates like Patrick Hope (D-Arlington), Marcus Simon (D-Falls Church), and Kaye Kory (D-Falls Church), as well as two members of the State Senate. One of those legislators, Delegate Hope, heads the House of Delegates’s “Public Safety” committee. So there could be a good chance that this bill will become law.
While seeking to loosen restrictions on violent offenders, these delegates have supported additional restrictions on gun possession by law-abiding people. That includes bills that recently passed the Public Safety Committee limiting gun purchases to one per month, and delegating to local governments the power to restrict the possession or transporting of firearms by law-abiding people. The state senate has already passed the legislation limiting gun purchases to one per month, and the full House of Delegates is expected to do so soon.