With only two days left in the 2014 regular legislative session, Governor Terry McAuliffe (D) has made his first attempt to limit the legal use of firearms in Virginia by returning an amendment to House Bill 962 that would further restrict how handguns may be stored in vehicles.
Sponsored by Delegate Ben Cline (R-24), HB 962 would codify an Attorney General opinion from 2012 (see here), and a decision of the Virginia Court of Appeals from last year, Doulgerakis v. Com., 737 S.E.2d 40 (Va. Ct. App. 2013). House Bill 962 has passed in the House of Delegates by a 70 to 27 vote as well as in the Senate by a 27 to 13 vote.
This opinion and decision both found that a handgun in a vehicle doesn’t have to be in a locked compartment in the motor vehicle to fit within a statutory exception to the concealed carry prohibition that allows for a person without a permit to conceal a firearm within a secured compartment or “secured” container within a motor vehicle.
The McAuliffe amendment seeks to contradict the opinion and ruling by forcing drivers to keep firearms in a “locked” container rather than being allowed to secure those firearms in a container without a lock as they have lawfully been doing for years.