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Legislation permitting gun-free zones on school board property moves on with exceptions

Delegate Suhas Subramanyam’s legislation permitting the establishment of gun-free zones on school board property has passed out of subcommittee with amendments.

HB 1909 (Subramanyam) would allow any school board to deem any property that it owns or leases outside of school zones as a gun-free zone and may prohibit any individual from knowingly possessing any firearm while such individual is upon such property.  Current law permits the establishment of gun-free zones on school property, and this legislation extends this authority to property owned or leased by a school board but not actually in a school zone, such as school board offices.

HB 1909 was heard in the Firearms Subcommittee of the House Public Safety Committee on January 19, where a substitute was introduced.  The substitute clarifies exceptions to the proposed prohibition. The new language stipulates that the proposed prohibition “shall not apply to (i) any law-enforcement officer; (ii) any retired law-enforcement officer qualified to carry firearms pursuant to subsection C of § 18.2-308.016; (iii) any individual who possesses an unloaded firearm that is in a closed container in or upon a motor vehicle or an unloaded shotgun or rifle in a firearms rack in or upon a motor vehicle; or (iv) any individual who has a valid concealed handgun permit and possesses a concealed handgun while in a motor vehicle in a parking lot, traffic circle, or other means of vehicular ingress to or egress from the school board property.”

With this amended language, HB 1909 made it out of subcommittee by a vote of 6-2.  The bill will now be heard by the full Public Safety Committee.

VACo Contact: Chris McDonald, Esq.

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