General Assembly okays bills granting greater authority to localities for control of firearms

March 16, 2020

The General Assembly has approved legislation pertaining to expanded control of firearms by local governments.

SB 35 (Surovell)/HB 421 (Price) authorizes any locality to adopt an ordinance to prohibit the possession or carrying of firearms, ammunition, or components in:

  • Any building, or part thereof, owned or used by such locality for governmental purposes;
  • In any public park owned by the locality; or
  • In any public street, road, alley, sidewalk or public right-of-way or any other place of whatever nature that is open to the public and is being used by or is adjacent to a permitted event or an event that would otherwise require a permit.

In addition, this legislation repeals certain code provisions limiting the authority of localities and state governmental entities to bring lawsuits against certain firearms manufacturers and others. Finally, the bill also provides any firearm received by the locality pursuant to gun buy-back program shall be destroyed by the locality unless the person surrendering such firearm requests in writing that such surrendered firearm be sold.

SB 35/HB 421 passed both chambers of the General Assembly and have now been communicated to the Governor’s office.  Governor Ralph Northam has until April to sign or amend this legislation.

VACo Contact: Chris McDonald, Esq.

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