VA Senate to hold hearing on SB268, a bill to wreck VA's preemption law

In tomorrow’s business the VA Senate Local Government Committee will hear debate on the matter of SB268, a bill that would destroy Virginia’s preemption laws with regard to firearms.

Preemption laws are those passed at a statewide level that preclude local governments – counties, cities, towns, and anything smaller – from passing laws restricting firearms ownership and carriage beyond those set by state law. In other words, what’s held legal at the statewide level is legal everywhere in the state. Such laws prevent a confusing morass of laws that catch citizens unaware. A Virginian exercising his 2nd Amendment rights legally carrying his firearm into a parking lot of the local county clerk’s office in Fairfax might do precisely the same thing in Loudoun and find himself charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor. Making a simple mistaken turn onto a local government-owned access road could put someone in violation of a law that they would only have known about if they read what is sure to be an eye chart of a sign at the county line.

The Virginia preemption law was put in place to prevent precisely such a situation. This is a bad law and the committee needs to hear that from all of us who are concerned about such things. Thanks to the NRA-ILA, I don’t have to go through and cull the data on which Senators are on that committee. They’ve done it for me.

State Senator Emmett W. Hanger, Jr. (R-24)

(804) 698-7524

State Senator Mark R. Herring (D-33)
(804) 698-7533

State Senator Mamie E. Locke (D-2)
(804) 698-7502

State Senator L. Louise Lucas- (D-18) – Committee Chair
(804) 698-7518

State Senator David W. Marsden (D-37)
(804) 698-7537

State Senator Henry L. Marsh, III (D-16)
(804) 698-7516

State Senator Stephen H. Martin (R-11)
(804) 698-7511

State Senator Mark D. Obenshain (R-26)
(804) 698-7526

State Senator Toddy Puller (D-36)
(804) 698-7536

State Senator Frederick M. Quayle (R-13)
(804) 698-7513

State Senator Wm. Roscoe Reynolds (D-20)
(804) 698-7520

State Senator Frank M. Ruff, Jr. (R-15)
(804) 698-7515

State Senator Ralph K. Smith (R-22)
(804) 698-7522  

State Senator Richard H. Stuart (R-28)
(804) 698-7528

State Senator Patricia S. Ticer (D-30)
(804) 698-7530

Or, click here for the whole list of them.

For those of us in the 33rd Senate District, please note that our Senator, Mark Herring, is on this committee. Please write to him, if not all of them, and make sure he understands your viewpoint. I fully expect him to ignore mine, of course, but I’m going to make sure his office gets it.



  1. Thank you, Ric, for this alert.

    SB 268 is a classic “Dillon Rule” grant of authority bill that provides an example of why this often-challenged rule of applied Virginia constitutional law makes sense and provides protections of key rights in many instances. Undoubtedly, Senator Whipple will argue that her bill will simply allow for Arlington County to enact local option firearm restrictions that its citizens want while allowing a jurisdiction such as Pittsylvania County to opt against the restriction.

    The problem with this concept is that liberties and protections allowed us all pursuant to the Bill of Rights (ie: Amendments I through X) should not be filtered through some kind of local option control. Moreover, a free enjoyment of those constitutional liberties should not require a Virginia citizen to check out local ordinances that may restrict those liberties when travelling around the Commonwealth.

    “If we are to keep democracy, there must be a commandment: Thou shalt not ration justice”

    -Judge Learned Hand (1872-1961)

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