Virginia Delegate’s Bill Would Restore Preemption Authority

State preemption laws have been adopted in more than 40 states (with Washington leading the way almost 40 years ago). Pre-filed legislation in Virginia seeks to restore legislative control over firearm regulation in the Old Dominion. (Dave Workman)

U.S.A.-(AmmoLand.com)- A Republican delegate in the Virginia legislature has pre-filed a bill that would “remove a locality’s authority to prohibit the possession or carrying firearms in public parks and community centers owned by the locality, as well as public streets, alleys and sidewalks,” as noted by the Washington Examiner.

House Bill 1427 is sponsored by Delegate Dave LaRock, who is joined by fellow Republican Del. Phillip A. Scott and Republican Sen. Amanda F. Chase.

Speaking to Ammoland News, LaRock said ceding authority for regulating firearms to local governments “ignores the benefits (of) continuity of laws throughout the states.”

As reported by TheGunMag.com, state preemption is likely to be targeted in Washington State—one of the original preemption states—because if their model law can be taken down, anti-gunners will likely try challenging the laws in some 40 other states, many of them modeled after the Evergreen State’s 1985 statute.

The bill’s text is straightforward:

“No locality shall adopt or enforce any ordinance, resolution, or motion, as permitted by § 15.2-1425, and no agent of such locality shall take any administrative action, governing the purchase, possession, transfer, ownership, carrying, storage, or transporting of firearms, ammunition, or components or combination thereof other than those expressly authorized by statute. For purposes of this section, a statute that does not refer to firearms, ammunition, or components or combination thereof shall not be construed to provide express authorization.

“Nothing in this section shall prohibit a locality from adopting workplace rules relating to terms and conditions of employment of the workforce. However, no locality shall adopt any workplace rule, other than for the purposes of a community services board or behavioral health authority as defined in § 37.2-100, that prevents an employee of that locality from storing at that locality’s workplace a lawfully possessed firearm and ammunition in a locked private motor vehicle. Nothing in this section shall prohibit a law-enforcement officer, as defined in § 9.1-101, from acting within the scope of his duties.

“The provisions of this section applicable to a locality shall also apply to any authority or to a local governmental entity, including a department or agency, but not including any local or regional jail, juvenile detention facility, or state-governed entity, department, or agency.

“B. Any local ordinance, resolution, or motion adopted prior to July 1, 2004, governing the purchase, possession, transfer, ownership, carrying, or transporting of firearms, ammunition, or components or combination thereof, other than those expressly authorized by statute, is invalid.”

The concept of state preemption has always been clear, and always more than a mere annoyance to the gun control lobby. By prohibiting local governments from enacting their own gun control ordinances—which may be confusing or contradictory—it prevents the creation of a “checkerboard” effect across a state. This opens gun owners to vulnerability as they travel through various jurisdictions which could put them in violation of a local gun law. This discourages other gun owners from exercising their right to bear arms, according to preemption law supporters.

According to the Washington Examiner, LaRock’s bill has not yet received a committee assignment.

LaRock confirmed in his telephone conversation the General Assembly remains divided, with GOP control of the House of Delegates and Democrat control in the Senate. Gov. Glenn Youngkin is also a Republican, so if the legislation passes, he could sign it.

LaRock noted that eliminating preemption laws can give anti-gunners in state legislatures “a little cover” if local municipalities adopt restrictions, allowing state lawmakers to tell their angry constituents “that decision was made locally.”

He suggested proponents of local gun control typically believe more control is better.

But the argument in favor of rolling back the gun control laws adopted during the final year of the previous administration, headed by former Gov. Ralph Northam, is simple. LaRock said the question that must be asked is “Did the measures you passed work?” His analysis is that they didn’t.

Virginia’s 2023 session begins Jan. 11 in Richmond. Since this will also be an election year in the legislature, what happens with gun legislation could have an impact on how some of those races turn out in November.

Youngkin’s term, however, continues to January 2026.


About Dave Workman

Dave Workman is a senior editor at TheGunMag.com and Liberty Park Press, author of multiple books on the Right to Keep & Bear Arms, and formerly an NRA-certified firearms instructor.

Dave Workman

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musicman44mag

Looks like this state needs to take a page from Montana’s playbook and straighten out the cities that think they can write their own restrictive rules.

Rowboat

In Virginia, preemption is a political football ; we have had preemption, in the past under Republican administrations, only to be overturned by Democrat administrations when they have the power. So, what occurs is a cluster fork every couple of years after elections!
The ONLY way to permanently fix this political hot potato is via a State Constitutional Amendment.
Right now Republicans hold the Executive and the House, but not the Senate, so this bill will not even get to the gun friendly Governor’s desk.
What is tolerated will continue.

Raconteur

My thoughts, too. I’ve been writing/talking to my delegate & senator about a CA for well over a year.

Rowboat

The Democrats have held sway for several years, so any talk about a CA would be stymied until we have a clear majority in both houses of state legislatures. I too have been in contact with my delegate , Ranzone, on gun issues and expect to meet with her at the VCDL Lobby Day event in a couple of weeks .

Steve

First – Hat’s off to Representative LaRock. Secondly, putting those DemoRats on notice these laws they pass are NOT forever. Lastly, that local restrictions and “ordnances” are in fact a nightmare. If I ever won the Mega Millions or Powerball Lotto – and lived in a state like that, I would be dedicated to funding as many lawsuits as humanly possible against those counties, municipalities or townships that violate the residents right to keep and BEAR arms.

DIYinSTL

Yep, there would be a great deal of satisfaction in writing 8 figure checks to SAF and GOA while telling the NRA “too bad, so sad.”

KDad

Last year, Colorado killed their preemption law, and some cities immediately banned “assault weapons” and “high capacity magazines”. Following the bans, they were declared Unconstitutional and we are right back to square one. This was a slight-of-hand that the DemocRAT controlled Colorado legislature thought they could pull off without anyone noticing. They were wrong! We noticed!!