The Virginia Senate has given preliminary approval to SB 240, a measure that would allow preemptive gun confiscation and possible criminal prosecution of individuals served with a “substantial risk” order.
The measure is an example of so-called “Red Flag” gun laws, where individuals who have not been charged with any crime can have their legally registered firearms forcibly removed after a court order.
SB 240’s advancement through the Senate comes just one day after a historic Lobby Day rally of unprecedented size, where tens of thousands of gun rights activists gathered to lobby against anti-Second Amendment legislation.
Virginia gun owners have voiced concerns that the state government may be willing to disregard the Bill of Rights in order to advance “gun safety” legislation, and many Virginia counties have passed their own Second Amendment Sanctuary laws.
Second Amendment sanctuary counties will refuse to comply with what they view as unconstitutional red flag laws, raising questions about what may happen if local police refuse to let state police enforce gun confiscation orders.
SB 240 also provides for a new government database to compiled the names and personal information of all persons served with a “substantial risk” order:
The bill provides that persons who are subject to a substantial risk order, until such order has been dissolved by a court, are guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor for purchasing, possessing, or transporting a firearm; are disqualified from having a concealed handgun permit; and may not be employed by a licensed firearms dealer.
The bill also provides that a person who transfers a firearm to a person he knows has been served with a warrant or who is the subject of a substantial risk order is guilty of a Class 4 felony. The bill creates a computerized substantial risk order registry for the entry of orders issued pursuant to provisions in the bill.
Second Amendment activists argue the creation of such a database violates civil liberties and is tantamount to an invasion of privacy.
Virginia’s beleaguered and highly unpopular Governor Ralph Northam is expected to support the red flag measures.