By TJ Martinell
A bill filed in the Virginia House for the 2023 legislative session would make it legal for Virginians to carry a firearm without a license.T he enactment of a so-called “constitutional carry” bill would also foster an environment more hostile to federal gun control.
Del. Marie E. March (R) prefiled House Bill 1393 (HB1393) on Nov. 30. The proposed law allows “any person who is otherwise eligible to obtain a concealed handgun permit to carry a concealed handgun without a permit anywhere he may lawfully carry a handgun openly within the Commonwealth.”
Currently, Virginia gun owners must apply to a city or county circuit court for a permit in order to conceal carry it in public under most circumstances.
The bill revises a section of state law regarding prohibited concealed weapons to include the following:
For the sole purpose of carrying a concealed handgun, any person who carries a handgun anywhere he may lawfully carry a handgun openly within the Commonwealth and who is otherwise qualified under this article to obtain a concealed handgun permit.
EFFECT ON FEDERAL GUN CONTROL
While permitless carry bills do not directly affect federal gun control, the widespread passage of permitless conceal carry laws in states subtly undermines federal efforts to regulate guns. As we’ve seen with marijuana and industrial hemp, a federal regulation becomes ineffective when states ignore it and pass laws encouraging the prohibited activity anyway.
The federal government lacks the enforcement power necessary to maintain its ban, and people will willingly take on the small risk of federal sanctions if they know the state will not interfere. This increases when the state actively encourages “the market.”
Less restrictive state gun laws will likely have a similar impact on federal gun laws. It will make it that much more difficult for the feds to enforce any future federal gun control, and increase the likelihood that states with few limits will simply refuse to cooperate with federal enforcement efforts.
State actions such as passing HB 1393 would lower barriers for those wanting to the option of defending themselves with firearms and encourages a “gun-friendly” environment that would make federal efforts to limit firearms that much more difficult.
HB1393 will be officially introduced when the Virginia legislature convenes on Jan. 11. At that time, it will be referred to a committee where it must get a hearing and pass by a majority vote before moving forward in the legislative process.