The Virginia Citizens Defense League has sent out a statewide alert to its members and Second Amendment activists about a Virginia Senate bill that penalizes people who leave a handgun in an unattended vehicle unless the vehicle is locked and the gun is in a locked container or compartment.
VCDL issued the alert to its members across the Old Dominion, advising them of the 8 a.m. hearing on Monday, Jan. 16 in Senate Committee Room A at the capitol.
Senate Bill 901 sets a civil penalty of up to $500, and the vehicle is deemed to be illegally parked and “may be subject to removal.” The bill is sponsored by Senators David Marsden, Jennifer Boysko and Ghazala Hashmi, all Democrats.
“This bill punishes the innocent victim of breaking and entering,” the VCDL says in its alert. “The car owner should not be considered to be at fault even if a criminal opens an unlocked car door. It is the criminal who is solely to blame. And it is absurd that the victim is punished if he did lock the car but did not lock the gun up in some other compartment or container, too. Punish criminals and stop harassing good people.”
According to the bill, “For purposes of this section, an “unattended motor vehicle” means a motor vehicle, trailer, semitrailer, or part or combination thereof that is left unattended on a public highway or other public property and the owner, operator, or any passenger of such motor vehicle, trailer, semitrailer, or part or combination thereof is unable to observe such motor vehicle, trailer, semitrailer, or part or combination thereof.”
It isn’t clear how far the legislation might go, with Republicans controlling the House and Republican Glenn Youngkin in the governor’s office.
VCDL is encouraging its members to contact their state senators.