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Virginia governor signs gun bills into law

[JURIST] Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe [official website] on Friday signed [press release] gun safety measures into law that will prevent domestic abusers and certain types of criminals from owning and carrying guns. The laws will still allow individuals to have concealed-carry permits from any state. However, the new laws will require domestic abusers to surrender their weapons with 24 hours of being subject to a protective order or face a "class 6 felony" [text]. The laws will be the strictest gun laws in the nation. Senator Bryce Reeves [personal website] stated "Today's bill signing culminates a month of bipartisan work and good governance on behalf of all Virginians. The bills signed today protect Virginians' constitutional rights and make our Commonwealth safer. I am proud to have carried Senate Bill 610 this year, protecting the rights of 421,000 law-abiding Virginians who hold concealed carry permits. I am glad to have the Governor's support on this measure with his signature today."

Gun control [JURIST backgrounder] and the Second Amendment continue to be controversial national topics, and gun awareness has risen in the wake of recent shootings across the nation. Last month US President Barack Obama announced executive actions [JURIST report] on gun control requiring those in the business of selling firearms, including those selling firearms at gun shows, to be licensed and background checked. In December the US Court of Appeals for the District of Colombia Circuit vacated [JURIST report] a lower court ruling that found that a DC gun law requiring a concealed carry permit outside of the home may violate the constitution. In October Maine's revised concealed carry law went into effect [JURIST report] allowing legal gun owners to carry concealed weapons without a permit. Earlier that month the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit upheld [JURIST report] the main parts of Connecticut and New York gun control legislation that ban semiautomatic weapons and high-capacity magazines. In September the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit issued a mixed ruling [JURIST report] on DC gun laws, ultimately upholding six and striking down four controversial elements of the Firearms Registration Amendment Act and the Firearms Amendment Act of 2012. The laws were created in response to the Supreme Court striking down [JURIST report] a DC law prohibiting firearm ownership in 2008.

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