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The Franklin News-Post
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
540-483-5113
Fax: 540-483-8013

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Legislators mull school safety, gun control bills

Friday, January 25, 2013

By CHARLES BOOTHE - Staff Writer

Two bills in the General Assembly would require a resource officer to be placed in every school in each school division in Virginia.

In the Senate, SB1240 would require every school board throughout the commonwealth to coordinate with the local law enforcement agency to provide at least one school resource officer for every public elementary school within the district.

The bill provides that funding for these school resource officers will be provided through the general appropriation act and not by any locality or school board.

That bill has been referred to the Senate Finance Committee.

In the House, HB1730 would require each local school board to establish a collaborative agreement with local law enforcement agencies to employ one full-time uniformed school resource officer in every school in the local school division.

That bill is in the Standards of Quality education subcommittee.

Like most school divisions in the state, Franklin County already has an armed resource officer at the high school and the middle school, but none in elementary schools.

Another House bill, HB1582, would permit any armed security officers, licensed by the Department of Criminal Justice Services, to carry firearms onto school property if such officer is hired by the school to provide protection to students and employees.

The bill, which has been assigned to a House Militia, Police and Public Safety subcommittee, would also prohibit the Board of Social Services from adopting any regulations that would prevent a child day care center from hiring an armed security officer.

The frequency of reviews of safety procedures in schools may change as well.

HB2171 would require each local school board to conduct a school safety audit and review its school crisis, emergency management, and medical emergency response plans bimonthly. Under current law, each local school board is required to complete such tasks annually.

That bill has been assigned to the Teachers and Administrative Action education subcommittee.

A bill related to the mental health issue and reporting someone who may have a problem has been referred to the House Militia, Police and Public Safety subcommittee.

HB2263 provides that certain persons shall be required to report to law enforcement whenever they see, hear, receive, or otherwise have communicated to them that an individual intends to inflict death or serious bodily injury on himself or any other person.

Failure to provide such report for threats involving violent felonies shall be a Class 1 misdemeanor.

The bill also provides that law enforcement officers may temporarily seize the firearm or ammunition of an individual who indicates his intent to inflict death or serious bodily injury on himself or another person.

The so-called "gun show loophole" was front and center for legislators this year.

A Senate bill that would require background checks at gun shows was killed in the Senate Courts of Justice Committee Wednesday.

Similar bills in the Senate have also been defeated in committee, as well as other proposed gun control legislation.

SB1148 would have prohibited any person from selling, bartering, or transferring a firearms magazine designed to hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition. It was defeated in the Courts of Justice Committee.

A House bill related to large capacity magazines has been assigned to the Militia, Police and Public Safety subcommittee. HB2251 provides that any person, corporation, or other entity that manufactures, imports, possesses, purchases, sells, or transfers any large capacity magazine shall be subject to a $1,000 fine.

But the bill provides for exceptions to the prohibition, including the owner's registration with the Department of State Police following a criminal history record information check.

The bill also provides that a registrant is limited to three high capacity magazines and must otherwise dispose of all magazines in excess of the limit. Finally, the bill outlines the registration process for anyone who owns a large capacity magazine.

Contact your representatives in the Virginia General Assembly to share your opinions on these and other issues:

•Sen. Bill Stanley, email district20@senate.virginia.gov or call (804) 698-7520.

•Del. Charles Poindexter, email delCPoindexter@house.virginia.gov or call (804) 698-1009.

•Sen. Ralph Smith, email district19@senate.virginia.gov or call (804) 698-7519.

•Del. Kathy Byron, email DelKByron@house.virginia.gov or call (804) 698-1022.

To follow bills throughout the session, visit virginiageneralassembly.gov. and click on 2013 Session Tracking, Bills and Resolutions.

 
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