Legislation to allow some emergency personnel in Virginia to carry a concealed weapon made it out of the Senate Courts of Justice Committee Wednesday night as Republicans defeated eleven gun control bills, including high-profile measures backed by Governor Ralph Northam (D). In an 8-6 party-line vote, the bill would ensure more protections for Virginia’s emergency personnel who put their lives on the line everyday.
Senate Bill 1012, introduced by Senator Amanda Chase (R-Chesterfield), would allow any firefighter or person employed as emergency medical services personnel, who was also previously employed as a law enforcement officer, a member of the Virginia National Guard, or the U.S. Armed Forces or reserves, to carry a concealed weapon throughout the Commonwealth without a permit.
While openly carrying a concealed handgun in Virginia does not require a permit, it is required for those concealing. The legislation states that a firefighter or any person employed as emergency medical services personnel must be approved to carry a concealed handgun by their fire chief or emergency medical services chief.
Senator Chase generated a serious buzz on Tuesday afternoon in the General Assembly building when presenting her bill in front of the Senate Privileges and Elections Committee while wearing her .38-caliber revolver in a holster on her right hip. She relayed that she was packing heat as result of an incident Monday afternoon in which Capitol Police were called after pro-immigration advocates confronted Senator Dick Black (R-Loudoun) after a hearing on legislation he patroned that would prohibit sanctuary cities from being established in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
“Sometimes it’s a deterrent for over-exuberant folks,” Chase said, according to a report from the Richmond Times-Dispatch. “Unfortunately, in the General Assembly we see the good, we see the bad, we see all types of things.”
“It’s just for personal safety, quite honestly,” she added.