Bills would allow deadly force against intruders


Delegate Dickie Bell, R-Staunton, is sponsoring two bills that would empower Virginians to use lethal force against an intruder in their home.

House Bill 47 would grant civil immunity to anyone who injures or kills someone while defending their home from another person who has posed a threat of injury to the other or has entered the home unlawfully.

House Bill 48 would enshrine in Virginia law the “Castle Doctrine” that about 30 other states have. The bill would allow the use of physical or deadly force in someone’s home if an intruder has committed an “overt act against him.”

Both bills have been referred to a subcommittee of the House Courts of Justice Committee. HB 48 is scheduled for consideration by the subcommittee next Monday [Jan. 23].

Andy Goddard, director of the Virginia Center for Public Safety, said bills like Bell’s are attempting to fix a problem that doesn’t exist.

“Nobody is finding themselves at the wrong end of the law. ... Nobody is being prosecuted for defending their home,” said Goddard, father of a victim of the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting.

Both bills grant an across-the-board exemption and, according to Goddard, leave too much room for potential misuse of the law.

“What about a messy divorce? One partner invites the other over to pick up something, shoots them and then says, ‘Well, we had a messy divorce, he or she started shouting and threatening, I was afraid and I shot.’ You get away with murder,” Goddard said.

The Virginia Citizens Defense League, which supports Second Amendment rights, has chosen to stay neutral on both bills. Instead, the group has asked that a state commission conduct a study before such legislation is passed.

“We think that probably that should be a more comprehensive bill,” VCDL president Philip Van Cleave said Monday at the organization’s lobby day at the state Capitol.

“Right now, Virginia law is extremely good, and we’re concerned that if it’s not done right, it can actually make it worse.”

With Republicans controlling both the House and Senate, this could be an important year for gun rights supporters.

“I think it is more in our favor than it has been in the past three or four years,” Van Cleave said. “I’m optimistic that some of the bills that have died before will probably make it this time.”

So far, legislators have introduced 36 bills that would affect state gun policy. Six of them were drafted by the VCDL.

“This is where the rubber meets the road,” U.S. Senate candidate Jamie Radtke said at VCDL’s lobby day.

“Republicans say they’re conservative and say they’re for the Second Amendment. It’s easy to say that when you know things are going to get killed in committee and you’re not going to have to deal with the issues.”

The true test comes now that Republicans are in charge of the General Assembly, said Radtke, a leader in Virginia’s tea party movement. “We’ll see if they’re going to vote the way they say they believe.”
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Glen Allen native serves aboard Navy’s most advanced submarine


A 2007 Deep Run High School graduate and Glen Allen, Virginia native is serving in the U.S. Navy as part of a crew working aboard one of the world’s most advanced ballistic missile submarines, USS Tennessee, Gold Crew.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael Uhl, a machinist’s mate, serves aboard the Kings Bay-based boat, one of 14 Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines.

As a machinist's mate, Uhl is responsible for operating and maintaining the auxiliary engineering equipment aboard the submarine. > Read more.

Fresh Air Fund seeks host families


The Fresh Air Fund, a program through which nearly 4,000 children from low-income New York City communities spend a summer with host families in communities along the East Coast and in southern Canada, is seeking hosts for the coming summer.

According to the organization, there is no such thing as a “typical” host family. First-time Fresh Air children are boys and girls, from seven to 12 years old. Children who are reinvited by host families may continue with The Fresh Air Fund through age 18 and can enjoy extended trips. > Read more.

Godwin student wins in statewide STEM essay contest

Governor Terry McAuliffe and the Virginia Council on Women announced recently that Morgan Logsdon of Mills E. Godwin High School was one of five statewide winners of the sixth-annual STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Essay Contest for young women enrolled in their junior or senior year of high school.

The Council on Women established the contest to award scholarships to high school junior and senior young women who plan to pursue STEM careers at institutions of higher education. > Read more.

Varina meeting May 2 to address opioid crisis in Henrico


Varina District Supervisor Tyrone E. Nelson will hold a Community Conversations meeting Tuesday, May 2 to discuss the opioid epidemic in Henrico County.

The meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. at the Henrico Theatre, 305 E. Nine Mile Road. Nelson will be joined by County Manager John A. Vithoulkas and members of the Henrico Heroin Task Force for a discussion of heroin and opioid abuse and ways to prevent it. > Read more.

Baker ES to remain closed until fall


Baker Elementary School students will complete the 2016-17 school year at other locations and will return to a restored building in fall 2017, school leaders have decided.

The decision was made in order to provide ample time for repairs to be completed at the fire-damaged school and to avoid additional interruptions to instructional time. > Read more.

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April 2017
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Kickstart your “Weekend on Wednesday” at Short Pump Park’s W.O.W. every Wednesday in April from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Entertainment will be provided by Out on a Limb (Apr. 5), Tom Devil and the Wizard (Apr. 12), Stonebrook (Apr. 19) and Jonathan Austin (Apr. 26). Local food trucks will offer dinner while kids explore the new playground and four-legged friends run in the dog park. For details, email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Full text

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