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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McShin Academy expanding to St. Joseph’s Villa


Two Lakeside-area nonprofits are partnering to create what is believed to be the first recovery high school in Virginia.

The McShin Academy will be a joint effort of the McShin Foundation (a recovery community organization based at Hatcher Memorial Baptist Church in Lakeside) and St. Joseph's Villa (a 183-year-old nonprofit on Brook Road that provides a variety of services for children with special needs). > Read more.

Reynolds CC dedicates student center


Reynolds Community College recently celebrated the dedication of the Jerry and Mary Owen Student Center, named for longtime supporters of the college who have made numerous investments in it.

Jerry Owen served on the Reynolds College Board from 1984 to 1988, and he and his wife support the college’s scholarship fund and created an endowment for the Reynolds Middle College, which helps students earn a high school equivalency and transition into a degree or workforce credential program. > Read more.

Capital One sponsors ‘Coders Experience’


Capital One hosted its “Coders Experience” event in Richmond and a number of other state locations Oct. 14. The events attracted hundreds of middle school girls, who learned how to create their own mobile apps, hone problem-solving skills and gain software development knowledge. A second day of Coders Experience events will take place Oct. 21. More than 500 Capital One volunteers are participating in the 10 events. > Read more.

Hermitage band member named All-American


The U.S. Army All-American Bowl Presented by American Family Insurance Selection Tour will visit Hermitage H.S. Oct. 19 to recognize Truman Chancy as a 2018 U.S. Army All-American. Hermitage High School will honor Chancy before his classmates, bandmates, family and friends at the high school’s band room during band practice, and he will be presented with his honorary All-American Marching Band jacket. > Read more.

Crime Stoppers’ Crime of the Week: Oct. 16, 2017


This week, Metro Richmond Crime Stoppers is asking for the public to assist the Richmond Police Department in the identification of wayward artists that were using buildings as their canvas.

In the early morning hours of Sept. 14, four people were recorded on security cameras vandalizing multiple properties in the area of the 2500 blocks of West Main Street and Floyd Avenue. The suspects (pictured) were walking north on Robinson Street and spray painting the properties as they meandered along. > Read more.

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October 2017
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Join the Pocahontas Chapter of the Virginia Native Plant Society at 4 p.m. to learn about conservation landscaping on a corporate level. In an introductory talk, Juliellen Sarver of Stone Brewery will share Stone's successes and lessons learned as they developed their native landscape; it is information that can easily be used for home landscaping. Following the talk, there will be a tour of the patio landscape and natural areas. The brewery is located at 4300 Williamsburg Rd. Arrive at least 15 minutes early as the talk will start promptly. Anyone with an interest in native landscape is welcome, from novice to expert. To register, contact Leslie Allanson at 335-5866 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Full text

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