“This winter in Richmond was the fourth-warmest on record, the National Weather Service said today. The weather service defines winter as December through February. Norfolk also posted its fourth-warmest winter.”—
RICHMOND – With the stroke of his pen Tuesday, Gov. Bob McDonnell removed the limit on how many handguns Virginians can buy each month.
McDonnell, a Republican, signed legislation repealing the 19-year-old law prohibiting the purchase of more than one handgun per month. The repeal takes effect July 1.
The limit had been enacted in 1993 by then-Gov. L. Douglas Wilder, a Democrat. Legislators were responding to reports that guns purchased in Virginia were used in crimes in other states.
Democrats criticized the efforts to repeal the limits.
“Despite what supporters of this bill say, this bill will make it easier for gunrunners to export violence from Virginia,” said Sen. Barbara Favola, D-Arlington.
She had voted against both of the measures McDonnell signed: House Bill 940, sponsored by Republican Delegate L. Scott Lingamfelter of Woodbridge, and Senate Bill 323, sponsored by Republican Sen. Charles Carrico of Galax.
Carrico, Lingamfelter and other supporters of the legislation argued that the one-gun-a-month limit has been ineffective and that it merely hinders law-abiding citizens, not criminals. They also said instant background checks on gun buyers have eliminated the need for the limit.
Families of the victims of the April 2007 Virginia Tech shootings asked McDonnell to veto the legislation eliminating the gun-purchase limit. McDonnell spoke with victims’ families during a telephone conference call.
During the call, the governor said he felt he had a duty to support the Second Amendment.
Some Democrats felt the same way and also voted to repeal the limit on buying handguns.
“I don’t see the reason why someone would need to own a gun a month. I don’t think there’s any reason for a person to have to buy a gun a year. But the fact is the Second Amendment guarantees people have a right to own and possess firearms unless they’re disqualified somehow,” said Sen. Creigh Deeds, D-Charlottesville.
Part of the RVA Journalist “BedandBreakfast” series
At work, we’ve discussed the perils of other inns — a horse dying while towing a carriage full of guests and catching a groom and the mother of the bride “swimming together” in a pool — but the case of the smelly tub was something we didn’t expect for our own lodge.
A couple was very displeased the other day to find that the gorgeous claw-footed tub in the nicest of our rooms was omitting a foul stench from the drain. The problem was fixed as soon as it was brought to our attention and several gifts and generous discounts were given, but one can only wonder what causes a hundred-year-old home to do things such as this.
Richmond, I know we just met, but I’m feeling things I’ve never felt before.
Things I just have to say…
I’ve lived in other cities, but I’ve never met anyone like you.
You’re different, special, just downright more live-able than anywhere else I’ve ever been.
Richmond, I hope you don’t think I’m being too forward….but let me count the ways I think you’re just, well, just awesome:
The Fan and Museum District – You’re beautiful and historic. I can rent a great apartment in one of your pre-War houses and walk to restaurants, bars and parks. You’re like Brooklyn or Old Town – but quieter, more austere. And definitely more affordable.
Monument Avenue – You’re the only street in the nation to be designated a National Historic Landmark.
The River – What other city has a Class IV rapid river running right through it? I ask you.I love Belle Isle, Pony Pasture, the amazing James River Park System. Summer, winter, fall and spring, there’s always something new to see.
Cheap rent. In Richmond, you can literally rent the entire floor of an antebellum house in the city for a fraction of the cost you’d spend on a closet in Brooklyn.
The Restaurant Scene. I love your restaurants. I love all the little Fan bars with exposed kitchens and tin ceilings. I love the foodies and the occasional snobberies and just the really good food from the Fan to Church Hill…heck, even to Short Pump. (Peter Chang’s anyone?)
The Art Scene. You have Ed Trask murals painted on your city’s buildings. You have art galleries and free museums and the incredible Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. You’ve got the #1 art school in the country. And plus, you’re crawling with artists in skinny jeans…and who doesn’t think art is sexy?
The Farmer’s Markets. In the spring and summer, you’ve got a farmer’s market for almost every day of the week. In every neighborhood. Bursting with fresh produce, home-made cheese, delicious food and even wood-fired pizza (hello Pizza Tonight!).
Location. You’re 20 minutes from everything. No matter where you are, you’re within 20 minutes driving distance of downtown, retail shops, the river, Costco, whatever. Plus, the beach and the mountains are just a short drive away. (And sure, I might be head over the heels for you, Richmond, but driving to D.C. still sucks.)
Independent Shops: I love your bookstores, your clothing stores, your record shops (Save Plan 9) and basically every little spot in Carytown and beyond. You’ve got personality, Richmond. And that’s what makes you a fun place to live.
Drinking. Seriously. But Richmond, you serve a mean happy hour. Three dollar drinks?! I’ll take them. And several of them, please.
I won’t say it, but I interviewed a guy once who said he moved here for cigarettes. Because cigarettes are cheaper. That’s just a side note. Somebody else’s love letter.
Still, Richmond, I have to say it…
I think I love you.
Let’s take this relationship to the next level. I can’t believe I’m going to say this…
I’ve never said this to any other city before, but I’m ready to make a commitment, I’m ready to take the leap…
Richmond, let’s do this. Let’s make this official. Let’s buy a house!
Bloggers, did you hear? Virginians soon may be able to purchase more guns than they can carry, all in one buy – for the first time in almost two decades. With the exception of law enforcement officials and some concealed-weapon permit holders, a 1993 state law has prohibited the purchase of more than one gun every 30 days. On Monday, the Senate passed a bill to revoke this law; the House had approved a similar measure last week. Sen. Bill Carrico, the chief patron of Senate Bill 323 and a long-time advocate for the right to bear arms, called the existing law “unnecessary and outdated.” He said Monday’s 21-19 vote was a victory for the Second Amendment. Carrico, a Republican from Galax in the southwestern tip of Virginia, said that technology negates the need for the state’s limit on gun purchases and that law-abiding citizens will benefit from such a change. “Advanced technologies like instant background checks have made gun restrictions like this counter-productive,” said Carrico, a retired state trooper. “Over the years, it has become obvious that ‘one gun a month’ only affected responsible gun owners and didn’t deter criminals from obtaining handguns.” Critics of lifting the limit on buying guns in Virginia said the change would create problems not only in the commonwealth but in other states as well. A 2010 report by Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a group founded by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, ranked Virginia among the top suppliers of guns linked to crimes in New York. “We’ve learned in the past that making it real easy to purchase guns has led Virginia guns to be used inordinately in crimes in New York City,” said Sen. Adam Ebbin, D-Alexandria. He added that he hopes “the ability to purchase more than 12 guns per year,” if passed, does not affect crime rates in or out of state. Former Virginia Gov. L. Douglas Wilder signed the one-gun-a-month limit into law in 1993. “I am very disappointed in the General Assembly’s actions toward repeal of one of Gov. Doug Wilder’s signature achievements,” said Tim Kaine, another previous governor. Kaine is now the Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate. “I was also disappointed to see that at least two of the individuals in this U.S. Senate race, George Allen and Bob Marshall, have already voiced support for repeal of this legislation,” Kaine said. He called on the current governor, Republican Bob McDonnell, to reject bills to repeal the one-gun-a-month rule. “I strongly urge Gov. McDonnell to veto this legislation and urge all of Virginia’s leaders in Richmond to renew their commitment to a focus on jobs and the economy,” Kaine said. McDonnell has indicated that he would sign the repeal measure. The 40 senators are evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans. Nineteen Republicans and two Democrats – Sens. Creigh Deeds of Bath County and John Edwards of Roanoke – voted in favor of SB 323. The remaining 18 Democrats were joined by one Republican, Sen. Thomas Norment of Williamsburg, in voting against the bill. Carrico’s bill was co-sponsored by Republican Sens. Richard Black of Sterling, Thomas Garrett of Bumpass and Bryce Reeves of Fredericksburg. Deeds said he voted for the bill on constitutional grounds. “I don’t see the reason why someone would need to own a gun a month. I don’t think there’s any reason for a person to have to buy a gun a year, but the fact is the Second Amendment guarantees people have a right to own and possess firearms unless they’re disqualified somehow,” Deeds said. “I think the limit by the government is arbitrary. I voted against it in ’93. Since 1993, since it became a law in Virginia, so many holes have been poked in it, so many exceptions have been made, that it doesn’t apply really to anybody except the people that are going to obey the law anyway. “I think that people that intend on violating the law are going to find ways around it to get weapons. Nobody should be surprised at my vote on that issue. Anybody that has studied my voting record or studied what I’ve said about the issue knew exactly how I was going to vote.” SB 323 now goes to the House for consideration. The House has already passed its own measure to repeal the one-gun-a-month limit – House Bill 940, sponsored by Republican Delegates Scott Lingamfelter of Woodbridge, Todd Gilbert of Woodstock and Bob Marshall of Manassas. On Feb. 1, delegates voted 66-32 in favor of the bill – with Republicans overwhelmingly for it and Democrats overwhelmingly against it. HB 940 is now before the Senate Courts of Justice Committee. ### On the Web Here is how the Senate voted Monday on “SB 323 Handguns; eliminates prohibition on purchasing more than one in a 30-day period.” Floor: 02/06/12 Senate: Read third time and passed Senate (21-Y 19-N) YEAS – Black, Blevins, Carrico, Deeds, Edwards, Garrett, Hanger, Martin, McDougle, McWaters, Newman, Obenshain, Reeves, Ruff, Smith, Stanley, Stosch, Stuart, Vogel, Wagner, Watkins – 21. NAYS – Barker, Colgan, Ebbin, Favola, Herring, Howell, Locke, Lucas, Marsden, Marsh, McEachin, Miller, J.C., Miller, Y.B., Norment, Northam, Petersen, Puckett, Puller, Saslaw – 19.
Here is how the House voted on Feb. 1 on “HB 940 Handguns; eliminates prohibition on purchasing more than one in a 30-day period.” Floor: 02/01/12 House: VOTE: PASSAGE (66-Y 32-N) YEAS – Anderson, Bell, Richard P., Bell, Robert B., Byron, Cline, Cole, Comstock, Cosgrove, Cox, J.A., Cox, M.K., Crockett-Stark, Dudenhefer, Edmunds, Fariss, Farrell, Garrett, Gilbert, Greason, Habeeb, Head, Helsel, Hodges, Hugo, Iaquinto, Ingram, Joannou, Johnson, Jones, Kilgore, Knight, Landes, Lewis, Lingamfelter, Loupassi, Marshall, D.W., Marshall, R.G., Massie, Merricks, Miller, Minchew, Morefield, Morris, O’Bannon, O’Quinn, Orrock, Peace, Pogge, Poindexter, Putney, Ramadan, Ransone, Robinson, Rush, Scott, E.T., Sherwood, Stolle, Tata, Villanueva, Ware, R.L., Watson, Webert, Wilt, Wright, Yancey, Yost, Mr. Speaker – 66. NAYS – Albo, Alexander, BaCote, Brink, Bulova, Carr, Dance, Englin, Filler-Corn, Herring, Hope, Howell, A.T., James, Keam, Kory, LeMunyon, Lopez, May, McClellan, McQuinn, Morrissey, Plum, Rust, Sickles, Spruill, Surovell, Torian, Toscano, Tyler, Ward, Ware, O., Watts – 32. NOT VOTING – Purkey, Scott, J.M. – 2. ###
RICHMOND, Va. – For the average person, the sky is no longer the limit, but you might just have to be dead first.
Delegate Terry Kilgore, R-Gate City, is proposing a bill to provide tax breaks to Virginia residents who send their cremated remains into outer space.
Under House Bill 19, Virginians would get an income tax deduction if they entered a prepaid contract with a commercial space flight entity “to place the taxpayer’s human cremated remains into earth or lunar orbit from a spaceport facility operated by the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority.”
The tax break would be in effect from 2013 through 2020. Eligible taxpayers could deduct from their taxable income up to $2,500 in any one year and up to $8,000 total.
While the measure may seem a bit out of this world, it has a down-to-earth purpose: to boost economic development.
The Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority operates the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport, or MARS, on Wallops Island on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. Incentives like tax breaks for “space burials” will help launch the fledgling industry.
It’s an idea both Republicans and Democrats can agree on.
The chief patron of HB 19 is Kilgore, who represents House District 1, which includes Lee and Scott counties, the city of Norton and part of Wise County in southwest Virginia.
The bill’s co-sponsor is Delegate Lynwood W. Lewis Jr., a Democrat who represents House District 100, which includes the Eastern Shore and parts of Norfolk and Virginia Beach.
Kilgore and Lewis hope that HB 19 will boost interest in space exploration since NASA’s space shuttle program ended in July. They also hope it will spark business at the spaceport on Wallops Island.
The spaceport is gearing up for that business.
“What I can tell you is, we’re very busy on our end getting our new launch pad complete. I am aware of the market for space burial, and I certainly think it’s a good idea,” said Rick Baldwin, spaceport manager at MARS.
Other companies also think space burials are a good idea.
Celestis, based in Houston, began offering “memorial spaceflights” to the public in 1997. The organization currently offers the service of launching a canister of remains into space and having it return to Earth for $995. For $2,995, remains can orbit Earth. Moon orbit is available for $9,995.
In 2014, Celestis will begin releasing remains into “deep space.” The price: $12,500.
According to CBS6 News, about half of Richmond sees it as vandalism.
"Someone put up placards of famous slaves and civil rights pioneers on all the monuments on my street last night, and now there are groups of old white men holding confederate flags around them. My room mates and I are trying to put together a last-minute army of queers to go yell at them, so if you’re in RVA and available you should come over!" - girl-germs Dec. 16, 2011, 2:13 p.m.
(Tumblr) staff: “This weekend, we hosted a meeting at Tumblr HQ with top technology companies, politicians and advocacy groups to coordinate our effort to reform or prevent the well-intentioned but deeply flawed Stop Online Piracy Act from becoming law.”
UPDATE Dec. 16, 2011, 3:08 p.m EST: "Because of immense public pressure, the House Judiciary Committee cancelled their vote on the bill that would kill Internet innovation and free speech — and adjourned for the rest of the year!
Over the last 36 hours, over 97,000 people like you signed our joint petition with reddit against this bill, and thousands more called their representatives. This momentum succeeded in stopping this bill, for now.
We now need to assemble our Internet army for next year, when this bill will come up again. Can you help us reach 100,000 signers on the petition”
- Reddit and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee
The VCU Rams defeated their crosstown rivals, the UR Spiders, in the “Black and Blue Classic” tonight, 73-51. “Last year they beat us at their place bad and we just wanted to get them back,” said VCU senior player Bradford Burgess. With this win VCU improved their record to 6-3 and came away with a 20+ point lead for their third time this season.
Ramnation is definitely loud and proud of their men’s basketball team this evening. “Tonight was the loudest the Siegel Center has been in my two and a half years here,” said Coach Shaka Smart of VCU.
"Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington joined WEEI’s Mut & Merloni Show this morning and was asked about the future status of Jason and Tim Wakefield with the team:
'I think those two guys in particular, given what they’ve meant to to the organization over a long period of time, they certainly deserve to hear from us and get honest and direct feedback on where we see things. We would not do anything else in the market that would block their ability to come back without talking about it first. I think they deserve that. And we’ve had some of those conversations. I also know that both those guys have a lot of pride and I think that they’d want to be back, only if there’s a real role on the team, an important role on the team, and that’s something we’re still working to determine.'”
- An unofficial Jason Varitek fan site, jason-varitek.com, Dec. 2, 2011
With Kings Dominion, drive-in movies and Belle Isle, the River City isn’t too shabby of a place for the summertime, but, in my humble opinion, you’ve got to love it in the fall. The trees that line the streets of the Fan are extra vibrant in 2011 and that’s not to mention the State Fair, the zombie walk the RVA Zombie Film Festival hosted by the Byrd Theater.