Governor, Republicans Cut Gun Deal

Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) and Republican state legislators have struck an agreement related to gun regulations.

The governor this afternoon announced a bipartisan deal that would pave the way for gun-safety regulations sought by Democrats while effectively reversing Attorney General Mark Herring’s move to end concealed carry reciprocity agreements with more than two dozen states.

McAuliffe said the deal lays the groundwork “for the first meaningful steps on preventing gun violence in 23 years.”

It aims to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers and people who cannot pass background checks, and sets up a system of voluntary background checks at firearms shows.

“Give and take is essential to every negotiation, but the balance of this deal changes Virginia law permanently in ways that will keep guns away from people who would use them for harm,” the governor said.

House Speaker William J. Howell (R-28) acknowledged the unlikely agreement in a prepared statement, and reiterated many of his Republican colleagues’ support for keeping reciprocity for Virginia concealed carry permit-holders in place.

“We have achieved an agreement that will ensure the constitutional rights of Virginians are protected,” he stated. “We are also sending a clear signal about the mutual willingness of both parties to protect victims of domestic violence. This a good deal for the Commonwealth.”

The gun safety deal encompasses the following bills:

  • Voluntary background checks at firearms shows [HB 1386, Del. Scott Lingamfelter (R-31); SB 715, Sen. John Edwards (D-31)]: Currently, only firearms dealers with a federal firearms license can access the National Instant Checks System to perform background checks on firearms purchases/transfers. The Virginia State Police cannot access the system on behalf of private citizens selling or transferring firearms. This bill would give the Virginia State Police statutory authority to perform background checks on behalf of private citizens at firearms shows, which is required by the FBI. The bill also requires the state police to be present at every gun show in the commonwealth to perform background checks on request.
  • Protective orders [HB 1106, Del. Kathleen Murphy (D-34) and SB 49, Sen. Janet Howell (D-32)]: Currently, a person subject to a protective order is prohibited from purchasing or transporting a firearm, but not from possessing a firearm. The legislation would prohibit a person subject to a permanent protective order from possessing a firearm for the duration of the order.
  • Reciprocity: [HB 1163, Del. Webert (R-18) and SB 610, Sen. Reeves (R-17)]: Bill maintains reciprocity for all states with a concealed carry permitting process. It prevents state-shopping. If a person has had a permit revoked in Virginia, he or she cannot go to another state to get a permit and then have that permit be recognized in Virginia. Gov. McAuliffe will also extend the effective date for the planned implementation of the revocation of reciprocity agreements with other states to March 1.

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