Virginia will Once Again Recognize Concealed Carry Permits From Other States :: Firearms Owners Against Crime
RICHMOND — Gov. Terry McAuliffe plans to announce Friday that Virginia will restore handgun reciprocity agreements with nearly all states, in a stunning reversal of a firearms policy that had angered Republicans and gun rights advocates across the nation.
The about-face is part of a deal that McAuliffe (D) struck with Republican leaders one month after Attorney General Mark R. Herring (D) ended the right of gun owners in 25 states to have their concealed carry permits recognized in Virginia.
In exchange, Republicans will agree to a major concession: Anyone subject to a permanent protective order for a domestic violence offence will be prohibited from carrying a firearm for the two-year life of the order. The issue had been a nonstarter in the Republican-controlled General Assembly.
“This is a bipartisan deal that will make Virginians safer,” McAuliffe spokesman Brian Coy said. “It also demonstrates that Democrats and Republicans can work together on key issues like keeping guns out of dangerous hands.”
The agreement marks the first break in a jogjam in the state over gun rights and gun control marked by heated rhetoric on both sides.
“Bipartisanship requires give and take by both sides,” said Matt Moran, a spokesman for House Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford). “This agreement restores reciprocity for law-abiding Virginians while sending a clear signal about domestic violence. There’s a lot to like here.”
Herring did not immediately return calls seeking comment.
Some gun rights activists quickly panned the agreement.
In a Facebook message, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence said McAuliffe has bragged about “his administration’s aggressive new approach to confronting the National Rifle Association.”
“Now he’s preparing to cave to them,” the message says. “As far as we are aware, there is not a single gun violence prevention advocate in Virginia who was informed about this deal before it was done. We all stand in opposition to it.”
The policy changes will come in the form of bipartisan legislation before the General Assembly.
The domestic violence bill will be carried by Sen. Janet D. Howell (D-Fairfax) and Del. Kathleen Murphy (D-Fairfax). It will require individuals subject to a permanent protective order to sell or transfer their guns within 24 hours of the judges’ order.
State law currently prohibits the purchase or transport — but not possession — of guns by these individuals. Federal law prohibits all three.
Public Safety Secretary Brian J. Moran was the lead negotiator on behalf of the administration.
“This is a historic agreement for its bipartisanship,” he said. “Virginians will be truly safer today than they were yesterday because of this agreement.”
A Senate panel Wednesday evening passed a bill filed by Sen. Bryce E. Reeves (R-Spotsylvania) that restores reciprocity.
“This is a good piece of legislation that protects the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Virginians, allowing them to protect themselves and their families even when they leave the state,” Reeves said in a statement. “This bill continues to receive bipartisan support, proving that in the Commonwealth we can come together from both sides of the aisle and do right on behalf of our constituents.”
It includes an amendment offered by Sen. Chap Petersen (D-Fairfax City), that says Virginia will not honor an out-of-state concealed carry permit held by a person whose Virginia concealed carry permit was previously revoked — a practice known as “state shopping.”
In another concession, state police must be present at all gun shows to administer background checks in private sales of guns on a voluntary basis. McAuliffe’s budget includes $100,000 to fund the activity.
Sen. John S. Edwards (D-Roanoke) and Del. L. Scott Lingemfelter (R-Prince William) are carrying that bill.
Jenna Portnoy covers Virginia politics for The Washington Post.