News & Politics

Hang Fire: Virginia Reverses on Concealed Carry Reciprocity

That did not take long.

In December of 2015, the attorney general of Virginia, Democrat Mark Herring, announced that the state will cease to recognize conceal carry reciprocity agreements with 25 states, claiming they did not meet Virginia’s standards.

“To ensure Virginia’s law and safety standards for concealed handgun permits are applied evenly, consistently, and fairly, I have recommended the State Police terminate the reciprocity agreements with 25 states whose laws are not adequate to prevent issuance of a concealed handgun permit to individuals that Virginia would disqualify,” Herring stated. “The State Police has accepted that recommendation and has begun sending letters to the 25 states informing them that as of February 1, their permits will no longer be recognized by Virginia.”

Herring’s (and McAuliffe’s) move was not well-received, and the GOP-controlled legislature threatened to revoke McAuliffe’s protective detail.

On Friday, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe (D) and GOP leaders in Virginia will announce a compromise regarding Herring’s gun regulations.

McAuliffe (D) agreed to legislation that says the state must recognize concealed-handgun permits from nearly all states — a reversal of Attorney General Mark R. Herring’s decision last month to sever the reciprocity rights of gun owners in 25 states.

In exchange, Republicans softened their stances on issues that have long been non-starters in the GOP-controlled General Assembly. Under the deal, the state would take guns away from anyone who was under a two-year protective order for domestic-violence offenses. And State Police would have to attend all gun shows to provide background checks for private sellers if they requested the service.

“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 deal is being touted as a victory for bipartisanship, which should never be an end in itself.

Both sides are able to save face: the GOP gets its reciprocity back and the Democrats get some more firearm regulations on the books.

The NRA had a positive take on the agreement. “The National Rifle Association commends leaders in the Commonwealth for moving forward on a bipartisan package that will benefit Virginia citizens,” Chris W. Cox, executive director of NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action, the organization’s lobbying arm, said in a statement.

On the other hand, gun control proponents were not happy.  The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence posted a message on their Facebook page, saying McAuliffe had bragged about “his administration’s aggressive new approach to confronting the National Rifle Association.”

“Now he’s preparing to cave to them,” the message said. “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.”

What do you think? Was this a good deal to make or did the GOP cave to McAuliffe?