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Friday, January 29, 2016

Herring Says His Actions on Reciprocity Led to Bipartisan Movement to Tighten Gun Laws

We've now heard from Attorney General Mark Herring on yesterday's announced deal between the Governor and the GOP that will overturn the AG's December concealed carry permit recognition actions. According to the Richmond Times Dispatch, Herring says is action is what spurred the agreement:
Though the deal could be viewed as a setback for Herring — often accused by opponents of playing politics with his office, but praised by supporters as a champion of progressive causes — the attorney general said in a statement Thursday that he’s “encouraged to finally see a bipartisan conversation” on reducing gun violence.

“If finally enforcing our concealed handgun reciprocity laws helps break the legislative logjam on efforts to expand background checks and force domestic abusers to turn over their guns, then I’m glad we could provide some momentum and I hope this is just the first step in enacting sensible gun safety measures,” Herring said.

Coy said Herring’s decision on concealed carry permits, which some gun-rights activists feared would lead other states to stop recognizing Virginia permits, served as a catalyst for the agreement.

“Without his leadership, this deal would not have been possible,” Coy said.
I'm not completely buying that this was all aimed at causing a stink just to have the changes ditched at the eleventh hour.  It is more likely that the Governor was headed a for a veto override of at least one bill that would overturn the order that had strong bipartisan support and he was looking for a face saving way out of a jam his AG put him in.  Let's look again at what the GOP gave up in return for overtuning Herring's order:
  1. The deal would require the Virginia State Police to be available at all gun shows to perform voluntary background checks for sellers who are not federally licensed.
  2. Anyone subject to a permanent protective order to surrender guns in their possession, a policy aimed at removing guns from domestic violence situations.
  3. Anyone who has had a Virginia permit revoked would not be allowed to carry a concealed weapon in Virginia using another state’s permit.
That's it.  For all of Herring's bluster that this agreement "expands" background checks, nothing really changes.  It just makes it easier for any private individual who wants to use the state police to have a background check run on a perspective buyer at a gun show can now do it. ATF regulations already allow private sellers to use a dealer to facilitate background checks on private sales in states that use the National Instant Check System (NICS). Virginia uses the State Police and only dealers can use that system. So, all 25 states that Herring said did not measure up to Virginia concealed handgun permit requirements will still have their permits recognized, all for just slight tweaks in Virginia law.

And, for the little McAuliffe got, some in the gun ban lobby are not happy:
McAuliffe’s deal-making on guns didn’t sit well with some of his allies in the gun-control push.

Andy Parker, the father of slain Roanoke-area TV journalist Alison Parker, criticized the governor in a statement circulated by Everytown for Gun Safety, an advocacy group that poured in more than $2.4 million to support Democratic campaigns in last year’s legislative elections. McAuliffe’s deal-making on guns didn’t sit well with some of his allies in the gun-control push.

“Since my daughter, Alison, was killed on live television in August, I’ve stood by Governor McAuliffe’s side and applauded his leadership on gun safety — and he has been a friend and source of support for me and my family,” Parker said. “That is why if reports are true that he’ll put the gun lobby agenda ahead of the safety of Virginians, I am beyond disappointed.”
Herring's spin not withstanding, it still looks like McAuliffe threw him under the bus because of all the political heat that came from the AG's move in December.

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