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Monday, February 1, 2016

Washington Post Suggests Herring Not Happy With McAuliffe Deal

This morning the Washington Post posted this article on their web site titled "Five Things That (kid of) Explain McAuliffe's gun deal with Republicans."  To some extent, it continues the meme that McAuliffe has crafted that he got real concessions in return for overturning Herring's actions on out-of-state concealed carry permits.  A Post article Friday pretty much showed how hollow that claim is, describing how the deal almost fell through Friday morning when Delegate Todd Gilbert told a local Richmond morning show host that, given the deal that was detailed in the Post Thursday afternoon, he would take it any day.  According to the Post, any public comment was supposed to express that all sides gave and got something.  For Gilbert's transgression, the GOP had to agree to make possession of a firearm while a permanent protective order is in place a felony instead of a misdemeanor.  Even with that change, gun owners came out much better than the gun ban side.

Today's article goes on to explain why pro-rights activists are much happier about the deal than the gun ban lobby:
Does this deal expand gun rights?
Yes. The deal goes beyond restoring the reciprocity rights that Herring had planned to revoke, directing him to strike reciprocity deals with every state that offers them. If the legislature approves the deal, more out-of-state gun owners will be allowed to carry concealed weapons in Virginia, and Virginians will be able to carry concealed weapons in other parts of the country.

Does it also tighten restrictions on guns?
Yes, but in a more nuanced way.

The deal would make it a felony under Virginia law for someone subject to a two-year protective order to possess a gun. Possession for such a person is already illegal under federal law. But because local police, not federal agents, respond to domestic incidents, abusers could be more likely to face charges. And because possession in such cases would be a felony, anyone convicted would lose the right to possess a firearm for life, barring subsequent restoration of civil rights through the governor.

The deal also calls for putting a state trooper at every gun show to run background checks for private sellers who currently have no way to check buyers’ criminal histories. But those checks would remain optional.
Then the Post gets to the question of where is Attorney General Herring in all of this?
It’s unclear, but he hardly seems happy about it.

The governor’s office was working on the deal to undo one of Herring’s biggest achievements for at least a week before it let him know what was in the works. Herring has not taken a public position on the deal and was notably absent from a news conference Friday, when McAuliffe and GOP leaders rolled out the deal. Herring’s spokesman said he had a prior commitment.

McAuliffe and his team have artfully credited Herring for bringing everyone to the table — suggesting that by yanking reciprocity, Herring so freaked out the gun-rights folks that they were willing to make a deal. But Herring’s absence on this has been conspicuous, particularly at Friday’s event, when McAuliffe asked the crowd to give the absent AG a round of applause. Awkward!
For all the talk by McAuliffe and Herring's spokesman, it is clear Herring was thrown under the bus.  And, it appears from the Post article, he is not at all happy about it.

Update: Even Bloomberg's anti-gun mouthpiece The Trace notes today the deal was "in the works for a week before Herring was clued in."

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