FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  February 22, 2016
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64 GVP Groups from Virginia and Across Country Call on Governor McAuliffe to Veto SB610

Richmond, VA
—More than 60 gun violence prevention (GVP) groups—from Virginia and across the country—have signed onto letters calling on Governor Terry McAuliffe to veto HB1163/SB610, a dangerous universal concealed carry reciprocity bill. The legislation is part of a deal recently negotiated by the governor, Virginia Republicans, and the National Rifle Association (NRA). Gun violence prevention groups were excluded from these negotiations and their subsequent input was ignored by the McAuliffe administration.HB1163/SB610 would roll back Attorney General Mark Herring’s recent decision to revoke concealed carry reciprocity agreements with 25 states that fail to meet Virginia’s permitting standards, and grant universal reciprocity to all 49 states. Future Virginia attorneys general would be forced to recognize concealed carry permits issued by the other states, no matter how low their standards. This would allow out-of-state stalkers, individuals convicted of violent misdemeanor offenses (i.e., assault/battery, sexual offenses, brandishing a firearm, etc.) and other dangerous individuals to carry concealed handguns in the Commonwealth. Furthermore, if a Virginia resident with a history of violence failed to obtain a concealed handgun permit in the Commonwealth, he/she would be able to obtain a permit from an outside state with weaker standards and carry in Virginia regardless.Governor McAuliffe has claimed that “everybody supports [his gun deal with the NRA], except one gun safety group out of New York City [Everytown for Gun Safety and its grassroots affiliate, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America].” In the two letters—one from Virginia groups, another from national GVP groups and state groups outside the Commonwealth—the 60+ organizations state, “we hope this…makes it clear” that the gun violence prevention movement stands “unified” in its opposition to HB1163/SB610.“HB1163/SB610 also has troubling implications for national gun policy,” states the letter from national GVP groups and groups from outside the Commonwealth. They point out that the NRA would like to use HB1163/SB610 to revive their moribund “National Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act” in the U.S. Congress. “That act would take the flawed principles of HB1163/SB610 and foist them on all 50 states,” the groups write.

“Governor McAuliffe’s ‘deal’ with the NRA would expand reciprocity to Colorado, something that has never been granted because we have no state database of concealed carry permits,” said Eileen McCarron with Colorado Ceasefire Legislative Action. “As a Virginia Tech graduate, I’m aghast that the governor would take his state backwards on public safety.”

“In southwest Virginia we respect guns enough to know who should and should not be trusted with a gun in public,” said Catherine Koebel, a founding member of the Blue Ridge Coalition Against Gun Violence. “The latter group includes people like stalkers and convicted batterers.”

“The gun lobby is currently working to pass laws to allow gun owners to carry concealed without permits in 16 states,” said Po Murray, the Chairman of Newtown Action Alliance. “It will become increasingly difficult for Virginia to validate out-of-state permits in the years ahead. Connecticut Governor Dannell Malloy signed a strong package of bipartisan gun safety laws after the Sandy Hook tragedy. Governor McCauliffe should work to do the same in Virginia.”

The two letters will be delivered to the Governor McAuliffe by the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, a 501(c)(4) organization that has long engaged in advocacy work in the Commonwealth.

The letter from Virginia GVP groups can be read here.

The letter from national GVP groups and state groups from outside Virginia can be read here.


The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (CSGV) seeks to secure freedom from gun violence through research, strategic engagement and effective policy advocacy. CSGV can be found on Facebook and Twitter.

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