CSGV STATEMENT ON VIRGINIA GOVERNOR SIGNING GUN BILLS INTO LAW

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  February 26, 2016
MEDIA CONTACT: Andrew Patrick, apatrick@csgv.org, Cell: (828) 712-7603
Richmond, VA – Today, Governor McAuliffe signed into law three pieces of legislation that make up his gun deal with the National Rifle Association and Republican lawmakers. These new laws include: (1) concealed carry reciprocity agreements with all 49 states, (2) a prohibition on possession of guns for the subjects of permanent protective orders, and (3) presence of Virginia State Police at all Virginia guns shows to perform voluntary background checks. This action stems from Attorney General Herring’s decision to revoke reciprocity agreements with 25 states that failed to meet standards of concealed carry laid out in Virginia code.

The new reciprocity law will allow individuals with concealed carry permits from all 49 states to carry guns in Virginia.  Unfortunately, many of these other states allow people who are ineligible under Virginia law to obtain a permit, including stalkers and domestic abusers. The law would also allow Virginians who are not eligible for a permit to circumvent the law by obtaining a permit from another state and carry in the Commonwealth. In addition to the public safety concerns, this new approach sends a terrible message that Virginia is unwilling to enforce its own laws.

The new domestic violence law is a step in the right direction but leaves many issues to be worked out by courts and law enforcement.  These issues include to whom the subject of a restraining order can lawfully transfer a firearm and how will courts take notice that the transfer has occurred.

We believe that the recently published report, “Firearm Removal/Retrieval in Cases of Domestic Violence” published by the Consortium for Risk-Based Firearm Policy and Prosecutors Against Gun Violence can serve as a guide to ensure smooth implementation of the law.  Additionally, we look forward to working with our friends in the Virginia General Assembly to extend the firearm prohibition to all other types of protective orders that can be issued in Virginia.

“We obviously were disappointed with the governor because we thought he could have made a much better deal,” said Executive Director Josh Horwitz. “But now that the deal is finalized, we intend to take lemons and make lemonade by working with all stakeholders to ensure that the domestic violence law is vigorously implemented and forms the basis for future policy change in the Commonwealth.”

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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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