In a sweeping compromise poised to change the future of Virginia’s gun laws, Gov. Terry McAuliffe and House Speaker William J. Howell revealed the details of a rare bipartisan agreement Friday, outlining two new gun control measures in the Commonwealth.
In exchange for Virginia maintaining concealed carry permits with 25 states, lawmakers proposed new background checks for private gun show dealers and protections for victims of domestic violence.
The proposals represent the first significant modifications to Virginia’s gun laws in 23 years.
“No one wants to see guns in the hands of domestic abusers or other dangerous individuals who cannot pass background checks,” McAuliffe (D) said in a news conference Friday.
“We cannot depend on domestic abusers and other people intent on violence to observe the rules on their own.”
Under the impending legislation, individuals subject to permanent protective orders will now be required to relinquish all firearms in their possession within 24 hours. Failure to do so would result in a felony charge.
“I believe this sends a clear message that there's a mutual willingness to keep our communities safe and protect victims of domestic violence,” Howell (R-Stafford) said at the State Capitol.
“Virginia won. And that’s all there is to it.”
Gun shows will be the second area impacted by the proposed changes.
Smaller private sellers are now unable to access the federal background database. The bipartisan legislation would send Virginia State Police to all of the state’s gun shows, with troopers able to access the federal database.
If a private seller wishes to run a check on a customer, troopers would then be able to perform the request.
Lawmakers said participation by private sellers would be voluntary, with the changes expected to engender a greater sense of responsibility and reduce future liabilities.
“The measures we are announcing today will save lives,” McAuliffe said. “It is that simple and it is that significant.”
The new developments come a month after Democratic Attorney General Mark Herring announced that concealed carry permits from states with less stringent regulations than Virginia’s would no longer be recognized.
The decision would have taken affect Feb. 1, with an estimated 6.3 million people impacted. The attorney general’s decision is now on hold until March 1, as the legislation makes its way through the General Assembly.
Andy Parker, father of murdered WDBJ-TV reporter Alison Parker, leveled intense criticism over the announcement.
“Gov. McAuliffe should not be willing to recognize concealed carry permits from states where you can get a permit with no safety training, or even if you have a violent criminal record or a stalking conviction – all in exchange for the NRA’s support of watered-down gun safety bills,” Parker said.
“I urge the Governor to reconsider his plan and to continue deserving his reputation as a gun sense champion.”
The measures must pass both houses of the Virginia General Assembly. The legislature is now in session through March 12.