Democrats and Republicans Strike a Deal on Guns in Virginia

Republican legislators have struck a deal with Gov. Terry McAuliffe to maintain concealed-carry permit deals with at least 25 states, and to take guns from domestic violence offenders who are under permanent protection orders.
by | February 1, 2016 AT 11:50 AM

By Travis Fain

Republican legislators have struck a deal with Gov. Terry McAuliffe to maintain concealed-carry permit deals with at least 25 states, and to take guns from domestic violence offenders who are under permanent protection orders.

Under the deal, when judges hit domestic violence suspects with 2-year restraining orders, the offenders will automatically lose their right to own a gun for the order's duration. They will have 24 hours to sell, transfer or turn in the firearm, McAuliffe spokesman Brian Coy said, and a violation would be a class 1 misdemeanor, the most serious misdemeanor on Virginia's books.

In return for this concession from Republicans, the administration will move to keep reciprocity deals in place with 25 other states, and to expand the number states where Virginia concealed-carry permits will be honored.

Gun rights supporters have been incensed since December, when Attorney General Mark Herring announced that the state would stop recognizing concealed carry permits from 25 states with weaker permit rules than Virginia. Permit holders expected those states to respond by refusing to recognize Virginia permits.

Democrats have pushed for at least two years now to strip gun rights from people under protection orders. The General Assembly's Republican majority has resisted that effort.

Democrats will also get legislation to put state police in gun shows across the state to perform background checks for people who request them. The law doesn't require a background check for sales between people who aren't licensed firearm dealers, and it still won't.

But this change will ensure that police are on hand to do voluntary checks, something private sellers haven't had access to even if they wanted it, Coy said.

"The law will say a member of the Virginia State Police shall appear at every gun show and offer this service," Coy said.

The deal was first reported by The Washington Post. Speaker of the House William Howell's office and the governor's office have since confirmed details to The Daily Press and other media outlets. Votes on the legislation involved in this deal will come later this session.

"It's a balanced deal," Coy said. "It's a deal that will make Virginia safer."

"Everyone gave something up," said Howell spokesman Matt Moran. "Everyone got something."

State Sen. Bryce Reeves, who had been carrying legislation to address the reciprocity issue, played a big role in brokering this deal, according to the speaker's office.

(c)2016 the Daily Press (Newport News, Va.)