I must be the world's worst prognosticator. Just this past Monday I wrote you that the legislature is so divided on gun safety measures that nothing good was going to happen. I was so wrong.
A major compromise has been reached.
When our Attorney General announced he was going to follow Virginia law and not allow concealed weapon permit reciprocity with states that have weaker permit laws than we have, he alarmed the NRA. They realized that Governor McAuliffe would veto any bills to reinstate weak reciprocity agreements; they decided to work on a compromise.
Secretary of Public Safety Brian Moran and Republican leaders met several times and worked out an agreement on three major gun issues.
1. Protective Orders. Part of the deal is my bill which says persons subject to a permanent protective order cannot possess a gun. They will have to sell or transfer their guns within 24 hours of the issuance of the protective order. This will save lives. In 2014 (the last year for which we have data) 64 women in Virginia were shot and killed by family members or intimate partners. Six of them had active protective orders. This legislation could have saved these victims. Delegate Kathleen Murphy is carrying the same bill in the House.
2. Background checks. The gun show loophole will be reduced by a bill allowing voluntary background checks at gun shows. Either a gun seller or purchaser will be able to request a background check. Currently state police can only perform background checks on people purchasing guns from licensed firearm dealers. State Police will be at every gun show as a result of this legislation. This is a modest but significant change and is supported by gun safety advocates.
3. Reciprocity. Virginia will restore reciprocity with nearly all states. I personally do not support this but think it is a reasonable compromise compared to the significance of the other two parts.
The agreement is dependent on all three bills passing. If they don't all pass, the deal is off. There is some opposition from all sides, but that is usually the case with compromises. I am optimistic that all three components will pass. But, then, I am the world's worst prognosticator!