RICHMOND — Declaring the start of a “new era,” Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) on Friday signed into law a package of gun bills, the product of a deal struck with Republican lawmakers that cost him the support of some of his strongest allies in the fight for gun control.
Opponents of the compromise, including Andy Parker, the outspoken father of a television journalist who was killed in southwest Virginia, noted that McAuliffe’s victory lap came on the six-month anniversary of his daughter’s shooting.
But underscoring what McAuliffe said was the historic nature of the deal, the governor signed the bills in the Executive Mansion, the first time he used the home for this purpose, and hinted at his legacy.
“I’m so proud to announce that a new era begins today here in the commonwealth of Virginia,” he said. “These new laws will serve as permanent protections for our citizens. They will remain in place when I leave office.”
The deal would expand the rights of concealed-carry handgun permit holders in Virginia and around the country in exchange for tighter restrictions on domestic abusers and voluntary background checks at gun shows.
McAuliffe is a pragmatist. He is smart enough to know that he would not win a show down with the NRA. So he did the next best thing–he compromised.
Part of the anti-gun lobby’s problem is that they go after things that aren’t really problems, at least in the statistical world. For example, can anyone find a case where some concealed weapon permit holder has come into the state and killed someone? I don’t think so.
Regardless of who thinks who is right, both sides walked away with something they wanted. The NRA people got their concealed weapon permits from other states recognized. The gun control folks got their tighter restrictions on domestic abusers codified, including removing those guns belonging to the domestic abusers. In addition, there will be a state police officer at all gun shows to run voluntary background checks on private sales. While these gun control initiatives might not seem like much, it’s a start, especially the domestic abuser part.
Those who hate McAuliffe over it might want to think about what they have now vs what they had before. You can stand on principle all you want but at the end of the day, you end up just standing. McAuliffe got something done.