Earlier today, my TBE colleague Michael Giere expressed the sentiment of a lot of grassroots conservatives who were suspicious of yesterday’s news about a forthcoming deal in Richmond to reverse the Attorney General’s decision last month on interstate reciprocity for concealed carry permits.
Mike is right to be skeptical of snake oil salesmen, and the deals they craft in backrooms. Often, these deals contain provisions meant to escape the attention of the voters. This was not one of those instances, which is why gun control groups have been apoplectic at what they view as a huge capitulation by Virginia Democrats.
Pursuant to the deal, the General Assembly will pass SB 610, a bill championed by Sen. Bryce Reeves (R-Spotsylvania) with co-patrons Sen. Jill Vogel (R-Fauquier), Sen. Amanda Chase (R-Chesterfield), Sen. Bill Carrico (R-Grayson), and Sen. David Suetterlein (R-Roanoke). This will pave the way for 50-state reciprocity by requiring the Attorney General to enter into available reciprocity agreements, and will eliminate the ability for anyone who has had their Virginia permit revoked from utilizing reciprocity (i.e., you can’t rely on another state’s permit in Virginia if the Commonwealth has already revoked your Virginia permit).
In exchange, Virginia law will be tightened up to comply with federal law barring guns from people subject to permanent protective orders for domestic violence. Contrary to some comments that have been made about this, the persons to whom this is applicable have significant due process protections.
The deal will also involve a requirement for the Virginia State Police to provide officers to be on hand at every gun show to allow individual sellers of firearms the option to seek a background check on any purchaser. When this is available, nearly every seller avails themselves of the opportunity to be responsible (no one wants to be the guy to sell to the next nutcase in a mass shooting). And, for those concerned about the potential for the Governor to monkey around with gun shows by not providing an officer, the requirement is on the State Police, not the gun show; if someone orders the State Police not to staff a show, they would be in violation of law, but the gun show can proceed in either case.
One potential stumbling block remains. The funding for the State Police portion still must be passed as part of the budget. Given the importance of this issue to many legislator’s loudest and most organized constituents, the Governor potentially has significant leverage to ensure the budget addresses some of his other priorities. Legislators must therefore steel themselves against the temptation to give in on other conservative priorities, such as stopping Medicaid expansion, in order to protect this important piece of bipartisan legislation.
Time will tell on that front. The legislators to whom we’ve spoken are all confident that the GOP will hold the line. We’ll be watching closely to make sure that’s the case.