Governor Terry McAuliffe on Friday finalized a historic bipartisan agreement to make Virginia safer by signing three key pieces of legislation into law. Joined by First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe, Democratic and Republican legislators, law enforcement officials, Virginia prosecutors and domestic violence prevention advocates at a signing ceremony in the Virginia Executive Mansion, the Governor thanked the leaders who worked with him and his team to make this agreement a reality.
“The historic bipartisan agreement will make Virginia safer by keeping guns out of the hands of domestic abusers and people who cannot pass background checks,” said Governor McAuliffe. “Virginians elect their leaders to work together to get things done, and today I am proud to say we did just that. This is the most significant step forward on gun safety in 24 years, and I look forward to continuing to work with the General Assembly and the public safety community to build on the progress we made this session.”
The three bills signed by Governor McAuliffe were part of a bipartisan agreement with the General Assembly to pass legislation requiring any person who is subject to a permanent protective order for family abuse to relinquish his or her guns within 24 hours or face a Class 6 felony. The bill, which had been defeated for many years in the General Assembly, will give Virginia one of the strongest laws in the nation with regard to taking guns away from domestic abusers.
“Governor McAuliffe’s action today will unequivocally improve public safety in the Commonwealth and save lives,” said Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran. “The law signed today will be the toughest in the country on permanent protective orders for family abuse.”
The General Assembly also passed legislation granting Virginia State Police the statutory authority to run background checks for non-federally licensed vendors at gun shows. Previously, private firearm sellers who did not possess a federal license could not access the federal background check system – meaning they could not run background checks even if they wanted to. According to the agreement, Virginia State Police will now attend every gun show in the Commonwealth and offer background checks to every vendor who wants one.
Finally, as part of the agreement, Governor McAuliffe agreed to sign legislation passed by a bipartisan majority of the General Assembly recognizing concealed carry permits from other states. The legislation will also protect the right of Virginia concealed carry permit holders to carry a concealed handgun in states that demand such reciprocity agreements.
“This bipartisan agreement is a major step toward securing the Second Amendment rights of Virginia’s most law-abiding citizens,” said House Speaker William J. Howell. “I am also proud of the steps we are taking on public safety. I want to thank Governor McAuliffe for signing this legislation, and I thank Secretary Moran, Delegate Gilbert, Delegate Lingamfelter, Delegate Webert, and Senator Reeves for their hard work to make this agreement a reality.”
Senator Bryce Reeves added, “Today’s bill signing culminates a month of bipartisan work and good governance on behalf of all Virginians. The bills signed today protect Virginians’ constitutional rights and make our Commonwealth safer. I am proud to have carried Senate Bill 610 this year, protecting the rights of 421,000 law-abiding Virginians who hold concealed carry permits. I am glad to have the Governor’s support on this measure with his signature today.”
“I want to commend Governor McAuliffe and the bipartisan coalition of legislators who came together around an agreement that will make Virginia a safer place to live,” said Senator Janet Howell. “No compromise is perfect, but these three bills will save lives by keeping guns out of the hands of domestic abusers and people who can’t pass background checks. I am proud to have worked with the Governor and my colleagues from both chambers and both parties to make the most significant steps forward on gun safety in Virginia in decades.”