Advocates slam their usual ally, Terry McAuliffe, on guns

Associated Press

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Victims of gun violence and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s gun control advocacy group on Friday blasted their usually dependable ally, Gov. Terry McAuliffe, over his proposed compromise with Virginia Republicans on several gun issues.

Gun control advocates said McAuliffe had made a dangerous decision to seek to restore reciprocity agreements on concealed handguns with 25 other states in return for GOP help with securing voluntary background checks at gun shows and a prohibition on subjects of permanent protective orders from having firearms under state law.

“We were so disappointed,” said Barbara Parker, the mother of the Virginia journalist Alison Parker who was shot and killed on live TV in August.

Parker and her husband, Andy, spoke at a Capitol news conference shortly after the governor was joined by several conservative Republicans to formally announce their compromise.

Democrats and Republicans alike hailed the rare compromise on gun policies as a historic moment in Virginia politics, in which both sides gave ground.

“As the governor said, Virginia won and that’s all there is to it,” said House Speaker William J. Howell.

Gun rights groups, including the National Rifle Association and the Virginia Citizens Defense League, have praised the deal, which still must pass the GOP-controlled General Assembly.

When asked about the negative reaction from gun control advocates, McAuliffe defended the compromise plan as a “step in the right direction.”

“We moved Virginia forward, this is a historic agreement,” McAuliffe said. “You have to compromise constantly. You do it business, you do it in politics, you do it in life.”

McAuliffe has made progress on gun-control legislation a priority of his administration. He has often taken actions on gun issues that are also advocated by liberal groups like Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety of the Center for American Progress. The governor also has been the beneficiary of heavy spending by Bloomberg in political contests, both McAuliffe’s own race in 2013 and those of his allies last year.

Absent from the governor’s news conference was Attorney General Mark Herring, who infuriated Republicans in December when he moved to revoke concealed handgun permits with 25 other states. Herring had said at the time that the step was needed because the other states’ concealed weapon laws don’t meet Virginia’s standards.

The proposal would mean that Virginians would no longer be able to use their concealed handgun permits in six states that require a mutual reciprocity agreement: Florida, Louisiana, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Wyoming.

Copyright © 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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