Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced his new gun-control agenda Monday, which included such objectives as enacting universal background check mandate and limiting handgun purchases to no more than one per month.
“As Governor, there is no greater responsibility than ensuring the health and safety of the citizens I serve,” said the Democratic governor in a press release.
“Our Commonwealth and our nation have seen too many tragedies as a result of dangerous weapons getting into the hands of the wrong people,” McAuliffe, who was financially backed by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg during his 2013 campaign, continued. “These common-sense proposals will keep guns out of the hands of criminals, will keep our communities safe, and will help to build a new Virginia economy.”
McAuliffe unveiled his proposal from Arlington one day after the two-year anniversary of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
Here’s a list of the measures:
Prohibit the possession of firearms for persons subject to protective orders
According to the American Journal of Public Health, when a gun is present in domestic violence situations, the risk of homicide for women increases by 500%. This proposal will aim to prevent domestic violence tragedies from occurring in Virginia by prohibiting the possession of firearms for persons subject to protective orders, which covers acts of violence against family members, inter-partner violence, and other dangerous behaviors.
Prohibit the possession of firearms for misdemeanor domestic violence offenders
Past violence is one of the biggest predictors of future violence, as handgun purchasers with violent misdemeanor convictions are 8 times more likely than those without prior convictions to be convicted of a new violent offense. This proposal will aim to stop that disturbing trend by prohibiting possession of firearms for certain misdemeanor offenses, including stalking, sexual battery, assault and battery against a family or household member, brandishing a firearm, and having two more convictions of assault and battery.
Curtail handgun trafficking by reinstating the one handgun a month law
As a gun owner and a supporter of the Second Amendment, Governor McAuliffe believes in the right to bear arms, but in a responsible way that prevents dangerous people from stockpiling and trafficking dangerous weapons. This common-sense measure, which was Virginia law for 19 years, limits handgun purchases to one a month and aims to reduce the chances of handguns causing violent tragedies in Virginia and across the nation.
Revoke concealed handgun permits for parents delinquent on child support payments
In order to build a new Virginia economy, it is essential that parents are receiving support payments and are able to provide for their children and families. Currently, there are 8889 parents with concealed handgun permits delinquent on child support payments, collectively owing over $15,675,000.
Keep handguns out of the wrong hands by closing the gun show loophole
Under current Virginia Law, only Federally Licensed Firearms Dealers are required to conduct criminal background checks prior to selling or transferring firearms. At gun shows, private vendors are not required to conduct criminal background checks, creating an easy avenue for criminals to illegally gain access to guns. Governor McAuliffe’s legislative proposal changes that, requiring universal background checks for all purchases at gun shows.
Give Virginia State Police authority to process voluntary background check requests
Today, the Virginia State Police does not have the authority to process background check requests even when they have been submitted to them by private vendors. This proposal will give Virginia State Police the statutory authority to do so. Governor McAuliffe also is including an additional $100,000 in his budget to ensure that the Virginia State Police will be at every gun show in Virginia and available to perform these voluntary background checks.
Make unlawful purchases more difficult by clarifying what information can be displayed by gun show vendors
Today, gun shows can advertize that they are not required to conduct background checks, creating an easy environment to solicit business from individuals legally prohibited from buying firearms. This common-sense proposal will reduce the chance of dangerous people from illegally obtaining firearms at gun shows by preventing gun shows from advertising that they are not required to conduct background checks.
“These are responsible policies that will benefit Virginia’s neighborhoods and families and will create safer environments for our law enforcement officials,” added Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran. “By implementing these common-sense measures, Virginia can lead the way on curbing gun violence and can prevent dangerous individuals from illegally obtaining firearms.”
Given that the GOP controls the General Assembly, one can argue that this is a very ambitious agenda that will encounter serious opposition. Already, at least one state lawmaker has expressed resentment toward the proposal. A spokesman for House Speaker William J. Howell told WDBJ7 that the announcement was “disappointing.”
In the coming months, we’ll see what appetite state lawmakers have for Gov. McAuliffe’s plan.