- The Washington Times - Friday, January 29, 2016

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe joined with the state legislature’s Republican leadership to announce a rare, “historic” bipartisan compromise on Virginia’s gun laws.

Mr. McAuliffe, a Democrat who has pushed for stronger gun control laws, said that the deal he and Republican leadership made would keep guns away from domestic abusers and people who can’t pass background checks.

“Give and take is essential to every negotiation, but the balance of this deal changes Virginia law permanently in ways that will keep guns away from people who would use them for harm,” he said.

The deal requires that state police are present at every gun show in the state to perform background checks on a voluntary basis. It would also prevent anyone with a restraining order filed against them from possessing a gun, which they are currently allowed to do, though they cannot buy or transport a gun.

In exchange, the compromise would reverse Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring’s decision to stop recognizing concealed handgun permits from 25 states that have less strict gun permit laws than Virginia’s — a sticking point with many Republicans. Mr. Herring’s decision was announced in December and has not yet gone into effect.

“Protecting reciprocity for Virginia’s law-abiding citizens was a major priority for the House of Delegates,” Republican House Speaker William Howell said. “We have achieved an agreement that will ensure the constitutional rights of Virginians are protected. We are also sending a clear signal about the mutual willingness of both parties to protect victims of domestic violence.”

But gun control advocates criticized the deal, saying it did not go far enough and gave too much to gun rights advocates.

“How can I explain this deal with the NRA to a young man who hears gunfire every single day in his community in Hampton Roads?” said Kayla Hicks, an organizer with the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence. “The governor is not with us on this one. And he is squandering valuable political capital that Virginia youth helped him to build. Virginia families deserve better than this.”

This deal is not yet final and will need to be approved by the majority-Republican legislature, according to reports by the Associated Press.

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