Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) marked the two-year anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Connecticut by proposing stricter gun laws for his own state.
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe speaks at the offices of Enroll Virginia, where federally funded navigators help people sign up for insurance through the Affordable Care Act, Monday, Dec. 8, 2014, in Roanoke, Va. (AP Photo/The Roanoke Times, Stephanie Klein-Davis)
Among the proposals McAuliffe announced Monday are returning to a state law prohibiting someone from buying more than one gun per month — a state law enacted in the 1990s but later abandoned; boosting background checks and limiting gun purchases for people with convictions.
“As governor, there is no greater responsibility than ensuring the health and safety of the citizens I serve,” McAuliffe said. “Our commonwealth and our nation have seen too many tragedies as a result of dangerous weapons getting into the hands of the wrong people. 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 — a longtime associate of Bill and Hillary Clinton — is also proposing new measures to prevent people convicted of domestic violence, stalking or sexual battery from getting guns. The governor’s office cited the American Journal of Public Health, which said that the presences of a gun in a domestic violence situation increases the likelihood of a homicide by 500 percent.
He is backing a proposal ahead of the 2015 state legislative session to revoke the concealed carry permits for people behind on child support payments. There are 8,889 parents in Virginia with concealed handgun permits who are delinquent on child support payments, collectively owing more than $15,675,000, according to the governor’s office.
The governor is also proposing strickter background checks for anyone purchasing a gun at gun shows. This is similar to a federal proposal backed by the Obama administration in 2013 that failed to pass the Democrat-controlled Senate. McAuliffe wants to include an 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 voluntary background checks.
As a candidate for governor in 2013, McAuliffe generally avoided talking about the gun issue in what is the home state of the National Rifle Association and generally leans conservative. He made his announcement in Arlington County, part of the more liberal-leaning Northern Virginia, near Washington, D.C. — fairly safe political territory.
After taking office, McAuliffe vetoed a Republican-supported handgun bill from the state legislature. He later signed a bill, which had more bipartisan support, to allow gun dealers to use a state police database to check if a potential buyer had committed a felony.