Virginia Gun Violence Survivors Speak Out Against Governor McAuliffe’s Decision to Weaken the Commonwealth’s Gun Laws
RICHMOND, Va. – In response to Governor McAuliffe’s announcement this afternoon that Virginia would begin recognizing all out-of-state concealed carry permits in Virginia, survivors of gun violence and members of the Everytown Survivor Network held a press conference of their own to condemn the Governor’s decision. The press conference, held at the State Capitol in Richmond, featured remarks from Andy Parker, whose daughter Alison was killed on live television last summer; Uma Loganathan, whose father, Professor G.V. Loganathan, was murdered in the mass shooting at Virginia Tech in 2007 and Lori Haas, whose daughter, Emily Haas, was shot and survived the Virginia Tech shooting.
Earlier today more than twenty Virginia gun violence survivors who are part of the Everytown Survivor Network sent an open letter (available here) to Governor McAuliffe making the case that, “this deal is a dangerous rollback that puts public safety at risk.” The Everytown Survivor Network and Virginia Moms have driven more than 800 phone calls to Governor McAuliffe, asking him to reconsider this deal. A fact sheet on how rolling back the Commonwealth’s concealed carry law would undermine Virginia’s safety is available here.
EXCERPT FROM REMARKS GIVEN BY ANDY PARKER, FATHER OF MURDERED WDBJ-TV REPORTER ALISON PARKER AND MEMBER OF THE EVERYTOWN SURVIVOR NETWORK:
“Governor, we understand the nature of politics and the need for compromise. But you should not be willing to recognize concealed carry permits from states with weaker standards in exchange for the NRA’s support of watered-down gun safety bills. Governor, we urge you to reconsider this plan so that you can continue to deserve your reputation as a gun sense champion. We have worked with the Governor before and we’ve been proud of his work in fighting to reduce gun violence. That’s why we were so surprised when we heard the news that the Governor would gut Virginia’s laws on out-of-state permits. But even in our disappointment, we are hopeful that the outpouring of anger and action that has greeted the Governor since he announced his plans yesterday will lead him to reconsider. In just a matter of hours, more than 800 Virginians have called the Governor’s office with that message.”
EXCERPT FROM OPEN LETTER FROM VIRGINIA GUN VIOLENCE SURVIVORS READ AT PRESS CONFERENCE BY UMA LOGANATHAN, DAUGHTER OF MURDERED VIRGINIA TECH PROFESSOR, GV LOGANATHAN:
“This deal is a dangerous rollback that puts public safety at risk. Perhaps you don’t realize that North Dakota authorities will grant concealed carry permits to people who’ve been convicted of stalking. Or that Alabama lacks any training requirements whatsoever in its permitting process. Or that Tennessee allows individuals with numerous assault convictions to acquire permits. Or that Florida does not run a full background check on permit applicants and will issue permits to non-Florida residents—so any nonresident not up to Virginia permitting standards could just apply for a Florida permit through the mail. The list, tragically, goes on and on and on. This action will allow those dangerous individuals from other states to come into Virginia – even if these people were prohibited from carrying loaded weapons under Virginia law. That means that they would play by their own set of rules rather than ours. It’s practically a giveaway.”
The full letter is available here.
Just last month, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring strengthened enforcement of existing Virginia law by revoking recognition of out-of-state concealed carry permits from 25 states with laws weaker than Virginia’s. Now, McAuliffe has announced he will reverse course and recognize all out-of-state permits, which would endanger Virginians by having different standards for concealed carry permit-holders – a strong one for Virginia residents and weaker standards for everyone else.
Attorney General Herring’s actions last month ensured that people visiting Virginia are subject to the same safety standards as residents of the Commonwealth, as required by existing Virginia law. A January 2015 report from Everytown for Gun Safety detailed the vast discrepancies in permitting standards in states across the country. It highlights the gun lobby’s efforts to undermine strong state laws by passing federal legislation that forces states to recognize permits from all other states.