Herring’s Political Maneuver Undercut by McAuliffe in Gun Reciprocity Deal

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund is in Virginia today to announce its endorsement of the Democratic ticket for governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general.

In the closing days of the 2013 attorney general’s race, Bloomberg’s super PAC launched a $1 million ad campaign in support of Mark Herring. Bloomberg also gave $25,000 to Herring’s state senate campaign in 2011.
 
Then, in December of 2015, Mark Herring ended Virginia’s reciprocity with 25 other states for concealed-carry permit holders. In doing so, he was called out by numerous editorial boards for a move that was overly political. When questioned, Herring couldn’t point to a single crime committed by out of state concealed-carry permit holders.
 
Just weeks later, Governor Terry McAuliffe announced a bipartisan deal with Virginia House leadership to re-instate Virginia’s reciprocity agreement. Mark Herring was not part of the negotiations and was absent from the press conference announcing the deal.
 
On Mark Herring’s Decision to End Virginia’s Reciprocity with 25 States
 
“Virginia Won’t Recognize Concealed Handgun Permits From 25 States, Herring Says”
“‘In his announcement, the Attorney General has not pointed to a single crime committed by an out-of-state concealed weapons permit holder legally carrying in Virginia under the reciprocity agreement; not one,’ said a statement from GOP state Sen. Mark Obenshain, whom Herring narrowly defeated for attorney general in 2013. ‘Indeed, the State Police concede that they are not aware of any either.’ Virginia law allows the state police superintendent to determine whether other states meet the requirements for such permits to be recognized, Herring said.” (The Virginian-Pilot, 12/22/15)
 
Editorial: Payback time on guns
“Second, with regard to guns, state Democrats owe some big favors. New York billionaire Michael Bloomberg and his gun-control group, Everytown for Gun Safety, have spent more than $2.7 million to elect Virginia Democrats in recent years. McAuliffe and Herring would surely like to keep the money coming. Hence their efforts to roll back the rights of gun owners. Those efforts will have no effect on crime — but at least they will keep Bloomberg happy.” (Richmond Times-Dispatch, 12/26/15)
 
Editorial: Herring Misfires
No empirical data suggest that Virginia has a problem with concealed-carriers from other states, but that hardly deterred the attorney general, whose rationale for action was both rich and spurious: When it comes to concealed-carry permits, Virginia simply is stricter, does it better, than other states. As the Richmond Times-Dispatch observed, this is quite a departure from standard Democratic reasoning relative to other issues: Virginia is lagging behind, so it must take steps to keep up with the other governmental Joneses. Pure baloney.” (Daily News-Record, 12/31/15)
 
Editorial: Is a Utah concealed-carry permit pointless?
“Herring's zeal for enforcing Virginia law has been rather selective, and it's not clear what he hopes to gain from his maneuver on concealed-weapons permits - especially given Virginia's open-carry permissiveness. Agree or disagree with it, though, you can't deny it has been educational.” (Richmond Times-Dispatch, 1/9/16)
 
Column: McAuliffe, State On Target With Concealed-Carry Compromise
“Case in point: Days before Christmas, Attorney General Mark Herring announced that Virginia was terminating concealed- carry reciprocity agreements with 25 states that had laws he believed were less strict than the commonwealth’s. The heavy-handed move was ill-advised and unnecessarily provocative. Worse, it reeked of politics. Herring’s office was unable to point to a single bad act committed by a person in possession of an out-of-state concealed- carry permit.” (The Virginian-Pilot, 2/3/16)
 
Herring’s decision was praised  by Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety Group
 
STATEMENT FROM EVERYTOWN FOR GUN SAFETY PRESIDENT JOHN FEINBLATT:
‘When states recognize carry permits from other states with weaker laws they put themselves at the mercy of those weaker laws -- it's why we have fought hard against the NRA's attempts to push a federal reciprocity bill through Congress. Once again, leaders in the states are doing their part to stand up to gun lobby interests and I applaud Attorney General Herring for protecting Virginians and demanding that any state that wishes to have their permit recognized in Virginia has to have the same strong standards for concealed carry as the Commonwealth.’” (Everytown.org, 12/22/15)
 
But, Mark Herring was quickly undermined by his own governor, Terry McAuliffe, who undid this decision just weeks later. Herring was not part of the negotiations and was absent from the press conference.
 
 “Gov. McAuliffe, Republicans find rare accord on gun policy”
“In a surprising show of compromise, Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe and the Republican speaker of Virginia's House of Delegates will come together Friday to formally announce a deal on gun policies that the leaders in both parties are applauding. The agreement, which McAuliffe and Republicans have been hammering out for weeks, strengthens some gun control measures while reversing a policy that would have invalidated concealed handgun permits in Virginia held by residents of 25 other states. McAuliffe and Speaker William J. Howell plan to outline the deal during a news conference Friday.” (Associated Press, 1/29/16
 
“’Gift to the Gun Lobby’ Decried”
Herring was conspicuously absent from a bipartisan event heralding the deal. The governor's office told him that it was in the works about a week ago and kept him updated on negotiations, but Herring was not involved, his spokesman Michael Kelly said.” (The Washington Post, 1/30/16)
 
Editorial: Herring the Activist AG
“And he created quite a kerfuffle last December when he cancelled Virginia’s reciprocity agreements on concealed-weapons permits with a number of other states. That led to a bipartisan deal between Gov. Terry McAuliffe and state lawmakers reversing Herring’s edict.” (Richmond Times-Dispatch, 4/3/16)
 
 
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