Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe should be given credit for signing a pretty solid concealed carry reciprocity agreement in February. It reversed the executive actions of Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring that would’ve curtailed gun rights in the state. Yet, the open carry ban in government buildings remains. Now, there’s a discussion whether to ban concealed carry in state buildings. A hearing will be held Wednesday morning on the matter (via CBS 6):
The ban applied immediately to open carried guns but banning concealed weapons requires more regulation. Wednesday, there will be a public hearing where residents can weigh in.
"Concealed carry permit holders are like the general population, most are good guys, more are law abiding. But not every single one is, and how are you going to know the difference?" said [Virginia State Director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence Lori] Haas.
"They can’t guarantee us our protection. Nobody can. Only we can,” said Gary Lewis, the owner of Gary’s Guns and Transfers in Richmond.
But some gun dealers say banning all guns from specific buildings would make it less safe.
"To announce to the world -- good guys and bad guys -- that none of the good guys are armed, it makes it clear that they have no resistance when they want to do some harm,” said Goldberg.
Others opposed to the ban say concealed permit holders have to pass a background check, and therefore are authorized to have that gun.
"As long as he checks and says, 'Yes I have my concealed gun, I have a valid permit,' that should give him right to go in there,” said Lewis.
The actions of Herring would’ve gutted Virginia reciprocity agreements with tow-dozen states. This announcement was made right around Christmas time. Amid the uproar, in January, McAuliffe reversed course, adding that he would restore those rights, which he did in February. In doing so, Virginia’s carry permit became one of the most permissible in the country, rivaling that of Utah.
Concealed carry holders are more law-abiding than the police, and the percentage of those who have committed crimes is incredibly small; too small to make it worthy of an anti-gun talking point. At the same time, while I support those fighting against this possible piece of legislation, the real battle of reciprocity is over and we won. So, by all means, I’m for concealed carry holders being allowed to exercise their rights in state government buildings, yet it’s not something that we should do a full-blown mobilization. If Hillary Clinton wins the presidency, we need all the resources we have against her anti-gun push. If we were debating Virginia adopting constitutional carry, then that’s a different story.