In retaliation for Democratic Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe’s recent push for tougher gun control laws, State Senator Bill Carrico (R-Dist. 40) says he intends to introduce a budget amendment in the next session that would strip the governor of his armed State Police executive protection unit.
Sen. Carrico told The Bristol Herald Courier, “A lot of the governor’s power is deferred to the General Assembly at that point and I’ll be getting with my colleagues to circumvent everything this governor has done on this point. I have a budget amendment that I’m looking at to take away his executive protection unit. If he’s so afraid of guns, then I’m not going to surround him with armed state policemen.”
He added in comments to Fox News, “It’s easy for someone who is surrounded by armed state policemen to tell someone else they can’t carry a weapon to protect themselves. It’s just equal treatment, that’s all I’m saying.”
McAuliffe’s administration drew ire with Republicans by resorting to executive action to implement gun control measures, including a ban on firearms in state buildings. The issue reached a fever-pitch when Va. Attorney General Mark Herring announced that the state would no longer honor concealed carry permits from 25 states, including neighbors North Carolina, Kentucky, and Tennessee, placing concealed carriers in border towns like Bristol, Tenn. under threat of being arrested, jailed for up to 12 months, and issued a fine of up to $2,500 if they carry concealed in the wrong part of town.
“I think it’s a crock. I think this is a political play that will have a greater impact on Bristol, Tennessee residents than Virginia residents. If a Tennessee resident has a conceal-carry permit and has their firearm they won’t even be able to cross the street,” said Virginia resident Rob Culberson.
Attorney General Herring says those 25 states have weaker restrictions on concealed carriers that do not meet Virginia’s standards.
“Strong, consistent enforcement of Virginia’s laws and safety standards can prevent disqualified people who may be dangerous or irresponsible from utilizing a concealed handgun permit, and it’s what the law requires,” he said.
Sen. Carrico argued, “I absolutely think it’s absurd. I think it’s a threat to the people of Virginia that have concealed carry handgun permit reciprocity from other states. … This is all political and I hope people see that.”
Virginia’s concealed carriers will no longer benefit from handgun permit reciprocity in 6 of the 25 affected states, which require reciprocity as a condition of accepting another state’s permit.
Republicans in the GOP-led Virginia General Assembly are working on a bill that would reverse Herring’s policy shift on concealed carry permits from other states.