Dear Governor McAuliffe,
We are members of a club we hope no one else has to join. We were brought together because all of us either have had loved ones killed or injured with guns or we have been injured ourselves in a shooting, and all of us have resolved to do whatever is in our power to prevent our club from expanding. You have been a leader who has shown the greatest courage on this issue and been an inspiration to so many of us.
In what you are billing as a "compromise" with the NRA, you've decided to gut the action that Attorney General Herring recently took to strengthen enforcement of existing Virginia law by caving to the gun lobby's demands on the issue of out-of-state permit recognition.
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 and carry concealed, loaded weapons—even though these people would be barred from carrying concealed weapons under Virginia's standards. That means that they would play by their own set of rules rather than ours.
It's practically a giveaway.
Virginians have long understood that in order to obtain a concealed carry permit, one should have to receive training and be subject to a comprehensive background check. Last month, Virginia's Attorney General, Mark Herring, announced that of the 30 other states whose permits Virginia recognized, just 5 had standards that matched those we've set here in the commonwealth. Many of us praised him when he took action to make sure that only those state permits whose standards met ours would be recognized here.
Now, just more than a month later, you're proposing to not only undo this wise step, but--if reports are true--going even further by forcing Virginia law enforcement to recognize potentially every state’s concealed carry permit, even from those that do not meet Virginia’s standards.
That’s dangerous and it’s wrong.
Many of us have spoken with you at rallies. We've backed you in your election for Governor. You’ve comforted us and our families in some of our darkest moments. You have BEEN a true friend to each of us and your support has meant so much to us. Over time, we've come to see you as a true champion of our ideals. A courageous fighter who stood up to the callousness of a gun lobby that for too long exerted undue influence over our political process here in Virginia.
This isn't the first time that we've been disappointed in a Virginia politician. But when you campaigned on this issue, you were different.
We hope you'll reconsider and continue to be a leader in Virginia on this important issue.
Sincerely, [List in development, current as of 10 AM, January 29th]
Andy Parker, Father of Alison Parker, shot and killed on live television on August 26th, 2015
Barbara Parker, Mother of Alison Parker, shot and killed on live television on August 26th, 2015
Uma Loganathan, Daughter of Professor G.V. Loganathan, shot and killed in the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting
Colin Goddard, Survivor of the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting
Megan Doney, Professor at New River Community College in Christiansburg and survivor of the shooting there on April 12, 2013
Lynnette Alameddine, Mother of Ross Alameddine, shot and killed in the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting Scott Poole, Survivor of the 1998 Shore Drive shooting in Virginia Beach
Patricia Craig, Aunt of Ryan Christopher Clark, shot and killed in the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting
Harry Pryde, Father of Julia Pryde, shot and killed in the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting
Karen Pryde, Mother of Julia Pryde, shot and killed in the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting
Stefanie Hofer, Widow of Jamie Bishop, German instructor shot and killed in the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting
Jeffrey Twigg, Survivor of the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting Jerzey Nowak, Wife of Jocelyne Couture-Nowak, shot and killed in the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting
Michael Bishop, Father of Jamie Bishop, German instructor shot and killed in the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting
Jeri Bishop, Mother of Jamie Bishop, German instructor shot and killed in the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting
Jeanette Richardson, Mother of Patrick McKinley, shot and killed in Newport News, VA, 2004