Sunday, December 27, 2015

Mark Herring: Common Sense on Gun Laws

Mark Herring - let's enforce existing gun laws
Here in Virginia, the Republican Party of Virginia wants to regulate every aspect of a woman's reproductive system yet when it comes to guns, they want little or no restrictions and, if given the opportunity, would ignore existing gun laws on the books.  So last week when Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring announced that concealed carry permits from 25 states would not be honored in Virginia - for the simple reason that they had less exacting requirements - the knuckle draggers of the Virginia GOP's base and their whore like sycophants with in the General Assembly went into spittle flecked rants.  Never mind that Virginia's concealed carry law had been approved by the GOP controlled House of Delegates.  The Virginian Pilot has unloaded on these disingenuous Republicans in a main editorial.  Here are excerpts:
Attorney General Mark Herring inspired the usual fury last week with a decision that will effectively bar residents of some other states from carrying concealed weapons in Virginia. The commonwealth’s 2nd Amendment absolutists, including those in the General Assembly, accused him of political toadying, repaying a debt or overreaching. Usually all three.

“The House of Delegates will immediately begin a careful review of the Attorney General’s findings,” said Speaker William J. Howell.

While lawmakers — like Howell — divine motives and bow deeply to Virginia’s gun-rights fundamentalists, they should also specify which other laws Virginia should ignore.

Herring’s decision was inspired by the simple fact that the guidelines for a concealed carry permit in several other states are weaker than Virginia’s.

The commonwealth has a long list of standards for obtaining a concealed-carry permit, including mental fitness. People who are here illegally, or have been subject to a restraining order or been convicted of certain domestic crimes are similarly barred in Virginia, as are felons or those with drug convictions and people dishonorably discharged from the military.

But the standards in 25 other states aren’t up to similar snuff, according to Herring’s analysis: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

Because of reciprocity agreements among the states that offer concealed carry permits, that created a problem: Someone from another state who doesn’t meet Virginia’s standards could carry a weapon concealed in the commonwealth.

That’s the kind of state’s rights loophole that Virginia lawmakers would ordinarily clamor to close. Except when it comes to guns, which inspire the kind of legislative and logical gymnastics that would make any Olympian proud.

“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,” Herring said.

Stripped away of the political theater, Herring’s move simply enforces laws already on the books, a constant refrain from gun-rights advocates — right up until the moment somebody actually tries to do so.

A solution to the divergent state laws on concealed carry permits would be either consistent model legislation that each state could adopt, or a federal standard to provide an umbrella. But such a sensible solution doesn’t allow much room for politicians to stomp red-faced about the stage.

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