Virginia law already has in place protections to make sure guns stay out of the hands of dangerous, violent, or mentally ill citizens. However, like so many laws all across the country, sometimes they lack in enforcement. Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, has had enough in the relaxed approach to gun violence.
As the debate rages on since the three college shootings just this month, McAuliffe has issued an executive action that will better enforce the existing law that keeps guns out of the hands of the dangerous.
At a signing ceremony, attended by Virginia Senator Tim Kaine, State Attorney General Mark Herring along with members of Virginia’s law enforcement and gun safety advocacy community, McAuliffe said:
The actions directed in this executive order will help our Commonwealth better enforce Virginia laws designed to keep guns away from people who would use them for harm. The task force I have convened will take tangible steps to bring more successful prosecutions of gun crimes, and the other steps outlined in the order will aid in our efforts to keep families safe from gun violence. We must continue to work to overcome political resistance to commonsense gun safety legislation, but in the mean time I am committed to using every power of my office to prevent senseless killings.
The unilateral action includes cracking down on universal background checks which are aimed at keeping guns away from violent criminals. However, the executive action goes even further, and puts in place enforcement to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers and stalkers — which were rejected by Republicans in the state’s General Assembly:
Cases of domestic violence in which there is access to firearms often ends in needless tragedy. The power to prevent gun purchases, however, is not effective when the domestic abuser or felon already has access to guns.
Accordingly, in consultation with the Office of the Attorney General, we will be working, through training and advocacy, to encourage prosecutors and judges to use their broad power in both criminal sentencing and in domestic violence protective orders to require persons prohibited from obtaining guns to forfeit guns they may already possess.
So once again, a Democrat is cleaning up messes from the Republicans that endanger lives.
President Obama could follow in the same lines as Governor McAuliffe. As the Washington Post noted:
[President Obama can] Make clear that private gun sellers who peddle a ‘significant number of guns’ must obtain federal firearms licenses, which would require them to run background checks on buyers and keep records that federal authorities could audit.
While it’s not set in stone, trying to take action is better than no action.
Good on Governor Terry McAuliffe, who probably just saved many lives down the road.
Featured Image via Wiki Commons