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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

By Ian Simpson

(Reuters) – Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe on Friday signed compromise gun legislation that recognizes concealed-carry permits from all states while making it illegal for someone under a permanent protective order to possess a firearm.

McAuliffe, a Democrat, struck the deal with the Republican-controlled legislature last month. Some lawmakers and gun rights groups had objected to Attorney General Keith Herring’s decision in December to stop honoring concealed-handgun permits from 25 states.

“Virginians elect their leaders to work together to get things done, and today I am proud to say we did just that,” McAuliffe said in a statement.

McAuliffe, a former Democratic National Committee chairman, called the package the biggest step forward on gun safety in more than two decades.

Under the new laws, Virginia must recognize concealed-handgun permits from all other states, a rollback of Herring’s stance.

Virginia can confiscate firearms from anyone who is under a permanent protective order for domestic violence offenses. The legislature had rejected such measures for years.

Virginia State Police also will attend gun shows to provide voluntary background checks for private sellers.

Because of the compromise, McAuliffe has come under criticism from gun control advocates, including Everytown for Gun Safety, the organization founded by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Everytown for Gun Safety had poured money last year into Virginia, the home of the National Rifle Association gun lobby, in a failed bid to have Democrats take control of the state Senate.

Reacting to McAuliffe’s approval of the legislation, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence praised the domestic abuse provision as a step in the right direction.

But it said the concealed-carry law would let Virginians who are not eligible for a permit to circumvent it by getting a permit from another state and then carry a gun in Virginia.

“In addition to the public safety concerns, this new approach sends a terrible message that Virginia is unwilling to enforce its own laws,” the group said.

(Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

Photo: Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe walks after a news conference at the Mariel port in Artemisa province, Cuba January 5, 2016. REUTERS/Enrique de la Osa