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Del. Ken Plum: A Debatable Deal on Guns

by Del. Ken Plum February 11, 2016 at 11:30 am 14 Comments

Del. Ken Plum/File photoThis is an opinion column from Del. Ken Plum (D), who represents Reston in Virginia’s House of Delegates. It does not reflect the opinion of Reston Now.

Opponents of legislation to prevent gun violence have said for years that current laws on the books should be enforced before new laws were passed, but they quickly changed their minds when Attorney General Mark Herring moved to enforce Virginia’s law on recognizing concealed weapon permits from other states.

At least 25 states have standards for allowing concealed weapons that are less stringent than Virginia, and his ruling would have ended reciprocity with these states.

Representatives of the National Rifle Association (NRA) came to the McAuliffe administration to offer concessions on other gun safety proposals if reciprocity with other states could be reestablished. The gun advocates agreed that they would drop their opposition to voluntary background checks and to taking guns from those for whom a permanent protective order had been issued if reciprocity was restored.

View from the General Assembly/Credit: Ken PlumThis so-called “deal” between the McAuliffe administration and the NRA will continue to be argued as to who was the winner. The legislation to effect the compromise will be debated by the legislature in the coming weeks. I expect to vote for the voluntary background check bill; even though it is limited, it is at least a small step forward.

A subcommittee of the Militia, Police, and Public Safety Committee defeated my bill that would have closed the gun show loophole by requiring a background check for all gun sales at gun shows. Under the compromise bill, a state police officer will be at all gun shows to do a voluntary background check on sales that do not include a licensed gun show dealer.

I will also vote for the bill that will take guns from those against whom a permanent protective order has been issued. While this bill is part of the deal, it needs to be expanded to include temporary and emergency protective orders.

I will not vote for a bill that surrenders Virginia’s right to set its own standards for issuing concealed weapon permits. While the NRA clearly favors expanded concealed weapon laws across the states, I do not think it is in the best public safety interest to recognize concealed weapon permits from states with limited standards including those that will issue such permits to convicted felons. I commend Attorney General Mark Herring for the courageous position he has taken on this issue, and I will continue to support him.

Working together across party lines is important to the legislative process. The deal before the General Assembly on preventing gun violence has been described as a small, modest improvement.

As I made clear in a speech on the floor of the House of Delegates, I view this as just a beginning. As the advocates with whom I participate in a vigil at NRA headquarters on the 14th of every month — the anniversary of the Sandy Hook shootings — make clear, we will not forget, and we will continue to work for more common sense gun safety measures.

Photo from General Assembly floor by Ken Plum

  • Mike M

    Ken, your arguments are false. You cite the Sandy Hook shootings. Yet NONE of your proposals nor any of the other proposals would have done anything to prevent that incident or any of the other rare incidents that were a hit with the national media. Your remonstration is disconnected from anything related to problem solving. But then what’s new? You are a Democrat. You fight bogeymen for a living. You simply want to erode the Second Amendment by any means – even false flags. Love, Mike M.

    • Chuck Morningwood

      So, this legislation makes no sense to you simply because it wouldn’t have stopped Sandy Hook or many other gun-based atrocities? I fail to see the logic in that. Should we have no laws regulating possession of a firearm simply because it won’t stop all gun crimes?

      I believe in the rights of the citizens to own guns, but this has to be done within reason. Allowing transfer of ownership of a gun without a background check is not a smart policy. Recognizing CCW permits from states with lax laws doesn’t seem like smart policy either. If folks from other states need to carry in the Commonwealth, let them get either a permanent or temporary permit.

      • Mike M

        Here’s the logic. Politicians, feigning outrage, say in the wake of Sandy Hook and every similar mass murder, “We need common sense gun control.” Then they proceed to propose controls that have NOTHING to do with the incident that prompted the “outrage.” My point is that it is illogical for politicians to connect their proposals with problems the proposals do not address. My point is that the gun control proposals are not logical.

        You opinions are not logic, they are opinions:
        1) Allowing transfer of ownership of a gun without a background check is not a smart policy.
        2) Recognizing CCW permits from states with lax laws doesn’t seem like smart policy either.

        • Chuck Morningwood

          I never claimed that they were “logic”. I said that “it is not smart policy”.

          Like I said, just because there are a bunch of holes in the boat doesn’t mean you shouldn’t plug some of them just because it doesn’t plug all of them.

      • Mike McHugh

        Here’s the logic. Politicians, feigning outrage, say in the wake of Sandy Hook and every similar mass murder, “We need common sense gun control.” Then they proceed to propose controls that have NOTHING to do with the incident that prompted the “outrage.” My point is that it is illogical for politicians to connect their proposals with problems the proposals do not address. My point is that the gun control proposals are not logical.

        You opinions are not logic, they are opinions:
        1) Allowing transfer of ownership of a gun without a background check is not a smart policy.
        2) Recognizing CCW permits from states with lax laws doesn’t seem like smart policy either.

  • cRAzy

    So why did you vote to limit the use of proffers in residential development, forcing either traffic-choking gridlock or higher property taxes on Reston residents?

    This mind-numbing epistle is redundant, ridiculous, and useless even among those of us who want greater gun control.

    Speak to something real, not your usual agenda of platitudes.

  • Hospital Bills

    Over 90 percent of all gun shot wounds are self inflicted. Should we continue to allow this mental health care crisis to continue?

    • CE

      No but we also need to end the loophole that gets ineffective career politicians reelected.

  • Sally Forth

    I agree with cRAzy, Ken Plum. What are you thinking with your proffer vote? You are such a huge disappointment to the Democrats and all ciitzens of FFX Co. and Reston except developers. Shame, Shame, Shame. Ditto for Janet Howell… You have stabbed Reston in the gut and we are livid. Good luck with YOUR next elections!!! A former supporter.

  • 30yearsinreston

    “Working together across party lines is important to the legislative process.”
    It takes 2 to negotiate

  • 30yearsinreston

    MCAuliffe is more interested in deal making than the deal itself

  • Mike McHugh

    Ken, your arguments are false. You cite the Sandy Hook shootings. Yet NONE of your proposals nor any of the other proposals would have done anything to prevent that incident or any of the other rare incidents that were a hit with the national media. Your remonstration is disconnected from anything related to problem solving. But then what’s new? You are a Democrat. You fight bogeymen for a living. You simply want to erode the Second Amendment by any means – even false flags.

    You wouldn’t be trying to distract the electorate from another issue? Would you?

    Love, Mike M.

  • Mary Cavanaugh

    Sandy Hook Dad speaks on gun legislation: https://www.facebook.com/DefendAndCarry/?fref=ts&ref=br_tf

  • Mary Cavanaugh

    The truth about the “gun show loophole”… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UEihkjKNhN8

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