RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A push is underway to defund Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe's security detail, following his ban on firearms from government grounds and last week's announcement that the Commonwealth will not recognize concealed handgun permits from 25 states.
"If he is so afraid of guns, then I am not going to surround him with armed policemen," said Senator Charles Carrico (R-40), as he explained why he wants to defund the governor's armed detail which is made up of multiple Virginia State Police Officers.
The move comes after an executive order signed by the governor to keep guns out of dangerous hands. It reads in part, "we must take every precaution to protect our citizens and state employees from gun violence. We cannot wait until a tragedy occurs to decide to address it. Prevention requires us to address areas of concern before they are realized. Accordingly, I hereby declare that it is the policy of the Commonwealth that open carry of firearms shall be prohibited in offices occupied by executive branch agencies, unless held by law enforcement, authorized security, or military personnel authorized to carry firearms in accordance with their duties."
In addition to that order, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring recently announced that effective February 1, Virginia will no longer recognize concealed handgun permits from 25 states whose qualifications do not meet Virginia's safety standards. That notice is a result of an audit completed by the Attorney General and Virginia State Police. A press release states, "after months of research and evaluation, including extensive outreach to the states whose permits Virginia currently recognizes, Virginia is revoking concealed handgun permit recognition with 25 states effective February 1, 2016 because their laws are not sufficient to prevent someone who is disqualified under Virginia law from receiving a concealed handgun permit. These states therefore do not meet Virginia's standards for issuance of a concealed handgun permit or for recognition of such permits."
Sen. Carrico feels if the governor will not allow citizens to carry firearms with those out-of-state permits, then the governor should not be surrounded by security detail carrying firearms. He plans to propose a budget amendment during the January session to defund the governor's protective detail.
"If we take the money away spent to protect the governor and put it back into the state police, that are already short-manned, and put it into key positions to protect those in the Commonwealth, since we have a governor in an office keeping them from protecting themselves, then I think it is logical," explained Sen. Carrico.
"Reactionary temper tantrums may play well on right-wing blogs, but they don't make anyone safer," responded the governor's office. "Governor McAuliffe has worked with local, state and federal law enforcement officials to keep guns out of dangerous hands by better enforcing Virginia gun's safety laws, a common refrain of gun advocates. As a gun owner himself, the Governor is ready to work with the General Assembly on common sense steps like universal background checks. Unfortunately, Mr. Carrico's quote is a good representation of the interest he and his colleagues have shown in productive work on this serious issue so far."
It isn't clear exactly how much money is spent on protecting the governor, because state code exempts the release of total state police personnel assigned to the Executive Protective Unit.
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