(CNSNews.com) -- Defunding the armed security detail that protects Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe is only fair since the governor signed an executive order in October preventing law-abiding citizens from bringing their firearms onto state property, a Virginia state senator says.
“I’m only asking for equal protection here, basically,” Sen. Charles “Bill” Carrico (R-Galax) told CNSNews.com. “The governor talks about equal protection under the law, and that’s what I’m asking for.
“The budget amendment that I’m having drafted is drafted under the public safety section of the budget. And it basically says that th[ere] will not be any appropriations of funding used for the governor’s executive protection unit as long as his Executive Order 50 stays in place, which basically prohibits anyone from carrying concealed weapons on the state properties.
“If he’s not going to allow us, the citizens of Virginia to protect themselves, then he has to make this decision. If he doesn’t want us to be protected, then why should the citizens...pay the taxes that pay for this executive protection unit [to] have this protection around him?”
McAuliffe's executive order states that "open carry of firearms shall be prohibited in offices occuped by executive branch agencies, unless held by law enforcement, authorized security, or military personnel authorized to carry firearms in accordance with their duties."
It also orders state employees to "propose regulations to ban the carrying of concealed weapons 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."
Carrico, who has a concealed carry permit, says the ban does not extend to the General Assembly building, which is controlled by the legislative branch.
A spokesman for the governor called Carrico’s proposed budget amendment defunding McAuliffe’s armed security detail a “reactionary temper tantrum.”
But the state senator responded that his constituents “agree 100 percent with me.”
“When the governor talks about being childish, this doesn’t affect me at all,” he added. “I’m a retired state trooper and I have a federal carry permit. I train every year. I can carry mine [weapon] anywhere in the United States.
"I’m fighting for my constituents and all the other citizens of Virginia. I have nothing personal to gain at all from this,” Carrico told CNSNews.com.
“I just feel that he’s trampling on the constitutional rights of my constituents and all the other citizens of Virginia, and if he considers that a temper tantrum, then he’s a little more childish than I expected.”
McAuliffe, who unsuccessfully pushed for stricter gun control laws in the commonwealth, signed the executive order on October 15, bypassing the Republican-controlled General Assembly, which has consistently refused to curb Second Amendment rights.
The executive order not only “implements a law that doesn’t exist,” it also restricts the rights of law-abiding concealed carry permit holders, Carrico said. “People who have concealed carry permits do business on state property all the time. They shouldn’t be treated as criminals."
CNSNews.com asked the state senator if Gov. McAuliffe had provided legislators with evidence showing that concealed carry permit holders were endangering public safety.
“Well, that’s the whole irony of this. There’s no evidence they’re producing that there’s been a problem on state properties with concealed handguns,” he replied.
On December 22, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring unilaterally announced that starting on February 1, 2016, the commonwealth would no longer honor its reciprocal concealed-carry agreements with 25 other states. However, concealed-carry permits issued by Michigan, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah and West Virginia will still be recognized in Virginia, Herring’s office said.
Carrico told CNSNews.com that reciprocity is “totally separate from the executive order,” but added that there's no evidence that concealed carry permit holders from other states are causing a problem either.
“They’re not producing any evidence that there’s any problems with out-of-state people coming in Virginia that have a legal concealed carry permit from Tennessee, Kentucky, North Carolina, which are our surrounding states.
“I called the colonel of the State Police and asked him if there’s any data that shows that there’s crimes being committed by these individuals, and he said they don’t have any data because they don’t know who in those other states are concealed carry permit holders."
“I’m going to be working on a bill that opens reciprocity to all 50 states to address that issue,” he added.