RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Governor Terry McAuliffe signed Executive Order 50 on Thursday in an effort to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people.
McAuliffe was joined by the families of Virginia Tech victims, police and the parents of murdered WDBJ journalist Alison Parker.
The order bans guns from executive state office buildings. That does not include the Capitol or the General Assembly building and it doesn’t apply to law enforcement officers.
Additionally, the action creates a state task force to prosecute gun crimes, aimed at making sure only licensed dealers sell guns and people that shouldn’t have guns aren’t able to get them. A state tip line is also being made so people can report anyone that is breaking gun laws and collect a reward.
“Gun crimes are not acts of god, but for too long certain politicians and lobbyists have told us the gun violence in America is some sort of natural phenomena, something we cannot do anything about,” McAuliffe said.
Meanwhile, Senator Tim Kaine says he will fight for tougher gun regulations at the federal level, while criticizing the NRA for not supporting background checks.
“What I’ve concluded is that the NRA no longer speaks for their members,” Kaine said. “They’re heavily funded, and they speak for gun manufacturers.”
The governor says he’ll continue to work with the Attorney General’s office to determine if there is anything else he can do on his own to tighten gun regulations.
Gun advocates are critical of the executive action.
“The governor’s announcement is nothing but politics, and the problem with it being just politics and actually not doing something is that it actually endangers people,” said Philip Van Cleave, president of the Virginia Citizens Defense League. “We’re not having any problems is any of our government buildings, but (McAuliffe) wants to suddenly make them a gun-free zone.”