Terry McAuliffe's executive action on voting rights eased process for felons to get guns
As congressional Democrats spent the week pressing for the passage of new gun control legislation, violent felons in Virginia were able to take steps towards having their right to own a firearm restored thanks to action taken by the state’s Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe.
When McAuliffe restored the voting rights for 206,000 felons in a move critics say was politically motivated, he also opened the door for those felons to have their right to own a firearm restored.
Previously, felons would individually have to petition the executive branch to have their civil rights restored. Petitioners would have to fill out an application to the secretary of the commonwealth and submit a letter to the governor explaining why they deserve to have their rights restored.
Decisions were made on a case-by-case basis. This was abandoned when McAuliffe restored the rights for both violent and nonviolent felons, eliminating the need for any application.
Included in the civil rights McAuliffe granted through his sweeping order is the ability to petition a local circuit court judge to restore firearms rights. The secretary of the commonwealth warned the courts that this would cause a spike in gun rights requests.
Among the individuals who have already taken advantage of the change is Rodell Callahan, a 36-year-old man who has a long history of violent behavior.