Virginia Attorney General Mark R. Herring announced a new policy revoking concealed-carry reciprocity with 25 states this week on the basis that the other states’ permitting processes are less restrictive.
The change will go into effect on Feb. 1. Michigan, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah and West Virginia concealed-carry permit holders will still be honored. Herring’s office said that the other 25 states “lacked adequate disqualifiers to deny a permit to someone who would be barred from obtaining a permit in Virginia.”
“While you are here, you are subject to the commonwealth’s gun laws,” said Herring.
Virginia residents will also be affected by the policy as many of the 25 states, e.g. Florida, Louisiana, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Wyoming require mutual reciprocity agreements. These states will no longer recognize Virginian concealed-carry permits.
The move is in-line with Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s pro-gun control administration and one of the Center for American Progress’ 28 ways to increase gun control in the face of an unwavering Congress. Earlier this year McAuliffe signed an executive order barring concealed-carry in state facilities.
“This has been where the gun violence prevention movement is going,” said Chelsea Parsons, a vice president of Center for American Progress. “In much the same way President Obama said I’m not going to wait for Congress anymore, the same can be said for leaders at the state level to really use their authority to take strong meaningful steps on this issue.” Parsons co-authored the report detailing new ways to increase gun control at the state and local level.
Parsons co-authored the report detailing new ways to increase gun control at the state and local level.
Meanwhile, the National Rifle Association was quick to condemn the decision. “Plain and simple, Mark Herring is putting politics above public safety,” said NRA-ILA executive director Chris Cox. “This decision is both dangerous and shameful. The Attorney General knows that permit holders are among the safest groups of citizens in the Commonwealth and the country. At a time when people are scared and desperately need the ability to defend themselves, Herring has chosen the path of making self-defense harder.”
“Those affected by this reckless political decision are law-abiding citizens—not dangerous criminals. Attorney General Herring is putting lives at risk by removing the constitutional right of law-abiding citizens to defend themselves in the Commonwealth,” said Cox. “The National Rifle Association will fight this decision in every arena possible. Further, this reaffirms our commitment to enact national right to carry reciprocity legislation in Congress.”
The NRA’s position was joined by Virginia House Speaker William J. Howell (R) who said that “Mark Herring consistently seeks to interpret and apply the law of the commonwealth through the lens of his own personal, political opinions,” Virginia House Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford) said. “He is damaging the integrity of the office he holds.”
When the policy goes into affect, concealed-carry permits issued from Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming will no longer be honored.
At least for now, Virginia still issues concealed-carry permits to non-residents.