Richmond, Va. - Virginia will no longer recognize concealed carry handgun permits from 25 states that they currently have reciprocity agreements with, Virginia Attorney General Mark R. Herring announced on Tuesday.
“If you are a Virginia resident and you have a Virginia permit to conceal you handgun, nothing will change for you in Virginia, Attorney General Mark Herring said. “If you are going to be traveling out of state you should that other states law to see if they recognize a Virginia permit or to see you need to get a nonresident permit.”
Herring’s office reviewed the agreements with the 30 states Virginia has concealed carry agreements with and found that 25 of those states had permit regulations that were weaker than Virginia’s.
The states are: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
Agreements will remain with West Virginia, Michigan, Oklahoma, Texas and Utah.
The change impacts 420,000 people in Virginia who have a concealed handgun permits if they plan on traveling to Florida, Louisiana, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Wyoming.
The State Police superintendent accepted Herring’s recommendation to sever agreements with those states, effective Feb. 1.
According to Virginia law, there are 20 conditions that would disqualify a person from being issued a concealed carry permit.
They include anyone in the United States illegally, subject to a protection from abuse order, or convicted of various criminal charges from drunken driving to assault and battery.
State Senator Frank Wagner says the issue is likely to come up during the next General Assembly session. "It's kind of unbelievable. We worked many years working for these reciprocal agreements with other states," said Wagner. "We can't believe they're trying to take guns out of the hands of law abiding gun owners."
Gun advocates, like leaders with the group Virginia Citizens Defense League, are outraged by the changes.
“It's being done in our opinion for political reasons not safety reasons,” said VCDL board member John Fenter.
Gun sales have been high this holiday season, according to Robert Marcus, the owner of Bob's Gun Shop in Norfolk. He says concealed carry permit owners aren't the problem. "This was quite a surprise. I think it's poorly times. I don't think it's reasonable. It's going to create a stir at the General Assembly in January."
The NRA says this change impacts 6.3 million concealed permit holders throughout the country.
Leaders with the Attorney General's Office say visitors to Virginia can still get a nonresidential permit, which takes roughly 30 days, as long as they are eligible and pass the background checks.