Attorney General: No longer recognize concealed handgun permits from 25 other states

Posted at 2:27 PM, Dec 24, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-24 14:27:39-05

The Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring said he will no longer recognize concealed handgun permits from 25 other states come this February 2016.

The Attorney General Mark Herring said he has been working with State Police over the last several months examining and comparing concealed handgun permits in other states.

Herring made the announcement Wednesday and said Virginia won't recognize 25 other states concealed handgun permits.

The changes will mostly affect people from other states.  According to the NRA this change could impact 6.3 million people in the country.

But if you live in Virginia and are part of the 420,000 people who have a concealed handgun permit, you could be impacted you if you travel to Florida, Louisiana, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Wyoming.

Basically, laws in those states say if you don’t let us bring our guns then you can’t bring yours.

“If you are a Virginia resident and you have a Virginia permit to conceal your handgun, nothing will change for you in VA.  And if you are going to be traveling out of state, you should check that other state's law to see if they recognize the VA permit or to see if you need to get a non-resident permit,” said Herring.

Gun advocates like leaders with the group Virginia Citizens Defense League, are outraged by all of the changes.

V.C.D.L. Board Member John Fenter said he was “Surprised and angry. It’s being done in our opinion for political reasons not safety reasons.”

In a statement released to the media Herring explained his decision.

“Attorney General Mark R. Herring and the Virginia State Police have completed an audit and update of the 30 states whose concealed handgun permits have been considered valid within the Commonwealth. This audit and update was conducted pursuant to Virginia State Code § 18.2-308.014, which requires, in part, that "The Superintendent of State Police shall, in consultation with the Office of the Attorney General determine whether states meet the requirements and qualifications" for recognition of their concealed handgun permits.

In order to qualify for recognition of a permit, also known as "reciprocity," the out-of-state issuing authority must provide "the means for instantaneous verification of the validity of all such permits or licenses issued within that state, accessible 24 hours a day," and "the requirements and qualifications of that state's law" must be "adequate to prevent possession of a permit or license by persons who would be denied a permit in the Commonwealth under this article."

After months of research and evaluation, including extensive outreach to the states whose permits Virginia currently recognizes, Virginia is revoking concealed handgun permit recognition with 25 states effective February 1, 2016 because their laws are not sufficient to prevent someone who is disqualified under Virginia law from receiving a concealed handgun permit. These states therefore do not meet Virginia's standards for issuance of a concealed handgun permit or for recognition of such permits.

This update does not affect which Virginia residents or nonresidents are qualified to receive a Virginia concealed handgun permit, nor does it affect the validity of any permits that have been issued by Virginia.”

Right now there are a number of ways someone could be disqualified from getting a concealed handgun permit. Below is a list from the Attorney General in Virginia.

  1. An individual who has been ordered by a court to receive outpatient mental health treatment, who has received inpatient mental health or substance abuse treatment, or who has been adjudicated legally incompetent, mentally incapacitated, or not guilty by reason of insanity.
  2. An individual who is subject to a restraining order, or to a protective order
  3. An individual who has been convicted of stalking or has pending stalking charges
  4. An individual who has been convicted of any assault, assault and battery, sexual battery, discharging of a firearm or brandishing of a firearm within the three-year period immediately preceding the application, or has pending charges for any of the above
  5. An individual who has been convicted of a felony or has felony charges pending
  6. An individual who has been convicted of two or more misdemeanors within the five-year period immediately preceding the application
  7. An individual who is addicted to, or is an unlawful user or distributor of, marijuana, synthetic cannabinoids, or any controlled substance.
  8. An individual who has been convicted of driving under the influence within the three years prior to the application
  9. An individual who the court finds, by a preponderance of the evidence, based on specific acts by the applicant, is likely to use a weapon unlawfully or negligently to endanger others
  10. An individual whose juvenile adjudications would have constituted a felony conviction if committed by an adult
  11. An alien other than an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence
  12. An individual who is a fugitive from justice
  13. An individual who has been discharged from the armed forces of the United States under dishonorable conditions

Herring thinks the requirements to get permits in the 25 states are too lenient and they don't want people coming to Virginia without undergoing strict background checks that are similar to the ones we have here.

The statement read: “Because the following 25 states lacked adequate disqualifiers to deny a permit to someone who would be barred from obtaining a permit in Virginia, the Virginia State Police, on the advice of the Attorney General, has begun notifying the following states that their concealed handgun permits will no longer be recognized by the Commonwealth: 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.

Concealed handgun permits from Michigan, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, and West Virginia will continue to be recognized, as their process for issuing concealed handgun permits is adequate to prevent someone who would be denied a permit in Virginia from obtaining one.”

Leaders with the Attorney General’s Office say visitors to our state can still get a non-residential permit which takes roughly 30 days as long as they are eligible and pass the background checks for Virginia.

Gun advocates say they will be putting pressure on lawmakers in the upcoming legislative session in an effort to make changes to the new rules.