Virginia will stop honoring concealed carry permits from more than two dozen other states that currently have reciprocity privileges with the commonwealth.
Attorney General Mark Herring, a Democrat, announced the change Tuesday after a state audit determined that gun laws in 25 states failed to meet Virginia’s requirements for concealed handguns. The shift will take effect Feb. 1.
In announcing termination of the agreements on out-of-state on permits, Herring said it ensures that individuals disqualified under Virginia law from obtaining a concealed weapons permit can’t use the reciprocity agreement to carry firearms in the state.
“While you are here, you are subject to the commonwealth’s gun laws,” Herring said during a press conference.
Virginia bars anyone with a record for stalking, assault, drug use or drunk driving from carrying a handgun. Individuals with a legal history of mental health treatment or those dishonorably discharged from the military also are disqualified.
Herring said ending the reciprocity agreements is a “commonsense” step that blocks potentially dangerous or irresponsible persons from lawfully carrying a weapon in Virginia.
Gun rights advocates slammed the change as politically motivated.
Virginia Del. Rob Bell, a Republican looking to unseat Herring in 2017, called the new policy “another Washington-style overreach from a nakedly partisan attorney general.”
“Instead of doing the job he was elected to do, Mark Herring continues to put the political goals of his liberal supporters ahead of sound legal judgment,” Bell said in a prepared statement.
The National Rifle Association criticized the attorney general for placing “politics above public safety.”
“This decision is both dangerous and shameful,” said Chris Cox, executive director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action. “The attorney general knows that permit holders are among the safest groups of citizens in the commonwealth and the country.”
Virginia will sever concealed carry agreements with these states: 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.
Six of the states—Florida, Louisiana, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Wyoming—will stop accepting Virginia concealed carry permits because their laws “require mutual recognition of permits.”
Herring said concealed carry permits from Michigan, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah and West Virginia will remain valid in Virginia.
Virginia’s gun laws “should not be undermined by wrongly recognizing permits from other states with more permissive standards,” he said.
The change marks the latest move by Virginia Democrats seeking to enact stricter gun control measures by circumventing the Republican-led General Assembly.
Gov. Terry McAuliffe, also a Democrat, signed an executive order in October prohibiting open carrying of firearms in some state buildings. In April, McAuliffe vetoed three bills aimed at easing gun laws.
Source material can be found at this site.