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Out of State Travelers Beware: No More Gun Permit Reciprocity in Virginia

If you are visiting friends or family in Virginia from out of state this year, you may want to think twice about bringing your gun with you. Although Virginia has historically recognized the concealed carry permits of most other states, new regulations have changed that. Attorney General Mark Herring recently announced that Virginia’s reciprocity agreements with 25 other states regarding concealed carry permits will be severed because these states have less stringent requirements than Virginia to obtain such permits. The attorney general described such lesser requirements as enabling people to circumvent Virginia law, and stated that, “while you are here, you are subject to the commonwealth’s gun laws.”

However, political opponents of the attorney general have questioned the legality of the move, and arguably they have a point under the state’s reciprocity statute. The statute clearly sanctions the recognition of out of state permits so long as they meet certain verification requirements. Additionally, pursuant to the statute, the issuing state’s requirements are to be “adequate to prevent possession of a permit or license by persons who would be denied a permit in the Commonwealth under this article.” Apparently the disagreement is over whether this second prong is met with respect to these states.

States Affected

According to the report, concealed carry permits from each of the following states are no longer recognized in Virginia:

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.

This means that even if you legally own your firearm in one of these states and have never committed a crime, you can be arrested for possessing it in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Concealed Carry in Virginia

While this ruling primarily affects concealed carry weapons permit holders from other states traveling to Virginia, it also provides a useful opportunity to look at the requirements to obtain such a permit in Virginia. In other words, what is it about Virginia’s gun regulations that makes them so much more stringent than those of the 25 other states.

Virginia law specifies 20 distinct conditions that disqualify people from obtaining a concealed carry permit. In addition to certain criminal convictions, the Commonwealth of Virginia excludes certain classes of non-criminals from owning guns. These include:

  1. Immigrants in the United States legally;
  2. Persons deemed to be likely to commit a crime of violence (despite never being convicted);
  3. Persons who have juvenile delinquencies that would have been a felony if they were adults;
  4. Anyone who has felony charges pending; and
  5. A person who has received mental health treatment or substance abuse treatment within five years.

Carrying a concealed firearm without a permit is a misdemeanor, while a second offense is a felony.

Contact a Virginia Criminal Attorney Today

Weapons offenses are vigorously prosecuted in Virginia. If you are accused of a crime involving a firearm, you need the best available representation. Firearm laws cast a broad and complex net that can catch many unawares, even if you think you own your gun legally. At Simms Showers in Leesburg, we know how to ensure that your rights are protected in the face of these accusations. Contact us today.

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