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By James England via concealednation.org

Virignia Governor Terry McAuliffe signed into law a new reciprocity agreement after quite a public fiasco that happened over the past few months. Concealed carriers in Virginia and around the country let out a collective sigh of relief when the Governor agreed to a Republican-backed measure to ensure concealed carry reciprocity with the majority of other states.  There was a serious scare a little while back when the Attorney General decided to take drastic measures to reduce reciprocity with 25 other states. This resulted in a huge debacle for those in neighboring states . . .

Thankfully, it looks like this political quagmire is over. As the Washington Post reports, the governor and legislators all seem peachy-keen on the new deal they’ve struck which is set to take effect on July 1st.

“This is a bipartisan deal that will make Virginians safer,” McAuliffe spokesman Brian Coy said. “It also demonstrates that Democrats and Republicans can work together on key issues like keeping guns out of dangerous hands.”

Attorney General Mark R. Herring’s move effectively gutted Virginia concealed carry reciprocity. When we first covered it, we were a bit flabbergasted that pundits were calling it “purely political maneuvering” when there are real people caught in the proverbial cross-hairs. The move — particularly affecting those living in cities near the state’s borders — put real people in potential legal jeopardy.

But, I guess the joke’s on us, right?

While we’re really glad that the Old Dominion has decided to reverse the AG’s move, it’s still a painful “win”.  What guarantees do we have that the governor won’t decide to hold concealed carriers hostage again? Why does this feel like we’re negotiating with a supervillian instead of democratically elected executive?

Gun right supporters made some trade-offs in order to get reciprocity restored. For one, any Virginian resident under a two-year protective custody order for domestic violence can now be legally stripped of his or her firearms. And the Virginia State Police will be represented at every gun show to provide background checks upon request.

All said and done, I’d rather be able to carry legally in Virginia than have to treat the commonwealth like I do Maryland — with my handgun unloaded and locked in the trunk of my car.

The Governor’s office released the following statement regarding the new law:

Governor Terry McAuliffe today finalized a historic bipartisan agreement to make Virginia safer by signing three key pieces of legislation into law. Joined by First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe, Democratic and Republican legislators, law enforcement officials, Virginia prosecutors and domestic violence prevention advocates at a signing ceremony in the Virginia Executive Mansion, the Governor thanked the leaders who worked with him and his team to make this agreement a reality.

“The historic bipartisan agreement will make Virginia safer by keeping guns out of the hands of domestic abusers and people who cannot pass background checks,” said Governor McAuliffe. “Virginians elect their leaders to work together to get things done, and today I am proud to say we did just that. This is the most significant step forward on gun safety in 24 years, and I look forward to continuing to work with the General Assembly and the public safety community to build on the progress we made this session.”

The three bills signed by Governor McAuliffe were part of a bipartisan agreement with the General Assembly to pass legislation requiring any person who is subject to a permanent protective order for family abuse to relinquish his or her guns within 24 hours or face a Class 6 felony. The bill, which had been defeated for many years in the General Assembly, will give Virginia one of the strongest laws in the nation with regard to taking guns away from domestic abusers. 

“Governor McAuliffe’s action today will unequivocally improve public safety in the Commonwealth and save lives,” said Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran. “The law signed today will be the toughest in the country on permanent protective orders for family abuse.”

The General Assembly also passed legislation granting Virginia State Police the statutory authority to run background checks for non-federally licensed vendors at gun shows. Previously, private firearm sellers who did not possess a federal license could not access the federal background check system – meaning they could not run background checks even if they wanted to. According to the agreement, Virginia State Police will now attend every gun show in the Commonwealth and offer background checks to every vendor who wants one.

Finally, as part of the agreement, Governor McAuliffe agreed to sign legislation passed by a bipartisan majority of the General Assembly recognizing concealed carry permits from other states. The legislation will also protect the right of Virginia concealed carry permit holders to carry a concealed handgun in states that demand such reciprocity agreements.

“This bipartisan agreement is a major step toward securing the Second Amendment rights of Virginia’s most law-abiding citizens,” said House Speaker William J. Howell. “I am also proud of the steps we are taking on public safety. I want to thank Governor McAuliffe for signing this legislation, and I thank Secretary Moran, Delegate Gilbert, Delegate Lingamfelter, Delegate Webert, and Senator Reeves for their hard work to make this agreement a reality.”

Senator Bryce Reeves added, “Today’s bill signing culminates a month of bipartisan work and good governance on behalf of all Virginians. The bills signed today protect Virginians’ constitutional rights and make our Commonwealth safer. I am proud to have carried Senate Bill 610 this year, protecting the rights of 421,000 law-abiding Virginians who hold concealed carry permits. I am glad to have the Governor’s support on this measure with his signature today.”

“I want to commend Governor McAuliffe and the bipartisan coalition of legislators who came together around an agreement that will make Virginia a safer place to live,” said Senator Janet Howell. “No compromise is perfect, but these three bills will save lives by keeping guns out of the hands of domestic abusers and people who can’t pass background checks. I am proud to have worked with the Governor and my colleagues from both chambers and both parties to make the most significant steps forward on gun safety in Virginia in decades.”

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40 Responses to Virginia to Recognize All States’ Carry Permits Starting July 1

  1. I don’t necessarily mind them having the VSP present at gun shows for OPTIONAL background checks for private sales, they’re usually there anyway but if they provide that service whatever.

    I don’t agree with people with two year protective orders (legal term is Permanent Protective Order, despite it being valid for two years) having their gun rights removed. The only consolation is that it’s actually pretty hard to get one, and the respondent gets to appear in court for the hearing.

    I’m glad the reprocity was restored, but it shoulda never been taken away. I can say that as a police in VA I had no intention of following the AGs ruling. If they had a concealed carry permit from a previously recognized state I was still going to honor it.

    • The issue with protective orders is complex. In my view this should only remove bill of rights liberties based on whether the order is issued by a conviction mechanism with all burdens.

      Too many people do not understand we have made protective orders very very easy to obtain. We do that with good intentions: often people who need restraining/protective orders are vulnerable populations. But making them easy to obtain, eg with hearsay admissible, all kinds of evidence inadmissible in criminal cases admissible, recourse to appeal more difficult, and often pro forma awarding of the order because it is not harmful to the defendant, has resulted in what are estimated to be 80% to 90% bogus orders that are harassment themselves.

      T public does not really understand that this is different than a conviction. I do believe a criminal conviction for a crime of violence based PPO should be the basis for firearms prohibition.

  2. There’s a difference between recognition and reciprocity. There’s also a difference between a voluntary background check and a required background check. And while I’m no expert on Virginia practice, I would be shocked (not to mention royally pissed off) if two year protective orders were granted ex-parte.

    • It’s not. You can get a preliminary protective order that is good for two weeks ex parte but the two year hearing requires notice and you have the right to counsel.

  3. I’m gathering a “Permanent Protective order” is a pretty far cry, due-process-wise, from the ex-parte “restraining orders” currently in vogue in some places as grounds for grabbing someone’s guns. So it apparently could have been worse for Virginians. Appears to be more like something actually approaching a “compromise” than what usually happens with gun-grabbing pols.

  4. So this means that the state of Virginia will recognize carry permits from all of the other 49 states, not just the ones that they threatened to end reciprocity with?

    • I believe so. And it’s codified in law, so an anti-gun executive or AG can’t arbitrarily change it again. It was a good compromise. Both sides got something they wanted — and for once, gun owners gained more than they lost.

      • Hope so. That puts my IA permit valid in 34 states in all. Now if we can get South Carolina to stop being so douchy, I can carry just about anywhere I’d want to go.

      • This is correct. It’s also good for Virginians with a CHP because more states will recognize ours due to reciprocity agreements. Overall, I would call this a win. We didn’t really lose anything and actually got some benefits. The usual suspects are pissed on the gun control side. McAullife is the consummate no principles deal maker so he must have been getting some real heat. Good job peeps.

  5. Also, the protective order thing is actually redundant, but weaker, than an already existing federal law, the Lautenberg Amendment to GCA ’68. So it really doesn’t create an infringement that wasn’t already there. Doesn’t make it good, but it really doesn’t change anything for practical purposes.

  6. I’m a Virginian and I don’t see anything wrong with this deal. Like even with the things we were supposed to have given up.

    I buy and sell at gun shows (not frequently but sometimes) and I like the idea of having the police on hand to run checks, if I so choose. And the protective orders actually require due process so it’s not something that can be easily abused.

    What we got in return was not just near universal reciprocity. It will take an act of the legislature to change it in the future. So it’s not something that can be unilaterally taken away again. Sounds like a win win to me.

  7. The historic bipartisan agreement will make Virginia safer by keeping guns out of the hands of domestic abusers …” — Governor McAuliffe.

    Really? On paper, this law requires the subject of a domestic violence restraining order to give up their firearms. In reality this law most certainly does NOT keep firearms out of the hands of any alleged abuser. First of all, the courts have no way of knowing if an alleged abuser even has any firearms. Second, even if local police show up with a search warrant to search an alleged abuser’s home, how can they be sure that they will find every firearm on site? What if the abuser stores firearms offsite? Third, this law does not prevent an alleged abuser from borrowing a firearm from a relative or friend who doesn’t know any better … nor does it stop an abuser from stealing a firearm or purchasing one out of the trunk of someone’s car.

    And beyond the law’s obvious (or maybe not so obvious) utter and total inability to keep firearms out of the hands of an alleged abuser, it does absolutely nothing to stop an abuser from using dozens of alternate methods to maim and/or kill their spouses … like using a car, knife, hammer, ax, machete, poison, club, fire, etc.

    Once again this is nothing but political and security theater. And that would be fine if there were no down side. But there is a down side: people who are falsely accused of being domestic abusers will lose their right to keep and bear arms.

  8. This is the most significant step forward on gun safety in 24 years, and I look forward to continuing to work with the General Assembly and the public safety community to build on the progress we made this session.

    Translation: this is the first step forward on civilian disarmament after 24 years of gains on the gun rights side. And now that we successfully created a crack in the proverbial dam, we look forward to enacting more laws in furtherance of civilian disarmament in the days ahead.

    • I was there when Van Cleve of VCDL explained it. The prohibition on ownership for persons subject to permanent protective orders after having a hearing matches up with federal law. Its not a big deal because spouse abusers, IMHO should be disbarred from possessing firearms. I’d like it even more if there was a procedure recognized at the federal level for them to earn them back. Many of own firearms for self defense. Using one to terrify a marital or romantic partner is no bueno.

      • the third “l”? My understanding is that the VA bill is about reciprocity. Therefore, VA would only accept CA if CA accepted VA, and CA has never accepted any other state’s CCW so that would be a first, and extremely unlikely in our current climate here.

        • The bill is about recognitionin VA of other state’s permits, ALL OF THEM. “A valid concealed handgun or concealed weapon permit or license issued by another state shall authorize the holder of such permit or license who is at least 21 years of age to carry a concealed handgun in the Commonwealth….”

          The bill says nothing about only recognizing states who recognize VA permits. The bill also directs the VSP to enter into reciprocity agreements with other states IF those other states REQUIRE a reciprocity agreement to recognize VA permits. There is no reciprocity required to use another state’s permit in VA. VA will recognize permits from communist states like CA, MD and VA even though those states do not recognize the Constitution themselves.

          The bill is online an easily readable.

    • As I read the law all states will be recognized by VA. The AG is by law directed to engage and hash out reciprocity will all states that will have us.

    • I’ve looked. The Washington Free Beacon claims that VA will recognize “all” states’ permits, but I can’t find any primary source for that statement. May have to wait for someone to read the bill after passing it.

  9. Better than all this; Terry is gonna be out of a job! Them antis – they remember these betrayals…bye bye to one more (D)-bag no money no more funny! Sooo can’t wait to see Gov Cuccinelli take the helm and sign on constitutional carry.

    • Virginia has a 1 term limit for Governor. He’s out of a job no matter what. But the vindictiveness on the left will haunt him wherever he goes.

    • Cucc can finally change the Commonwealth’s seal, cover that one highly offending naked breast. VA cities/counties are not going to give up the cash cow that they receive from the permits.

  10. A piece of paper in Virginia is going to be better than Kansas? I doubt it. You will keep the guns out of no one hands
    That being said glad they changed their minds on other states.

  11. Words matter. This is NOT a reciprocity agreement, it’s a recognition law. VA will recognize all other state’s permits. The VA legislature has no say if another state recognizes VA permits and cannot dictate reciprocity.

  12. Terry is limited to one term, which ends this year I believe. He sucks on the clinton tit, so he is political. Why would a known anti do this? Because it placates those of us who are one issue voters and keeps us, in theory, away from the polls on election day. I am willing to bet there are emails from hitlery’s crew on this one. He is trying deliver VA to her and this issue is the one that could help. Besides, it also helps calm the push for constitutional carry. They can argue this is like the same thing so why bother.

  13. So the Feb 1 removal of recognition of those 25 states is not in effect? Or do we have to wait until July 1 to come to VA?

  14. So first he drop the honoring of arround 25 permits and now he sign an auto honoring all bill ??
    What a flip floping clown but victorie for the people now !!

  15. The auto-play video ads on this site are annoying. TTAG would be more readable if the focus on guns rather than in-your-face marketing.

  16. Well, we’ll see what they learned when we see what they do next.

    – Maybe they learned that gratuitous, administrative gun restrictions are a hot-button issue, and in the genius of a cat, won’t sit on that particular hot stove again. In this case the “compromise” is a way to unwind the situation, with them saving some face.

    – Maybe they learned that you grab all you can, deal with the kerfuffle, and if you are forced to back off, pocket some inch.

    What it ends up meaning will depend on the opposition. Should they get slammed, hard, for this nonsense across the board in the next election, and the primary players for the rest of their careers, there might be a lesson learned. The ticket is unabashed, direct, pointed ads and messaging around “rule of law / administrative law making”, “civil rights / gun rights”, and “obliviousness to the economic impact of their special agenda(s).”

    This is what an opposition party is for. Create the ads & stock the shelves, to roll them out when campaigns are on. The party does it, so the candidates don’t get dinged for being mean.

    Since the opposition in this case is The Stupid Party, I am not hopeful. There is some hope with issues advocacy groups.

  17. I am a Gun dealer here in Virginia. I have a point EVERYONE seems to miss here and other places.
    Do you need a permit to practice your religion?
    How about writing an article in a newspaper?
    How about talking in public or private to a stranger or a friend?
    No, but you do need a permit to practice your God given Constitutionally protected second amendment RIGHT to keep and Bare arms.
    Is your ( write your state here) driver’s license good in EVERY OTHER STATE?
    Yes it is, so why is your second amendment RIGHT not valid everywhere?
    and, driving as we have all heard, is a privilege not a right.

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