Open carry AP feat
(AP Photo/Eric Gay)
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By Larry Keane

The newly minted 2020 Virginia state legislature – led this session by Democrats in the General Assembly and Governor’s mansion – has wasted little time acting to curb their citizens’ Second Amendment rights. Numerous gun control proposals were introduced as legislation, including one particular bill that will lead to widespread confusion regarding the Commonwealth’s concealed carry reciprocity agreements. It’s a move that’s potentially damaging to not just Virginians, but law-abiding concealed carry permit holders who travel to and through the state.

Virginia currently has concealed carry reciprocity agreements with 35 other states, meaning Virginians can carry concealed with their valid Virginia permit across state borders in those states, down through Florida, west to Nevada and north to Ohio and West Virginia.

Likewise, valid permit holders from all other states are legally authorized to carry concealed while in the Old Dominion. Virginia is a full reciprocity state, meaning state authorities will honor all other U.S. state and territory valid permits.

Politics with Permits

Reciprocity could be in jeopardy, though. Virginia Democrats in Richmond are giddily playing politics with Virginians’ Constitutional rights, and those of any other valid permit holder who travels in from out of state.

The proposal – HB 569, introduced by Democrat Delegate Dan Helmer, would give the Commonwealth’s Attorney General Mark Herring unilateral say over which states to allow reciprocity in Virginia and which states he could now disallow.

The Constitution guarantees the rights of citizens to keep and bear arms. Just as free speech does not stop at a state line, or due process rights, our Second Amendment rights shouldn’t be limited to the state in which a person lives or visits.

Instead of standing up for his citizens, Delegate Helmer would sacrifice their civil rights to make the already complex patchwork of state gun laws as confusing as rush hour traffic headed through Washington D.C.

Not the First Time

Virginia Attorney General
Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring (AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File)

The really crazy thing, however, is this was done before only to face a swift backlash from Virginia voters. Attorney General Mark Herring played politics with Constitutional rights when he discontinued Virginia’s reciprocity agreements, but then agreed to allow them to be reinstated with nearly all states a few years ago under then Governor Terry McAuliffe.

It’s no wonder Virginia gun-owners are rightly concerned. There’s so much confusion around the legislature and these proposals which would turn law-abiding citizens into criminals.

This is a glaring example of why Congress must act on The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2019 (S. 69/H.R. 38), introduced by U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) and U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson (R-N.C.) to establish common sense, nationwide reciprocity. These national reciprocity bills would ensure that a licensed individual permitted in their home state would have their concealed carry permit treated in the same manner as their drivers’ license.

States would still set standards for issuance and rules of carrying, but that permit would be honored as fully legal across a state line. It makes it so a law-abiding citizen wouldn’t be caught in the lurch, unwittingly breaking the law by driving into or through a neighboring state.

The rash of gun control bills now under consideration in Virginia fail to offer real solutions to address the criminal misuse of firearms, accidents and suicides. They only chip away at the rights of those who already follow the law, have endured multiple background checks and proven their trustworthiness. Playing politics with Second Amendment rights is absurd and Congress has the opportunity – and responsibility – to protect the rights of all Americans from these underhanded maneuvers.


Larry Keane is SVP for Government and Public Affairs, Assistant Secretary and General Counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

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    • Too damn late!
      Cocaine Mitch screwed us.
      Trump ignored us.
      The Supreme Court has failed to enforce the 2A.
      Talk to me when RGB is dead and we have the House back.

    • Are states supposed to have the ability to limit anything in the Bill of Rights to begin with?

      • Originally, yes. The Bill of Rights is a list of restrictions on the Federal Government, not on the States.

        Since that original document, the Supreme Court has “incorporated” many of those first 10 amendments to apply against the States as well. Not all of them, but most of them. It wasn’t until 2010 that the 2nd Amendment was found to be incorporated against the States.

        Which is to say, yes, it’s less than 10 years that the 2nd has been incorporated against the States!

        • Added: that’s why many States (almost all of them, actually) have some form of the 2nd Amendment in their State Constitutions. (notably, NY, CA, and NJ don’t have them).

          Here’s Virginia’s:
          “That a well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the proper, natural, and safe defense of a free state, therefore, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; that standing armies, in time of peace, should be avoided as dangerous to liberty; and that in all cases the military should be under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power.”

        • Well damn I have some reading to do re patchwork incorporation. Thanks for the summary and you would have thought Virginia spelled out the boundaries clearly enough.

        • The 14th Amendment fixed this problem. Like the slavery problem.
          The 2A is the ultimate restriction on denying this civil Right.
          P.S. Scalia was full worms with the “common use” language. Well, there are 18 million AR’s in use. That’s pretty common.

  1. People in a very small geographic area of Virginia have managed to control the entire state due to the outside spending by the likes of Michael Bloomberg and George Soros.

    • John – that pretty much applies to ALL states – the inner city heavily populated areas are nearly all controlled by radical democRATs – and by default end up controlling the entire state.
      Look at how hard they are trying to turn Texas ‘blue’ – and it is being done by controlling the large metro areas. Washington (and Oregon) went down the toilet by that exact same tactic. And those are the same folks who want to do away with the electoral college………………………….

  2. Yes, you are fully correct. We do need more armed right-wing rednecks packing heat. We also need more US citizens of every ethnic, political, religious, and social backing, packing heat. Wherever citizens are packing heat, crime decreases and civility grows.

  3. That’s exactly right. The more rednecks with guns, the better. Same with black, brown, yellow, white and any other colored necks you can think of. The 2nd Amendment is a big tent.

    • And I cannot find where it says that a citizen needs a permit to qualify for a constitutional right. We need a supreme court that will abide by and enforce the rights granted in the constitution.

    • I have never met a man or woman of ANY race that held a CCL that wasn’t polite, reasonable, and worthwhile.

      I DO however agree that a constitutional Right DOES NOT require a permit. This constitutes infringement from what I can see.

  4. What NEED is our is our 2nd Amendment rights to be enforced! That means Constitutional Carry !!! The 2nd Amendment is the only “permit ” a US Citizen should need!

  5. National reciprocity should be inferred from 2nd Amendment, not written into a superfluous law. But either way, don’t expect the Vlads with badges to take it lying down. They’ll find some other way to punish you for exercising your rights. Just like how the Emancipation Proclamation didn’t mean southern whites were going to accept free black men as equals. These people have a statist idiology deeply engrained in them.

  6. The GOP House passed HR38 under then-Speaker Paul Ryan.

    GOP Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell let it go nowhere in the Senate, but *did* give his Senate-pal John Cornyn his “Fix-NICS” bill — more taxpayer money for the FBI to *not* do its job … after removing the National Concealed Carry Reciprocity part of it.

    Did I mention that the GOP controlled the House, Senate and White House at the time?

    Who’s playing who/whom here?

      • ’60’ (votes) is a Senate rule and not US law or in the Constitution.

        GOP and Dems have both used the “nuclear option” (51 votes) for other purposes. See Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell. Could have used it here too … but Mitch McConnell didn’t.

        Now if you had said that Collins, Murkowski and Romney were RINOs, then I would have agreed with you. (wink!)

        • “See Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell. Could have used it here too … but Mitch McConnell didn’t.”


          Senate Rule XX and XXII are what’s at the heart of this.

          Rule XXII requires a 3/5ths majority to invoke cloture (end debate). This rule was formerly 2/3rds but that was changed in 1975.

          Rule XX allows for a Point of Order to be called where the Presiding Officer of the Senate is asked to suspend Rule XXII but that Officer. That Officer cannot do that on his own and must turn down the Point of Order. Now the Presiding Officer can be overruled by an appeal to the Senate floor by the person to made the Point of Order. That appeal is asked for, must be granted, and is asked for without debate. Since there is no debate on the Point a 51 vote majority can overrule the Presiding Officer and suspend Rule XXII.

          When Reid did this he did it, and I quote the mans words on the Senate floor, “…for all nominations other than for the Supreme Court of the United States is by majority vote.” (emphasis mine)

          That invoking of the “nuclear option” specifically didn’t apply to legislation but only to non-SCOTUS Presidential nominations and that rule stayed in place when the GOP took over the Senate.

          What people get wrong about McConnell later on is that they suppose he could do this for anything he wanted.

          Well, he could raise a Point of Order but in doing so he needs to know that his appeal to the Senate Floor will pass. If he’s to ask the Presiding Officer if Rule XXII applies to legislation he will be told that it does. If he appealed that to the Senate Floor he would lose the vote. He knew that and so he didn’t do it.

          There are calls to abolish the filibuster and make the Senate a simple majority for everything. Those calls have been around for decades. From then until the present time there have never been a majority of Senators in favor of doing so because both parties recognize the downside of it.

          So, no, Mitch couldn’t have gone nuclear on national reciprocity. He simply didn’t have the votes to set that precedent and we should be DAMN happy about that.

  7. I couldn’t give two $hits about who carries as long as their a responsible gun owner, train as they fight, and a citizen willing to stand for their God given rights under the Constitution and Second Amendment. You demonstrate none of that with your discriminate statement.

  8. Did the NRA push for national reciprocity???
    No they did not.
    Hearing Protection Act???
    No they did not.

    Buy Wayne more $$$ suits?
    Yes they did.

  9. Okay, two things:

    1) the VCDL is the “new NRA”. A true grassroots gun rights organization that make things happen.

    2) What we NEED is for the VCDL to be organizing buses to bring in as many Virginians as possible. Get 50,000 out there. Get a hundred thousand. Send buses to remote counties so that the poor folk who can’t afford plane flights can still get there.

    • They organize buses for every Lobby Day. This year, there are somewhere around 60 buses coming in from all over VA. It’s on their home page at

      They’re really an effective organization and are owed a lot of gratitude for all the freedoms that were achieved over the last couple of decades. And they don’t gladhand, either. There is typically one or two reminders that annual membership renewals are due. Other than that, it’s just legislative alerts and other information of interest.

  10. No, not ‘right-wing rednecks’ but freedom loving CITIZENS you commie, pinko, p*ssy hat wearing troll!! It’s a civil right guaranteed by MY constitution. You Bolsheviks should try reading it sometime…
    You don’t like it? Get the f*ck out of my country!!
    We the People

  11. Always wonder why anyone thinks mere legislation will be more effective than an enumerated protection of the US constitution. Legislation is subject to majority vote. Once enacted, it can be repealed at any time. Of course, this is not to mention the watering-down that would happen in getting National Reciprocity through the various congressional committees.

    • Agreed, but — the enumerated protection of the Constitution has been crapped on so long it’s mob mentality to ignore it. Here’s to hoping NYSRPA ruling comes out soon and is the 2A’s version of the sweeping gay marriage rights ruling of a few years ago.

      • “….the enumerated protection of the Constitution has been crapped on so long…”

        Precisely. Why would legislation be honored, where the constitution is being ignored?

        And Supreme Court orders? “Safe Storage” laws proliferate, even though the SC ruled such laws are unconstitutional.

  12. All these issures get resolved if the US Supreme Court definitively states what the second amendment says, period.

    Trump needs to push this issue as a ccw holder and President.

    If this doesn’t happen soon when the democrats are in power (hopefully this distant future) we will lose all our gun rights.

  13. While a physical show of force is probably what may be needed at this time in Virginia (to at least let them know that there are a great many more of us that there are of them), I still can not understand why the real fight in the courts has never taken place… and what I mean is this:

    If our Constitution is still recognized as the foundation for our laws and what governs us, and is still recognized as being a “compact” meaning a contract or agreement, then under recognized and accepted contract law, an amendment to the original document bears more weight and exerts more force simply because the terms and the conditions of an amendment always “supersede” the terms and conditions of the original document. And this is true because the amendment acts to, and has the effect of, permanently altering and changing the original document. And so regardless of what can be argued by them to be contained within the original document that they believe grants them the authority to regulate firearms, the Second Amendment overrides and makes clear that, “the Right of the people to keep and bear arms Shall Not be infringed” is the new commandment to government and will remain as such until such time as a new amendment is passed that specifically addresses and alters this provision. As a simple example to clarify this point, consider that the 18th Amendment created a ban on alcohol beverage consumption and that even after everyone agreed this needed to end, Prohibition could not be reversed or changed via any act of the Congress or with a presidential executive order simply because the 18th Amendment made Prohibition part of the Supreme Law of the Land and therefore the only way to lawfully change it was to pass another amendment to the Constitution. And so it was not until with the passage of the 21st Amendment that the era of Prohibition finally came to an end. To this day, the Second Amendment has never been altered or changed in any way and therefore stands as originally written and I would argue that as a result, the government totally and completely lacks the authority to regulate the firearms industry.

    Our Rights are recognized as being inherent and “inalienable”. And also, did you know that the Bill of Rights has a Preamble and that the purpose of the Bill of Rights is clearly stated right there in the Preamble… and that in addition, the Founding Fathers included the 9th and the 10th Amendments to further clarify their intent of limiting the powers and the authority of government. Government has over reached and usurped more power that was ever granted to it and will continue to do so until it is stopped.

  14. we already have it, it’s called the Second Amendment. What we need is a People with the resolve to retain Liberty.

    • The resolve appears to be there; however, people need to stand up and make it known. Say nothing and do nothing, and it gets taken away.

  15. No matter how many laws are tried to be passed…We the People will not give up our 2nd Amendment rights.

    • There is no way for us to give up our 2A rights. The alternative is to be enslaved by people like that Virginia governor who is pretty insane.

  16. Let’s hope the 2A backlash occurs. Isn’t one man having that kind of power called tyrannical?

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