Given that the National Rifle Association’s headquarters is located in Virginia, it was to be expected that the nation’s oldest civil rights organization wasn’t just going to sit around while Attorney General Mark Herring decided to set fire to the Constitution. As Katie wrote last week, the AG decided to unilaterally gut concealed carry reciprocity agreements with two dozen states. The AG probably hoped that the timing of the announcement–three days before Christmas–would allow this to slip under the radar. Nope. Second Amendment supporters are ever vigilant–and we vote. The NRA was quick to slam the decision, with Executive Director Chris Cox saying that this unilateral action is dangerous and puts people’s lives at risk.
As we enter the New Year, the NRA announced that they were working on “total recognition” legislation that would require Virginia to recognize valid concealed carry permits from other states. Additionally, the legislation would “further require the attorney general to enter into a reciprocity agreement with any state that requires an agreement in order to recognize Virginia concealed handgun permits.” It remedies the fiasco the AG office has reaped upon the Commonwealth, and does so democratically.
As of February 1, 2016, concealed carry permits from the following states will no longer be recognized in Virginia; Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
In response to Attorney General Herring’s action, NRA-ILA is currently working on legislation for the 2016 Virginia session to address the reciprocity issue. This legislation will require Virginia to recognize valid permits or licenses from every other state. Due to NRA’s past efforts, 18 states already have such a “total recognition” law. The Virginia legislation would further require the attorney general to enter into a reciprocity agreement with any state that requires an agreement in order to recognize Virginia concealed handgun permits. As the legislative session begins to unfold, we expect additional legislation to be filed in response to the Attorney General’s actions as well as the Governor’s previous Executive Order 50; however, we will continue to work with pro-Second Amendment legislators on viable solutions to solve the problems that this administration has caused.
Other Second Amendment rights groups will be active as well. On January 18, the Virginia Citizens Defense League will be hosting a rally in Richmond at 11 a.m. Details can be found here.