Attorney General Mark Herring (D) will announce Tuesday that Virginia will close a loophole that had allowed handgun owners to circumvent the state’s requirements for carrying a concealed weapon, the Washington Post reported.
The move — recommended by Herring and accepted by State Police Superintendent W. Steven Flaherty — — will mean that as of February 1, the Commonwealth of Virginia will no longer allow those with concealed carry permits from 25 states to automatically carry concealed handguns in Virginia. A review by Herring’s office found that those states had “more permissive standards,” allowing those with histories of stalking, drug dealing, mental health inpatient treatment, or other factors prohibited for Virginia permit applicants to obtain permits. This meant that those who would not qualify in Virginia could circumvent state law by simply obtaining permits in other states.
Herring called the move a “commonsense step that can help make Virginians and our law enforcement officers safer by ensuring that Virginia’s laws on who can and cannot carry a concealed handgun are applied evenly, consistently, and fairly.” Permits from five other states with equally tough requirements will still be honored.
The National Rifle Association, which spent tens of thousands of dollars in 2013 in an unsuccessful attempt to defeat Herring, has advocated for federal legislation to require states to honor concealed carry permits, even if the other state’s laws are more lax.
Virginia will no longer honor concealed carry permits from 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. Permits from West Virginia, Michigan, Oklahoma, Texas and Utah will still be recognized.
Last week, the Center for American Progress released a “Framework for Action,” recommending 28 steps state executives can take to prevent gun violence and fight gun crime. Among the recommendations was an annual review, like the one Herring conducted, of concealed-carry permit reciprocity agreements with other states and the rescinding of “those agreements with states that fail to meet certain standards.”
Delegate Rob Bell (R), who plans to challenge Herring in the 2017 Virginia Attorney General race, denounced the move “Washington-style overreach from a nakedly partisan attorney general.”