The Virginia Citizens Defense League, Inc., (VCDL), an all-volunteer, non-partisan grassroots organization defending the right to keep and bear arms in the state, released a statement regarding the pending cancellation of carry reciprocity with 25 other states. Note: The just-passed February 1, 2016 cutoff date for dropping recognition of 25 states has been extended to March 1.
VCDL reported that there is a package deal in the works between Governor McAuliffe and the Republicans in the General Assembly dealing with concealed handgun permit (CHP) reciprocity, voluntary background checks at gunshows, and those subject to a permanent domestic violence protection order.
The VCDL release said, “To many CHP holders, CHP reciprocity is a HUGE deal, especially if they travel out-of-state regularly and want to be able to carry discretely. For example, there is no solution to carrying in South Carolina if we don’t have an agreement between our two states.” Gunowners should know the deal is still in the works, and there is no absolute guarantee this will become law — but there’s a reasonably good chance it will.
There are three components that make up the deal, each component represented by matching bills in the House and in the Senate.
Virginia will honor the carry permits from all states, VCDL reported. “This is considerably better than current law and something VCDL has been trying to get for at least seven years now,” the release said.
Because Virginia will honor all other states, Virginia CHPs will be recognized by all the states affected by the reciprocity cancellation, plus three new states will be given reciprocity status: New Hampshire, Georgia, and Colorado.
Further, going forward, the State Police and the attorney general will have no say in the new law. If another state requires a formal agreement to honor Virginia CHPs, the new law requires the attorney general to enter into any such agreement.
It’s important to recognize that reciprocity does not mean equal treatment inside all other states, VCDL said. For example, someone from New York will be able to carry in Virginia, but a Virginia resident won’t be able to carry in New York, unless New York is willing to enter into a reciprocal agreement with Virginia.
Voluntary Gun-show Background Checks
Background checks for a private sale are completely voluntary. The State Police shall be at every gun show in Virginia, by law. The gun show promoter shall notify the State Police of the location and times of the gun show at least 30 days in advance, shall provide a free location for the police to set up, and shall have signs letting attendees know of the voluntary background checks at the State Police booth. The State Police may charge a reasonable fee. If a background check is run, the seller receives some special legal protections that are currently not available for private sales. If a background check is not run, the seller doesn’t have any more, or any less, legal protections than under current law.
For those gun owners who would feel safer selling a gun to someone who has had a background check, this provides a new option, in addition to the current option of either asking if the person has a CHP or going through the more laborious and expensive route of letting an FFL do the transfer. It also has no effect on private sales conducted anywhere outside of gun shows, where this voluntary option is not provided.
Persons subject to a permanent domestic violence protection order cannot possess firearms until the order expires.
The only permanent protection order this restriction applies to is one for domestic violence and nothing else. VCDL said, “The subject of the protection order must have had his day in court along with any legal counsel. Temporary protection orders do not affect possession of firearms.”