Thursday, February 4, 2016

An Update On Virginia Reciprocity From VCDL

Grass Roots North Carolina received the following from Philip Van Cleave of the Virginia Citizens Defense League regarding the negotiations between Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D-VA) and gun rights supporters to restore concealed carry reciprocity.
BREAKING NEWS:  *** February 1 cutoff date for dropping recognition of 25 states has been extended to March 1 ***


As you've undoubtedly heard from the media, there is a package deal in the works between Governor McAuliffe and the Republicans in the General Assembly dealing with 1) concealed handgun permit (CHP) reciprocity, 2) voluntary background checks at gunshows, and 3) those subject to a permanent domestic violence protection order.

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.

There is a lot of misinformation from the media and elsewhere and a lot of people are coming to the wrong conclusions about what the deal does and doesn’t do.  Rumors are flying that gun owners only get back the reciprocity that was taken away by Herring and the State Police - that is FALSE.  We have gained important ground!

THE DEAL IS STILL IN THE WORKS.  Things could still go south as the key bills that make up the deal work their way through the legislature and onto the Governor’s desk.  SO, FOR NOW, NOTHING HAS CHANGED.  THERE IS NO ABSOLUTE GUARANTEE THIS WILL BECOME LAW, BUT A REASONABLY GOOD CHANCE IT WILL.  If it fails, we may not be able to fix the reciprocity situation for another two-long-years.

VCDL has been privy to the deal for several days, as was a national group.  VCDL monitored progress of this potentially groundbreaking advancement of our liberty from its genesis, and provided counsel and discussion points during its evolution.

The final product was given the nod by VCDL, however we will be watching like a hawk for any changes that negatively affect gun owners.


There are three components that make up the deal, each component represented by matching bills in the House and in the Senate.

#1 - Reciprocity details - gun owners gain ground!

* Virginia will honor the carry permits from ALL states!  This is considerably better than current law and something VCDL has been trying to get for at least seven years now.  

* Because Virginia will honor all other states, Virginia CHPs will be recognized by all the states we have lost AND we will gain some new states:  New Hampshire, Georgia, and Colorado!

* 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.  If he fails to do this, item #3, below, does not go into effect.

* One other change on the reciprocity law:  If your Virginia CHP is revoked for cause, you won’t be able to carry on a non-resident permit from another state.  Not a deal breaker.

NOTE:  Just because we are honoring all other states, doesn’t mean we can carry in all those states.  Someone from New York will be able to carry here, but we won’t be able to carry in New York unless New York is willing to enter into a reciprocal agreement with Virginia, for example. 

As more and more states start honoring out-of-state permits, the prospects of our permit being honored by even more states down the road is bright!

#2 - 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.  (Some gun owners were thinking this was some kind of a trick - that if the State Police don’t show up, the gun show would be cancelled.  This should put that worry to rest.)

* 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.  (I checked with one of Virginia’s largest gun show promoters on this to see if any of it was objectionable and was told, “no.”)

* The State Police may charge a reasonable fee.  (If they charge more than you want to pay, you can just walk away and do the transaction without the background check.)

* NO information on the make, model, or serial number of the gun being sold will be provided to the State Police - i.e. no federal Form 4473!  The purchaser will have to fill out the Virginia form, which asks a few questions and has the buyer's name, address, and signature.  (If you don’t want to fill out that form, you can just walk away and do the transaction without the background check.)

* There is a carrot: 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, you don’t have any more or any less legal protections than under current law.

Yes, down the road inevitably there will be some bills introduced that attempt to make the background check mandatory.  We get bills on mandatory background checks for private sales every year.  We will have to fight and defeat those bills in the future, just as we fight and defeat similar bills today.

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.

#3 - 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.

* 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.

* If the judge, after hearing the defense, decides to issue a permanent protection order anyhow, the subject of the protection order will lose his gun rights for the duration of the order (MAXIMUM of two years), and automatically get those gun rights back when the permanent protection order expires.  Note:  a new permanent protection order could potentially be issued when the perament protection order expires if the judge thinks a danger still exists.

* The subject of the permanent protection order will have 24 hours to turn his guns over to a person of his choice, as long as that person can legally possess firearms.

* The above is basically federal law already, and state law already prohibits a person with such a permanent protection order from purchasing  or transporting a firearm.


* VCDL will be monitoring the deal’s progress, watching for changes that negatively affect gun owners. 

* If a negative issue arises and is not fixed quickly, I will advise all of you immediately via an Urgent Legislative Action Alert.  

* I will also be providing links to the three bills described above as soon as the final language is available online.  That way you can read them for yourself.

* For now just standby on this, as I keep you advised of the progress of the deal.

* If you don’t have any absolutely urgent questions, please hold on to them for now as it would be easy to overwhelm me with emails (I’m already getting over 200 a day as is).

 We interviewed Phil for The Polite Society Podcast yesterday evening. I will put up a link to that interview as soon as it is published. However, in the meantime, Phil said that an appropriations bill had been introduced in the Virginia General Assembly that would restore reciprocity to the way it was before Attorney General Mark Herring (D-VA) went full-Bloomberg. Given it is an appropriations bill, Gov. McAuliffe must either approve it in full or veto the entire bill. There is no line-item veto on appropriations bills.

Needless to say, the gun prohibitionists are having a hissy fit over the compromise between McAuliffe and gun rights supporters. A few days ago the Washington Post reported this:
“Governor McAuliffe should reconsider this dangerous gift to the gun lobby,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety, which in the fall poured more than $2 million into two state Senate races at McAuliffe’s request.
Late last night the Post reported that Everytown Moms for Illegal Mayors has now started a social media campaign against McAuliffe.
On Wednesday, Everytown launched a social media campaign against McAuliffe, who last week stunned gun-safety advocates by announcing that he had struck a gun deal with Republican legislators and the National Rifle Association. It shows side-by-side photos of McAuliffe and the National Rifle Association’s Wayne LaPierre.

“What do VA Gov. Terry McAuliffe and NRA head Wayne LaPierre have in common?” one version reads. “Both Gov McAuliffe and NRA Head Wayne LaPierre support allowing dangerous people to carry hidden loaded weapons in Virginia.”

While clearly a lower-budget affair than last fall’s TV blitz, Everytown’s social media campaign against McAuliffe was a stunner, given how closely he worked with gun-safety groups since his 2013 campaign for governor. He narrowly won the race while bragging about his “F” rating from the NRA.
If I were a Virginia politician, I'd look at what Everytown is doing and realize just how fickle they are in their support. Alternatively, you could say that they just want their bought and paid for politicians to stay bought.


  1. You keep using that word:

    "Persons subject to a PERMANENT domestic violence protection order cannot possess firearms until the order expires"

    I do not think it means what you think it means.

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