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Virginia to end concealed carry reciprocity with other states - Washington Post

Attorney General Mark R. Herring (D) plans to announce Tuesday that Virginia will no longer recognize concealed carry handgun permits from 25 states that have reciprocity agreements with the commonwealth.

The move also means Virginians with a history of stalking, drug dealing or inpatient mental-health treatment cannot obtain a permit in a state with comparatively lax laws and carry a handgun legally at home.

Herring said severing the out-of-state agreements can prevent people who may be dangerous or irresponsible from carrying a concealed weapon.

“To me, this is 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,” he said in a statement provided to The Washington Post.

“Our General Assembly has already identified who can and cannot conceal handguns in Virginia, and we cannot have that decision undermined by recognizing permits from other states with more permissive standards.”

Herring’s action could intensify a heated debate in the wake of rampant gun violence and cements his position as a liberal defender of gun control as he seeks a second term. A former state senator, Herring has raised the ire of conservatives for supporting same-sex marriage, abortion rights and immigration reform.

Del. Robert B. Bell III (R-Albemarle), a former state prosecutor, is the only Republican challenging him.

Gun rights advocates have criticized Gov. Terry McAuliffe, Herring and other Democrats for insisting on stronger gun laws after mass shootings in which the assailants obtained their weapons legally or suffered from mental illness. In October, McAuliffe banned firearms in state buildings, earning a rebuke from the National Rifle Association.

This year, Herring’s office began a review of reciprocity agreements Virginia has with 30 other states. Attorneys discovered that 25 of those states had concealed handgun permit regulations that were weaker than Virginia’s.

The State Police superintendent accepted Herring’s recommendation to sever agreements with those states, effective Feb. 1, according to Herring’s office.

The states are: 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.

Agreements will remain with West Virginia, Michigan, Oklahoma, Texas and Utah.

Virginia law lists 20 conditions that would disqualify a person from being issued a concealed carry handgun permit. They include anyone in the United States illegally, subject to a protection from abuse order, or convicted of various criminal charges from drunken driving to assault and battery.

Visitors to Virginia can still obtain a non-resident permit if they meet a separate set of standards set forth in the law.

Click here to read the full article by Jenna Portnoy.