The First Shoe Drops: Virginia Reciprocity

Virginia Flag

We know that yesterday Administration officials told us they were coordinating with state officials to see how many ways gun owners could be screwed over. Well, the first shoe to drop seems to be by shredding most of Virginia’s reciprocity agreements, including with Pennsylvania. After the Democratic Attorney General Mark Herring closes open season on Virginia’s gun owners, the only states left with reciprocity will be West Virginia, Michigan, Oklahoma, Texas and Utah.

I would note that Virginia code is pretty specific about what makes states eligible for reciprocity, and provides that the Attorney General and State Police shall enter into agreements. It provides no mechanism by which agreements can be withdrawn from once agreed upon. To me that leaves the door open for a lawsuit.

It’s going to be a rough year for us. They are going to try to screw us any way they can. This is probably just the beginning. Folks, if we don’t hit these people hard come next November, we’re going to be in a metric shit-ton of trouble. The current GOP clown show of a primary (not even speaking of the clown show in Congress) doesn’t offer me much optimism. Mark Herring has to lose his next election. All stops must be pulled to defeat him if he runs for re-election in 2018.

What’s happening here is not about public safety, it’s about sticking it to a politically disfavored group any way they can think of. It’s about punishment for defying the will of this Administration. Some of my liberal Dem-voting readers might not be interested much in gun voting, but the time is fast approaching where you’ll have to decide how much you really care about your gun rights. How many people who have been carrying in Virginia for years on the current agreements not going to get the word and end up in prison? That’s probably the idea. You will be made to pay for your defiance, and they don’t care how many lives they ruin in the process.

From a practical standpoint, I’d note that Virginia issues non-resident permits. They are not hard to get. I plan on applying for one. I do not intent to let a petty, spiteful tyrant like Mark Herring disarm me.

47 thoughts on “The First Shoe Drops: Virginia Reciprocity”

  1. ” It provides no mechanism by which agreements can be withdrawn from once agreed upon. To me that leaves the door open for a lawsuit.”

    There’s a legal premise that requires you to read statutes in context, with the whole body of law and a similar and equally valid construct rule that generally goes something like ‘you cannot read a statute in isolation… in such a way as to come to a tortured or illogical conclusion’. In other words, if the AG is empowered to enter into an agreement, should the statutes of reciprocal states change over time making them ineligible, then the AG can at any time point this fact out and at that point the agreement is pretty much void. We may not like it, but reciprocity agreements are contracts. When one member state violates the contract, the other member state is no longer obligated.

    This is part of the larger “reciprocity games” that we continually get sucked into because of the contingent within our side that refuse to get behind national reciprocity. This is a HUGE waste of time, effort and political capital to correct and VA is not the first state to suffer from it. It won’t be the last either. West Virginia had this problem a decade or so ago, when the NRA affiliate got a bill passed with a “residency” requirement, which torpedoed many state agreements with WVA. It was a few years to correct. PA just had as many reciprocity agreements whacked as the felonious AG could muster and who can forget South Carolina back when SLED was running the reciprocity show? Those guys were enforcing a 20/40 correctable vision requirement, must have a statutory requirement for a driver’s license, and a lot more – in fact, NONE of the remaining states or territories could have complied with SC’s statutory requirements, but for some reason they had 4 agreements…

    So, in order to correct this, and the recent state facilities gun ban – parks, rest areas – anything administered by the Executive branch – we now have to spend all kinds of legislative capital. NO Va. gun group is going to sue.
    The governor will surely veto any undoing of their efforts and the veto might get sustained. Although the VA Senate is mostly pro-gun, they are almost evenly split and many D’s would have to be pulled off to support a veto override. In other words, even a full court press by the pro- self defense side could be a multi-year fight.

    I’m actually surprised that word leaked out this early. If the AG were any kind of smart, they would have waited a few weeks more to announce, leak or whatever you want to call it and there would be no way to get legislation lined up this year to threaten this effort. Virginia has a very short legislative session with legislators who make all manner of excuses to not introduce gun legislation, and find a way to torpedo it in committee or let it quietly die.

    But hey, feel comfortable with that principled meme that the national reciprocity bills are “trojan horses for gun control”. I am convinced that some of the anti-national “reciprocity puritans” who spout this meme everywhere they can actually get pleasure and satisfaction from our side losing. Maybe it’s so they can loudly proclaim “see, I told you so” or maybe so they can pat themselves on their backs because they were able to spread their Puritanism and leave us with no other choice but to put up with having to weave and dodge around unfriendly gun carry territory. The premise of states like NY, NJ, MA, CT, RI, HI, CA and a few others EVER adopting reciprocity or permit recognition in any way at the state level is exactly equal to the denial of reality. At some point, even the die hardest reciprocity puritans have to acknowledge that unless congress compels the states to honor the 2nd amendment’s core protections, some of them simply will not.

  2. Pretty terrible but not surprising. Very similar (though not as large) as Kane’s actions here. However, its legal to open carry in VA, including in cars, so this will likely increase that.

    In the end, it comes down to the legislatures. They need to take it out of the hands of the AG, or Governor. Simple statute: all other states licenses are valid in state, AG must work with other states to increase acceptance there. If we do this, we allow as large of a national reciprocity as possible.

    Of course, we need Congress to pass a formal National Reciprocity. Let’s just get it done.

  3. As many people know, I live in Maryland. The DC suburbs. I spend a good deal of time in PA, but your unindicted DA screwed me over a couple years back, not accepting my Utah CCW in Pennsylvania.

    I thought Utah was going to hose me over as well, not giving out licenses to folks that don’t also have a CCW in their own state. But that didn’t apply to Maryland, thank goodness. I guess it applies to someone without a PA license trying to get a Utah license living in PA.

    While I worried about Utah, I went ahead and got an out-of-state permit in Virginia. Which is, indeed, pretty painless. A half afternoon in the Courthouse with a DD214 was all I needed to do. Permit came in a few weeks.

    And I do spend some time in Virginia. More than PA. I’d move there if it weren’t for the commute. I’d move to Ohio if I retired.

    1. TBolt – You guys actually got lucky with what Utah did, because their change didn’t apply to MD. For someone like me in DE, I had to run around frantically trying to apply for permits that were good in PA, and do so faster than Kathleen Kane was invalidating agreements.

      At least states like OH, and most of the south are now going the simple route and accepting reciprocity with any states permit.

  4. You can still carry on a Utah permit, Sebastian. Do you not have one?

    Yeah, this sucks. I was commenting to Patrick Henry the 2nd earlier today about why it is that “shall issue” states went the way of allowing the AG to determine further eligibility for reciprocity with other states instead of allowing reciprocity by statute only. This is ridiculous, and it opens things up for a real fight. We thought it was bad enough when Kane did it with Florida permits.

  5. These are, in essence, political spoiling attacks. Low-cost (political capital) attacks that the pro-rights side has to respond to. It saps time and energy.

    1. It’s also chum for their supporters.

      It has them being seen as “Doing something!” / “Standing up to the NRA!” / Or more explicitly “Showing those gun owners.”

    2. At the same time, its honestly a boon for our side. It prevents gun owners from rested on their laurels. We can tell other solid but apathetic gun owners “Look what they’ll do if we let them, look what they care about”. We can tell other ambivalent gun owners “See? They are doing moderate things, they are doing extreme things”. We can point to this in other states and say “we don’t want this to happen here”. We can talk to our federal legislators and say “we want something done about this”.


    “Those affected by this reckless political decision are law-abiding citizens – not dangerous criminals. Attorney General Herring is putting lives at risk by removing the constitutional right of law-abiding citizens to defend themselves in the Commonwealth,” continued Cox. “The National Rifle Association will fight this decision in every arena possible. Further, this reaffirms our commitment to enact national right to carry reciprocity legislation in Congress.”

    1. legislation is the only possible arena. The AG is on solid legal grounds here and Virginia’s AG is not the first to do this. Lots of tough talk from Cox. I’ll bet he doesn’t even know where he General Assembly building actually is.

        1. Not really. The VSSA doesn’t do much. Not nearly what the VCDL does. At least that what it seems like here on the ground.

        2. I don’t just think so, I know so. Yes, there’s an NRA state affiliate group rep. who makes rounds periodically and sometimes submits testimony, but nowhere near as often as you might think. I can guarantee that you’ll have more presence from unpaid VCDL volunteers at the general assembly than any official NRA-ILA or state affiliate presence, paid or otherwise. Wayne doesn’t like dings in that fancy 7 series.

          I’ve testified in support and opposition of numerous bills, some have passed, some have failed. Sometimes there’s even someone representing the NRA affiliate, but again not as often as you’d think. What is really irritating is testifying on good bills that most gun owners support, seeing the NRA affiliate rep in the room, but watching him pass on supporting the bill. One time, he was even called out by a Senator in the audience who asked ‘what’s the NRA’s position on this bill’ to which he responded neutral.

          There are stories of this kind of affiliate club behavior from all across the country.

          1. Yeah, the only affiliate NRA state level group I ever even hear about is the ISRA, and they’re great.

  7. Virginia is an Open Carry State.
    Just don’t conceal your firearm and piss off all the pussy scaredy-cat anti-gun Democrats.
    When I reach the border of North Carolina, I will just tuck my shirt in.
    I have to conceal carry here, but not elswhere.
    I live in South Carolina.

  8. You know, it really doesn’t help to refer to the GOP race as a “Clown show.” It’s really just old school politics and not that much different from any other race.

    I’m not a Trump Fan, but I can argue on any level that he’s better and more honest than Hillary Clinton.

    To some degree every election is a clown show because only blowhard narcissists dedicate their lives to politics. But some of the blow hard politicians have better policies than others, and frankly I’d be pretty pleased with any of the top 6 front runners. Very please, actually, particularly compared with what we’ve seen.

    But we should be pushing Republican’s/freedom leaning people to vote, not writing them off as a “clown show” and giving our friends more reasons no to bother voting.

  9. VA non-resident permits run $100 up front plus any costs associated with meeting eligibility requirements (fingerprinting, notary, etc.)

    Yep. We got ‘Schlonged’

  10. The VA governor is also defining any property operated by, occupied by, or leased to or by the executive branch of the state as an “office” which is a gun free zone.

    It looks like places like highway rest areas will be no-go zones for concealed and open carry soon — because apparently a crapper off I-95 is an executive office for Gov McAuliffe.

    I’m not interested in getting a fourth CCW permit (or paying the fees or dealing with the hassle) so I guess I will just have to pull out the retention holster and open carry when I visit VA. On the positive side that means a full size sidearm with a standard capacity magazine, and probably a reload, because if I’m going to OC, I might as well ditch the compact pistol and have a belt holster on the other side too.

    This is where the folks normalizing open carry have done yeoman’s work for us. The rifle guys are often clownish, but the pistol guys have done a great service in making this a viable option. A decade ago, cops in places like Norfolk would be apt to prone you out for open carrying. Now its something that law abiding folks can do if they have to.

    1. It seems he’s including ABC stores, too. I saw a sign* in ours the other day, but didn’t get close enough to read the fine print (IIRC, his order doesn’t cover concealed carry, yet, just open carry).

      * Not on the doors, but inside the store, behind one of the registers (but not the other one, on the other side of the store). It’s like they don’t want people to know until it’s too late, or something.

  11. I’m grateful that you acknowledged your liberal-Democrat-voting readers, like me.

    These days, in my opinion unfortunately, gun voting is most of the voting I do. I hate gun politics because it tires me out. But someone has to do it.

    1. The harsh truth is that as a party, the Democrats these days want gun owners in a prison. It is not an exaggeration, not when we have the opinion leaders in the media and leading politicians calling for mass confiscation, when you have those same entities calling for a secret “terrorist” watchlist ban then immediately calling NRA members terrorists, or when you see what they are actually no-kidding pushing in Blue states and trying to push in the Federal legislature.

      And given the harsh tactics used by LEOs when they suspect a perp is armed, there’s a good chance that vigorous enforcement of the gun laws will result in some “collateral damage.” As the penalties for violating these gun control laws are typically felons, even if you someday do get out of the pokey, your life as an average middle class type person is gone.

      The GOP has its issues too. But I haven’t seen the GOP pass legislation that would lead to the mass criminalization of homosexuals, or minorities, or whatever identity politics group they are supposed to be hating on this week. And even if the GOP were trying to force such legislation in the states they have total control over, I think the courts would actually be a useful check on it.

      The way I figure it, if you’re a Democrat for fiscal issues, why not vote GOP, keep your gun rights, and simply write a check to the US or state treasury for whatever you feel you owe? If you feel strongly about a $15 minimum wage, tip every service worker you come across ten bucks.

      If you’re a democrat for social issues, then you’ll need to decide whether gay marriage (which is basically a settled issue), abortion rights (which will remain legal, if somewhat narrow, but legal in all 50 states), or the other latest topic of the day is worth rolling the dice with the gun laws. The way I figure it, if you own a gun, there’s a 100% chance that the Democrat’s gun control agenda will eventually impact you, potentially in a quite serious way (felonies are no joke). If nothing else folks should have a vested personal issue in voting the issue.

      I would prefer that the issue be bipartisan, and I think the 2A would be healthier if there was broad support for the cause. But the Blue Dogs have been exterminated. Until voters and opinion leaders in the Democratic party mount primary challenges to extreme anti-gun candidates and invest in a new round of “Blue Dogs” there is no bipartisan option. So the GOP is the only safe harbor in the storm.

      1. The amount of power wielded in the Democratic Party by rich people who favor gun control is likely to drive the Democratic Party more into the anti-gun fold over the next few years even if the results are disastrous for the Party at the ballot box. People like Corzine, Bloomberg, and the wall street/hollywood/silicon-valley billionaires not only push around the Party, they even are some of the elected leaders.

      2. Because I figure I have more to fear from the Democrats for registering Republican than from the Republicans for registering Democrat. Voting is perhaps another story.

      3. “The harsh truth is that as a party, the Democrats these days want gun owners in a prison.”

        No. They want us dead. Preferably by the hands of the government and the more the better. Most of us know how the CGSV promote SWATting people who carry. They just are more vocal about what the anti-freedom people REALLY want.

        I’d go so far to say the democrats would love nothing less than the setting up of concentration camps and the systematic extermination of EVERY gun owner in the country. ALL of us. That’s 110+ million people. They know that and are perfectly OK with that. Since they consider us a subhuman animal that should be controlled but they can’t the next bet thing is to have us ‘euthanized’ like any out of control animal should be.

    2. I hear you. I am not comfortable in either party. That’s kind of what bought me to this issue. Let’s settle this thing, and then I can “stay home” a lot more often.

  12. At the last election I can’t tell you how many people i told not to “vote stupid” we had a carpetbagger who had never held elected office put in place by Bloomburg millions. They voted stupid anyway and now we have the dictator Jefferson warned us about. I am trying to get as many Viginians as poss. to write noting the attack on their families safety.

    Virginians do you have friends and more importantly family living in one of the states that are not longer going to be recognized for CHP? Write every elected official and point out that they can no longer protect themselves while coming to visit you. No more trips to grandmas house to eat cookies with the grandchildren. How about the members of the military stationed in VA? They have family all over the East coast that drive in to visit. They will have to wonder if there family is safe on the long rides from Kentucky to Norfolk stopping for gas along the interstate at all hours all while they are trying to protect our freedom. I am also insulted by the AG’s and governors insinuation that my brother can not be trusted by VA government as he make the ride for Rolling Thunder and then comes to visit me every Memorial Day weekend. This is a direct attack by the governor on our family and their safety.

    1. Don’t tell me how to vote, or I just might do the opposite. Unless I get the idea you know that and are trying to manipulate that tendency…

      1. Your prerogative to vote for gun banners. As Greg said if you want to vote “stupid” that is up to you.

          1. Your choice. Gun rights or go with the democratic culture wars. It really is an either /or choice. It is up to you what is more important.

    2. The problem is that either candidate for governor last election was a “stupid vote”. Cucinelli was a gun grabber, New Jersey transplant with some good votes and bluster, but when push came to shove he backed the GMU gun ban case, that he promised on video he would not. Then he doubled down on the stupid as AG with the Greason decision – lessees can ban guns on government property.

      let’s face it, even if the AG had gone our way, a Cuccinelli regime would have done something to gun owners by now as well, he proved that in his too long stint as AG.

      1. Cucinelli was not a gun grabber He was pro gun. Can you give background on the GMU case?

  13. There will be a fight. Herring has declared himself anti-freedom. McAuliffe has declared himself a Tyrant. The State Senate will be where we win or lose. Start twisting arms now. make the Democrat senators fear for their political lives. Bring them over or we have no chance. Join us on Lobby Day if nothing else. Let them see many thousands of gun owners in the General Assembly Building. Join the fight.

  14. Last time we had a big Democratic push on gun control in the 1990’s the GOP was kinda ambivalent. As long as the hunters were not bothered , they could care less.

    At least this time gun owner have one party protecting their rights. I suggest it is time for gun owners to vote GOP . Their refusal in Va on the Ag seat and governor has had big repercussion. Remember the AG lost by less than a 100 votes.

  15. Virginia call your Democratic Senators and GOP Senators in Va . Tell them stopping Herring is important enough to lose seats next election

  16. I live in Florida and have property in Virginia.Lived in VA 25 year.Why in the hell did y’all vote in a anti gun bunch of left wing nuts in the first place?

  17. Live in Fl.But have property in VA.over 25 years.Why in the hell did you you vote in gun grabbing left wing nuts in the first place?

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