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The First Shoe Drops: Virginia Reciprocity

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 It provides no mechanism by which agreements can be withdrawn from once agreed upon.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.

Pennsylvania Signs Reciprocity With West Virginia

It’s about frigging time! There’s rumors that Tom Corbett will make a run for the Governor’s office in 2010. This will certainly help his standing with gun owners.

This is a momentous occasion folks.  It marks the first reciprocity agreement that allows Pennsylvania LTC holders to travel out of the state by land and not have to take the gun off to remain legal.  Pennsylvania has no reciproicity agreements with any of its neighbors.   I’ve been able to carry in Ohio and Delaware for a while now, but only on a Florida CWL.

Virginia and Pennsylvania Establish Reciprocity

This is good news for both PA LTC and VA CHL holders. Reciprocity with Virginia has been a long time coming. I’ve heard various reasons on why it hasn’t happened sooner, from our lack of training requirement, to Pennsylvania having no easy method for license verification. I’m glad to see if finally happening though.

Opposition to National Reciprocity from Former PPD Commish

This seems like a silly assertion:

Twelve states — including Pennsylvania’s neighbor, West Virginia — do not require any permit or training to carry hidden loaded guns in public. If this bill becomes law, almost any person from these states would instantly be able to carry concealed in Pennsylvania, regardless of whether that person meets the commonwealth’s standards for carrying a concealed gun in public. This not only puts communities in danger, it makes it harder for law enforcement officers to do their jobs.

Surely we have such strict standards! Last I checked, if you can come up with 20 bucks and clear a PICS check you can get an LTC in Pennsylvania. It’s usually the other states that use us a bogey man.

It’s also funny that Ramesy talks a good game on how well trained police are, when under his watch at the PPD, the US DOJ found that training for his department was substandard.

Also recall, that this is the same guy who was allegedly carrying around a firearm without legally being a sworn police officer in Pennsylvania.

Terry McAuliffe Backtracks on Reciprocity

The Washington Post is reporting that a deal has been struck between Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe and Republicans. The deal breaks down to this: reciprocity with the 25 states will not be rescinded. In exchange, the GOP controlled legislature will agree to pass a bill with the following provisions:

  • If someone’s Virginia permit is revoked, they can’t use another state’s permit to continue to carry in Virginia. OK, fair enough. I’m not going to sweat that.
  • State Police will be made available at gun shows to run background checks. The checks will be voluntary, not mandatory, so fine by me.
  • Anyone subject to a permanent protective order (PPO) is barred from carrying for two years the order remains in effect. By federal law someone with a PPO can’t have a gun anyway, so I don’t see what the issue is here.

It makes me wonder if holding reciprocity hostage in an effort to get concessions was the plan all along, but McAuliffe didn’t get much of anything here in return, so I suspect they were made to feel their move on reciprocity was… ill considered. I don’t think the plan was to hold reciprocity hostage to get concessions, I think they realized they made a major political miscalculation and McAuliffe was looking for a face saving way out.

If you’re a Virginia gun owner, and were part of the noisemaking operation down there, pat yourself on the back, your governor and attorney general just blinked. They always underestimate us.

Virginia Move Part of Coordinated Campaign

If you don’t think this is part of a coordinated campaign by the left, probably organized through the White House, I have news for you:

Conduct an annual review of concealed-carry permit reciprocity agreements with other states and rescind those agreements with states that fail to meet certain standards

Remember, this is from December 15. Seems some Dems have been listening. Don’t expect this move in Virginia to be the last move. There’s probably more to come. Get ready.

Reciprocity Agreements Tweaked With Other States

Sorry for not noticing this, but it would seem our anti-gun Attorney General, Kathleen Kane, has revised our reciprocity agreements with Virginia and Arizona. If you hold a non-resident permit from either of these states, you can no longer carry in Pennsylvania. If you’re from out of state, and not a resident of a reciprocal state, or you’re a PA resident in Philly [Looks like Utah requires a license from your home state before they’ll issue], and you can’t get an LTC because you forgot to pay a parking ticket or had a gun stolen once (two real cases), I would suggest looking into the Utah permit. Utah is recognized by Pennsylvania through statute, meaning Kane has no power to dinker with any agreement. You need to find a Utah certified instructor, but the State of Utah provides a convenient list. There are a number of instructors in Pennsylvania, and it’s a very widely recognized permit by other states.

National Reciprocity in the Senate

I’m becoming less optimistic about the prospects for National Concealed Carry, mostly because the GOP seems more interested in election year posturing than actually passing anything. In order to actually pass something, it requires cooperation from the Democrats. It must be a bipartisan bill to achieve success.

We had a bill introduced, S. 2188, which started off the gate with bipartisan support, being sponsored by Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia). Then Senator Vitter and Thune introduced their bill, S. 2213. The Thune bill is identical to the one that failed last time in the Senate, which including a measure to deal with Vermont, allowing Vermonters to carry without a permit in any state. I’d be happy to have this measure, but I think it has a few political problems:

  • It’s not in the House version, so it’ll complicate things in conference.
  • Schumer had a several of votes in his pocket against the identical bill last time. Schumer played a very clever game: he lined up all his no votes, then once it became clear he could defeat the bill, he allowed some of his vulnerable no votes to switch to yes. One of those was our Senator Robert P. Casey Jr. Remember that when he tells you he’s pro-gun this election.

Senator Crapo has pulled his co-sponsorship of S. 2188 and given it to S. 2213. S. 2188 added Senator Tester (D-MT) and Senator Baucus (D-MT). S. 2213 has 29 co-sponsors, but they are all Republicans. Not a single Democrat has signed on to S. 2213. While it’s quite good to have both parties competing for our votes, the end result of this partisan divide is going to be that we don’t get a bill passed. Without cooperation from the Democrats who control the Senate, it’s just not going to happen.

The Republicans are essentially treating gun owners as a hobby horse, to be trotted out and ridden at election time. We had an opportunity for a bipartisan bill, but that’s not the direction the GOP wants to go. Strategically, I think this is a mistake. It would far better benefit the GOP to put a bill on Obama’s desk than it would trying to snipe at a handful of Democrats who the GOP thinks are vulnerable. Perhaps the GOP is worried if they did that, Obama just might be tempted to sign it? I don’t think he can politically, especially not with this Florida thing blowing up on him.

My bet is we get no National Reciprocity bill this Congress.

Senate National Reciprocity Bill Introduced

Looks like it’s being introduced by Begich (D-Alaska), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia). We will certainly be following this bill closely.

UPDATE: Someone was asking about a bill number. We don’t seem to have one yet, as best I can tell from searching on Thomas. There’s a lot of possibilities with this bill, but I would expect a few things to be true:

  • This won’t be attached to a must pass bill. I think the Republicans will want send Obama a clean bill in order to bring forth a veto of a gun rights bill in an election year. But will he have the guts to veto it? It’ll be much harder for the left to claim a pro-gun-rights record if he vetoes a key piece of legislation.
  • It will be very interesting to see what Harry Reid does. His political instinct should be to protect the White House in an election year, and just being recently re-elected, he has four more years for people’s memories to fade. Reid has generally been with gun owners, but he’s not always been reliable. If I were to wager, I’m going to bet Reid publicly supports the bill, but works behind the scenes to prevent it from getting scheduled. I would imagine the White House will put a lot of pressure on Reid to keep that bill off the President’s desk.
  • The Senate is running its own bill because, in an election year, those Senators will want to get their names on it. They won’t want to vote for a House Bill that has other people’s names on it. This is good and bad. It’s good because the it’s a signal the politicians value gun owner votes. It’s bad because it means the differences will have to be worked out in conference. It would be simpler for the Senate to just pass HR822, but in politics, everyone want to take credit for a politically important bill, so you get what you get.
  • UPDATE: It’ll also be interesting to see what Leahy will do to this, as it will get referred to the Judiciary Committee. Leahy hasn’t been a pro-gun stalwart, despite coming from Vermont. He voted “no” on the Thune Amendment in the 111th Congress in 2009.

UPDATE: From NRA.

LTC Reciprocity With Maryland?

VCDL is reporting on a bill that’s being introduced in Maryland, much along the same lines as Delaware, which while still technically being a may-issue state, was able to, nonetheless, pass a reciprocity bill. This Maryland bill will recognize licenses issued by surrounding states, including Pennsylvania, but oddly not including West Virginia. I don’t know why they left out West Virginia. Maybe the sponsor has it in for them. Either way, I don’t think this bill stands much of a chance, but it’s worth supporting anyway, just to let the politicians know we still care. I just wouldn’t have unrealistic expectations about its chances. It is scheduled for a committee hearing, so if you live in Maryland, that’s one thing to consider showing up for. It’s scheduled for next Tuesday at 1:00PM.

And before anyone says I’m just being a Negative Nancy with my assessment of the Bill’s chances, I’d encourage folks to look at the makeup of the Maryland House Judiciary committee. You have a B- chair, which might be how we got a hearing at all. You have seven pro-gun (NRA B and higher) votes on that committee, plus the chairman, out of 22 members of the committee. It’s a very polarized committee, where everyone is either and A or B or  D or F, which probably reflects the state as a whole on the gun issue. There are a lot of question mark candidates, but in a state like Maryland, those should be counted as likely Fs. There is one C grade on the committee, but even if you swing that one, it’s still not enough votes to get it to the floor. And even if you get it to the floor, it’s going to die there.

It is still worth contacting legislators, and showing up. It takes a long time to bring a movement to eventual success, but we should approach the fight with realistic expectations. Otherwise you risk disillusioning your followers. The real benefit going forward is to get all these question marks on record, so next election they carry grades that reflect their actual attitude toward our rights.

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