There are a lot of things that are nice about living in Virginia. For a gun owner, it is nice to live in a state that has reasonable gun laws, and has a constitutional right to Keep and Bear Arms enshrined in the state charter.
Up until 1950, the act of carrying a handgun in Virginia was a complete non-issue. In 1950, the legislature passed into law restrictions on concealed carry ("may issue"), but left open carry alone in order to satisfy the constitutional requirement. As the years progressed, through Jim Crow and the Civil Rights fights, these laws became more and more onerous for the average citizen. Unless you were politically connected, white, wealthy, or powerful, a carry permit was not going to be issued.
In 1995, Virginia joined a handful of states changing their laws to "Shall Issue", and the legislature has been peeling back the regulations ever since (over the vehement objections of the Democrats from Richmond, Fairfax, and Arlington county). Last year saw some of the most aggressive attempts to liberate the gun laws in Virgina, and many of these reforms passed. Many more were killed in a specially-formed committee of Henry Marsh's, which was created for the sole purpose of stopping the legislation.
Great, you say. Why are you telling me this, Newbius?
Here is why: Reciprocity. According to the Virginia State Police, Virginia has formal reciprocity agreements with 12 states. An additional 13 states have informal reciprocity with us. So, out of the total of 50 states, I can legally carry in 26 of them using my home state permit. What about the rest? Well, if I was a law enforcement officer I could carry using my status under LEOSA in all 50 states. Since I am not, I have to depend on bureaucratic dispensation...
OK, but where am I going with this? Well...50 minus 26 is 24 remaining states (plus DC) where my permit is not recognized. Several of these are Blue states where the right is essentially denied. These are Wisconsin, Illinois, California, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Maryland, and the District of Columbia. Subtract these 8 states out of the mix, and that leaves 16 states (15 after Iowa becomes Shall Issue in January).
The remaining states in the US which have either Shall Issue permit laws, or are reasonable about their "May Issue" laws pretty much all have the same stance regarding recognition of the Virginia permit, to wit: "I'll recognize yours if you will recognize mine". Current Virginia statue requires any state which wishes to have their permits recognized in Virginia to have a permit process that is at least as onerous as ours, to have also constructed a 24-hour database sharing system, and to have adopted our prohibitions as well. This is ridiculous.
I have proposed to my Delegate that the statute be amended to strip out these requirements, and to grant recognition of another state's carry permits no matter where issued. The only caveats I would leave in place are restrictions on Prohibited Persons (at least until that is eliminated from Federal law), and persons who are under age. If another state has issued a permit, then we should recognize it.
Face it, every law-abiding person who complies with the carry permit process has had to prove he or she is not a prohibited person already. Most states also require some form of formal training. We should give full faith and credit to these states' permits, just as we do their drivers licenses. We don't require that other states adopt our driving standards before recognizing their licenses, do we? If we don't do this for the exercise of a privilege, why do it for a right?
I would love to hear some feedback on this one.