By Rachel Beatrice
Capital News Service
RICHMOND – A Republican state legislator is urging Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe to delay the revocation of reciprocal agreements Virginia has with 25 states on whether to honor their concealed handgun carry permits.
Del. L. Scott Lingamfelter of Woodbridge made the request in a letter this week to McAuliffe.
“Given the fact that the State Police has told me that they have no records of any out-of-state individual with a concealed carry permit committing crimes in Virginia, I think a few months’ delay hardly represents a threat to our citizens,” Lingamfelter said.
His letter comes a month after Attorney General Mark Herring announced that beginning Feb. 1, Virginia would no longer recognize concealed handgun permits from 25 states, including North Carolina, Tennessee and Kentucky.
Herring, a Democrat, said an audit showed that those states did not meet Virginia’s standards for issuing concealed carry permits.
“To ensure Virginia’s law and safety standards for concealed handgun permits are applied evenly, consistently and fairly, I have recommended the State Police terminate the reciprocity agreements with 25 states whose laws are not adequate to prevent issuance of a concealed handgun permit to individuals that Virginia would disqualify,” Herring said in a statement on Dec. 22.
“The State Police has accepted that recommendation and has begun sending letters to the 25 states informing them that as of Feb. 1, their permits will no longer be recognized by Virginia.”
In his letter, Lingamfelter suggested that the revocation be put on hold until July 1. He said the five-month delay would give the General Assembly time to address the issue.
If implementation of Herring’s decision is not delayed, Lingamfelter said, there could be a domino effect.
“Just last week, we learned that our neighbor Tennessee has initiated a legislative process to revoke the reciprocity it has with Virginia as a result of our pending revocation of the agreement we have with Tennessee,” Lingamfelter said.
“Other states will surely follow as their legislatures take note of the action taken by the Virginia State Police and the Office of the Attorney General.”
In a press release, Lingamfelter said Herring’s decision “impacts the legal right of over 420,000 Virginians who possess a concealed carry permit to have a concealed weapon when they travel to other states.”
“This revocation action is very hurtful to law abiding citizens who possess a valid concealed carry permit and desire to travel to other states who recognize Virginia’s permit. The action by the State Police and the Attorney General damages the ability of Virginians to protect themselves.”
Lingamfelter represents House District 31, which includes parts of Fauquier and Prince William counties. He said he hopes McAuliffe will respond to the letter next week.
McAuliffe has said he supports Herring’s decision. On radio station WTOP’s “Ask the Governor” program on Dec. 23, he said the 25 states whose permits will no longer be recognized in Virginia have lower standards than Virginia for who can carry a concealed handgun.
“There are states that don’t have the disqualifiers that we have on undocumented folks who are in this country, on spousal/domestic abuse,” the governor said.