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Virginia reviews concealed handgun permits from other states; most not recognized after Feb. 1

Attorney General Mark R. Herring and the Virginia State Police have completed an audit and update of the 30 states whose concealed handgun permits have been considered valid within the Commonwealth. This audit and update was conducted pursuant to Virginia State Code § 18.2-308.014, which requires, in part, that “The Superintendent of State Police shall, in consultation with the Office of the Attorney General determine whether states meet the requirements and qualifications” for recognition of their concealed handgun permits.

In order to qualify for recognition of a permit, also known as “reciprocity,” the out-of-state issuing authority must provide “the means for instantaneous verification of the validity of all such permits or licenses issued within that state, accessible 24 hours a day,” and “the requirements and qualifications of that state’s law” must be “adequate to prevent possession of a permit or license by persons who would be denied a permit in the Commonwealth under this article.”

After months of research and evaluation, including extensive outreach to the states whose permits Virginia currently recognizes, Virginia is revoking concealed handgun permit recognition with 25 states effective February 1, 2016 because their laws are not sufficient to prevent someone who is disqualified under Virginia law from receiving a concealed handgun permit. These states therefore do not meet Virginia’s standards for issuance of a concealed handgun permit or for recognition of such permits.

This update does not affect which Virginia residents or nonresidents are qualified to receive a Virginia concealed handgun permit, nor does it affect the validity of any permits that have been issued by Virginia.

Virginia’s concealed handgun permit law includes a number of disqualifiers and safeguards designed to prevent potentially dangerous or irresponsible individuals from being able to lawfully conceal handguns, such as:
An individual who has been ordered by a court to receive outpatient mental health treatment, who has received inpatient mental health or substance abuse treatment, or who has been adjudicated legally incompetent, mentally incapacitated, or not guilty by reason of insanity.
An individual who is subject to a restraining order, or to a protective order
An individual who has been convicted of stalking or has pending stalking charges
An individual who has been convicted of any assault, assault and battery, sexual battery, discharging of a firearm or brandishing of a firearm within the three-year period immediately preceding the application, or has pending charges for any of the above
An individual who has been convicted of a felony or has felony charges pending
An individual who has been convicted of two or more misdemeanors within the five-year period immediately preceding the application
An individual who is addicted to, or is an unlawful user or distributor of, marijuana, synthetic cannabinoids, or any controlled substance.
An individual who has been convicted of driving under the influence within the three years prior to the application
An individual who the court finds, by a preponderance of the evidence, based on specific acts by the applicant, is likely to use a weapon unlawfully or negligently to endanger others
An individual whose juvenile adjudications would have constituted a felony conviction if committed by an adult
An alien other than an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence
An individual who is a fugitive from justice
An individual who has been discharged from the armed forces of the United States under dishonorable conditions
Because the following 25 states lacked adequate disqualifiers to deny a permit to someone who would be barred from obtaining a permit in Virginia, the Virginia State Police, on the advice of the Attorney General, has begun notifying the following states that their concealed handgun permits will no longer be recognized by the Commonwealth:

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 #
Wyoming *

* indicates states that will no longer recognize Virginia concealed handgun permits because of laws in those states that require mutual recognition of permits
# indicates states that do not currently recognize a Virginia concealed handgun permit

Concealed handgun permits from Michigan, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, and West Virginia will continue to be recognized, as their process for issuing concealed handgun permits is adequate to prevent someone who would be denied a permit in Virginia from obtaining one.

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