Battle brewing over concealed carry bill in Congress

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — In Virginia, there are certain requirements for anyone that wants to carry a concealed weapon. Some things will automatically disqualify you like a DUI or an assault conviction.

Virginia honors concealed carry permits from dozens of states across the country. These are called reciprocity agreements. Almost two years ago, the attorney general made national headlines after making this announcement.

“I have recommended state police terminate the reciprocity agreements with 25 states,” Attorney General Mark Herring said in 2015.

A gun deal with Republicans eventually nixed that policy, but a bill currently in Congress would prevent any state from terminating reciprocity agreements again.

Philip Van Cleave with the gun rights group ‘Virginia Citizens Defense League,’ says the measure would require states to honor all permits, even states that don’t require them.

“You need to treat all permit holders the way you treat your own, it’s kind of like a driver’s license,” Van Cleave said. “We would still have to honor the laws in the state that we’re in.”

This week, a national group fighting the measure released a graphic showing the concealed carry differences between Virginia and other states.

“A concealed carry permit is not like a driver’s license,” Andy Goddard with Virginians for Responsible Gun Laws said. “You wouldn’t be able to drive all over this country with your Virginia driver’s license if there were states who let you drive with no license, no training, no nothing.”

Critics of the bill like Goddard say the measure will weaken gun laws.

“If we can get national reciprocity, including state’s that don’t have permits, why do we need permits at all?” Goddard said.

Senator Mark Warner has already come out and said he will not support this bill.

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