Many of us recall the story of Shaneen Allen– the mother of two who was pulled over in New Jersey for an ‘unsafe lane change’ and ended up landing 10 years in prison. Why? Because she gave the officer her concealed carry permit and honestly informed him that she was armed.
Less of you may recall that recently an unarmed man from Florida was driving through Maryland and was pulled over. After the cops retrieved his driver’s license and registration, they returned to the vehicle and immediately began to harass him about where his gun was located.
As a response to these types of incidents where states refuse to recognize other states’ concealed carry laws (even to those just passing through), a Senate Republican introduced the ‘reciprocity bill‘ that would potentially enforce that every state is to recognize a traveler’s concealed carry permit. This hopefully would protect out-of-state travelers from facing a criminal charge that they were unaware of to begin with.
Virginia, however, is taking a completely different approach. Instead of trying to enforce other states to ‘reciprocate’ concealed carry permits in a state that doesn’t allow it, Virginia is introducing a bill that would deny out-of-state officers from accessing residents’ concealed carry data entirely.
Virginia SB948 states that “the proposed legislation provides that information on concealed handgun
permitees in the Virginia Criminal Information Network may not be shared with law
enforcement in states that do not have reciprocity agreements with Virginia for the carrying
of concealed handguns.”
More specifically, this would help to protect Virginia residents from facing punishment from restrictive governments such as those in surrounding states; i.e. Washington D.C and Maryland. Speaking from my own personal fears, I am legitimately afraid to go anywhere near I-395 N or 66 when my gun is with me because I could immediately face criminal charges just by missing an exit and ending up in DC or Maryland, even though I am legally permitted to have my gun with me less than 1 mile away.
With this bill, Virginia is one step away from blocking off their state’s concealed carry permit database from law enforcement from states who do not have the reciprocity act in place.