The Slatest

Virginia Tightens Gun Restrictions a Teensy-Weensy Bit, Triggering GOP Meltdown Reflex

Virginia makes it so out-of-state concealed handgun permit holders must meet in-state standard for license.

Photo by George Frey/Getty Images

The state of Virginia ever so slightly tightened its gun laws on Tuesday by ending reciprocity agreements on concealed handgun permits with 25 other states that allowed individuals licensed elsewhere to carry a concealed handgun in Virginia. The reasoning behind the change is pretty straightforward: The 25 states grant concealed weapon permits to people that don’t meet Virginia’s legal standard—like felons, convicted stalkers, and drug dealers. The change came after a months-long audit by law enforcement in the state.

“To me, this is a common-sense step that can help make Virginians and our law enforcement officers safer by ensuring that our concealed carry laws and safety standards apply to everyone in Virginia whether they are a resident or a visitor,” the state’s Democratic Attorney General Mark Herring said in a statement. Seems like a reasonable assessment and adjustment to protect the state’s legitimate interest in upholding its own standards for gun ownership. I mean, right? Depends who you ask: “John Whitbeck, chairman of the Virginia Republican Party, said Herring’s announcement was further proof that Democrats have ‘declared war on the Second Amendment,’” according to the Associated Press.

“The move comes less than one month before the Virginia General Assembly is set to reconvene for its 2016 session, and promises to intensify the ongoing debate surrounding public safety and gun rights,” the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports. “Meanwhile, conservative lawmakers, backed by the NRA and Second Amendment pro-gun groups, have pushed for expanded gun rights, fewer restrictions and greater reciprocity with neighboring states.”