The Attorney General of Virginia recently announced that Virginia would revoke reciprocity agreements and refuse recognition of CWPs issued by other states. The changes affect CWP holders from 25 states and is effective February of 2016. While politically motivated, the Attorney General justified the action citing differing qualifications to receive a CWP in Virginia and the other states.
South Carolina CWP holders are one of the groups affected, and our CWPs will no longer be valid in Virginia starting in February 2016. The obvious question becomes what can we do?
Certainly some people will avoid the dilemma by not traveling to Virginia. Fortunately, we also have other options.
Virginia, like South Carolina, allows for limited handgun carry in a vehicle without a permit. The firearm must be kept in a secured, but not necessarily locked, container or compartment. Travelers can take advantage of these allowances to keep a firearm handy and legally accessible. I encourage you to review the particular laws immediately prior to your travel and ensure your vehicle has storage spaces that comply with the law.
Virginia also allows for the open carry of handguns. If you intend to exercise this right, I again highly encourage you to review the laws immediately prior to traveling to Virginia. There are still places you cannot carry firearms, and there are of course places where open carry may not be the wisest decision. If you do choose this path, I encourage you to dress neat and professionally. (Appearance and first impression are important and will go a long way to avoiding any confrontations, thus projecting a good image for the gun community.)
Between these three options, you should be able to keep your travel plans and remain safe while in Virginia. Most of Virginia’s police and citizens are friendly towards firearms, especially in the rural areas outside the influence of Washington, DC. Virginia’s house and senate have promised to address this issue when they reconvene in 2016, and I doubt we have heard the final word.