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AG Schmidt seeks explanation of Virginia ‘executive action’ on Kansas gun permits

Release Date: Jan 05, 2016

TOPEKA – (January 5, 2016) – Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt today requested an explanation of the legal reasoning behind Virginia’s decision to stop honoring Kansas concealed carry firearm licenses.

In a letter to Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring, Schmidt noted that the decision announced immediately before Christmas was largely unexplained.

“Your decision to revoke reciprocity came as quite a surprise and a tremendous disappointment to many law-abiding Kansans who hold concealed carry licenses and travel to Virginia from time to time,” Schmidt wrote. “Some are asking the obvious question: Why? Because the Commonwealth’s decision was not explained to us, I am at a loss to answer that reasonable question.”

Schmidt noted that Virginia first recognized Kansas licenses in February 2014 after six years of periodic discussions between the two states. He said he is unaware of any changes in Virginia law since then that would have explained the reconsideration.

“Since Virginia apparently has revised its interpretation of Kansas law, I am hereby respectfully requesting that you provide a detailed and specific explanation of why in your opinion the Kansas concealed carry license no longer should be recognized by Virginia as a matter of law,” Schmidt wrote. “We intend to review the explanation to determine whether Kansas may take any appropriate, corrective steps either within our existing law or in cooperation with our Legislature to allow the renewal of reciprocity with Virginia.”

On December 22, Virginia announced it had reevaluated its firearms-licensing reciprocity relationships with other states and had concluded that 25 states, including Kansas, should be dropped from the reciprocity list.

Schmidt said the Virginia action appeared in some ways similar to the federal “executive action” on guns announced today by the Obama Administration.

“It is true, of course, that elections have consequences,” Schmidt said. “But nobody – not even the President of the United States – is free to ignore or essentially rewrite laws they disagree with. Under our Constitution, that is the sole purview of the people’s elected representatives in Congress.”

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