BRISTOL, VA (WJHL)- A Virginia legislator is proposing a bill that would allow gun owners to carry concealed guns without a permit.
Right now, in order to carry concealed in Virginia, people need a concealed carry permit. But Senator Dick Black, (R)- District 13, wants to pass what many people are calling the “Constitutional Carry” law, which allows a person who can legally buy a gun to carry it concealed without a permit.
“We want to restore the Second Amendment to what it was originally intended to be, which is the right of the people to keep and bear arms,” Senator Black said.
Currently, gun owners in Virginia can open carry without a permit. Black said there would still be a concealed permit process for gun owners who want to travel to other states, but it would not be mandated.
Certified firearms instructor Gary Widner is not entirely on-board with the proposed bill. “There’s so much liability with the use of a firearm and carrying a firearm that if you don’t have the proper training you’re going to wind up in a lot of trouble,” Widner, owner of Defensive Firearms Instruction in Bristol, Va., said.
A gun competency course is required for anyone wanting to get a concealed carry permit. But getting rid of the concealed carry permit in Virginia would consequently end the competency requirement that goes along with it, according to the proposed bill.
Widner wants the competency requirement to stay in effect and wants it to be stronger. “I don’t like the part where they don’t have to shoot the gun to get the concealed carry permit. You need to shoot the gun.”
Black disagrees, saying while he encourages people to get training, “Just like the right to free speech. Nobody, nobody tests you to see whether you’re able to speak properly, you’re just able to speak, and the same thing applies to the second amendment.”
This is the first time a bill of this nature is being proposed in the Commonwealth. Senator Black believes it might take a few legislative sessions to pass, but says it is a growing trend across the nation. Several states including, Maine, Wyoming, and Arizona have passed similar Constitutional Carry laws. The bill will have to pass the Committee for Courts of Justice before it can continue the legislative process in Virginia.
However, Black believes this legislative session the Virginia General Assembly will be able to take action against Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring’s recent announcement that the Commonwealth will revoke recognition of concealed carry permits in 25 states. “They’re going to be able to do this and I think they’re going to be able to get it past the governor,” Black said.
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