Obenshain and Bell on Herring’s Gun Grab

Yesterday Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring made a unilateral move to restrict our 2nd Amendment rights. Herring is running his office as a hyper-partisan liberal politico, which is an entirely inappropriate way to administer Virginia’s justice system.

State Senator Mark Obenshain and Delegate Rob Bell, two men who understand Virginia law as well as anyone, issued the following statements yesterday in response to Herring’s unconstitutional gun grab.

HARRISONBURG—Senator Mark Obenshain (R-Rockingham) issued the following statement in response to the announcement by the Attorney General today that Virginia is rescinding its concealed weapon reciprocity agreement with 25 other states.

“This unilateral politically motivated executive action seriously limits the rights of those Virginians who have concealed weapon permits,” Obenshain said. “After claiming that this action doesn’t affect the validity of any permits that may have been issued by Virginia, the official announcement from the Attorney General closes with the warning that Virginia permit holders had better check the laws of states they may visit because in many of those states their permits will not be valid any longer.”

Obenshain added, “These permit holders are not the people committing gun crimes in Virginia. They are the people who go to the trouble to get permits to comply with the law. This decision by the Attorney General will have a tremendous impact on Virginia permit holders who travel to other states in reliance on reciprocity and who have been lawfully doing so for years.”

“In his announcement, the Attorney General has not pointed to a single crime committed by an out-of-state concealed weapons permit holder legally carrying in Virginia under the reciprocity agreement; not one,” stated Obenshain. “Indeed, the State Police concede that they are not aware of any either. It is evident that this is nothing more than liberal window dressing and political payback for the millions of dollars former New York Mayor Bloomberg has pumped into the campaigns of Virginia Democrats, including that of the Attorney General, over the past two and a half years.”

Senator Obenshain concluded, “I have always been and will continue to be a staunch supporter of second amendment rights. We need to continue to be creative in our efforts to keep Virginians safe. This action by the Attorney General is neither creative nor intended to do anything to make Virginians safer. I remember well the campaign promises made by Mark Herring as he ran for Attorney General. He promised that he would take the politics out of the Attorney General’s office. The level of his insincerity rises to new heights with each passing month.”

-from Mark Obenshain, 26th District


Today Attorney General Mark Herring announced that Virginia would stop recognizing concealed carry permits from 25 other states.

Virginia law allows Virginia to recognize permits from other states, and vice-versa. Over the last 18 years, agreements have been made under Democratic Governors (Warner, Kaine) and Republicans (Gilmore, McDonnell). This “reciprocity” enabled the 420,000 Virginians with permits to carry concealed weapons in a total of 30 states.

Herring’s unilateral announcement will result in revocation of the ability of the Virginians to carry in six states (FL, LA, ND, PA, SC, and WY). In addition, the other 19 impacted states may revoke Virginia’s permits as well, since their citizens are no longer allowed to carry in Virginia.

Herring took this action even though state police have stated that they have no evidence of crimes committed by in-state or out-of-state permit holders.

As the Washington Post stated, “Herring’s move is in keeping with his embrace of liberal issues as he seeks a second term.” In doing so, he is following the guidance of groups that directly advocate circumventing legislatures to accomplish their goals. This is exactly the sort of executive overreach we have seen coming out of Washington. As he has in the past, Herring continues to put the political goals of his liberal supporters ahead of sound legal judgement.

Legislation has already been filed to that would address Herring’s announcement. The General Assembly will take this up in January. In the meantime, you can share your thoughts with Attorney General Herring here.


Rob Bell
Delegate, 58th District