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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Are Lifetime Concealed Handgun Permits Right for You?

There are currently two bills in the General Assembly (one in the House of Delegates and one in the State Senate) that would create lifetime concealed handgun permits.  The House version (HB 1359) has not been acted on in committee.  The Senate Bill, SB 689 reported out of committee on Monday and should be up on final passage Thursday or Friday. The Senate bill gives applicants the choice of either the current five year permit, or a lifetime permit.  You may ask why the choice; wouldn't everyone want the lifetime option?

After the first VSSA legislative email alert went out last week, I received a reply from a VSSA Life Member who currently lives in South Carolina.  He's an FFL and said that in South Carolina, a concealed carry permit holder does not have to undergo a background check when they purchase a firearm because the South Carolina permit qualifies for a NICS check exemption (US Code Title 27 Chapter 478.102 (d)(1)(ii)).  That exemption requires that a NICS check is done at least once every five years.  Currently in Virginia, CHP background checks go through the State Police so Virginia does not qualify for the background check exemption.  If SB 689 passes, that could change.

SB 689 includes a provision that five-year permits also undergo a NICS background check in the processing. Also, there is a House Bill 2029 that would change Virginia's background check law to allow CHP holders to be exempt from the background check when purchasing a firearm in accordance with the above referenced exemption.

So, if a Virginia gun owner wants to be exempt from undergoing a background check every time they purchase a firearm, they would need to continue with the current five-year permit.  But, if SB 689 passes, you will also have the option of having a permit for life, you'll just have to continue going through the background check when you buy a firearm from an FFL.

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