Senator Bill Cook’s Appeal to Virginia Results in Reversal of the Proposed Concealed-Carry Handgun Restrictions

In December 2015, Virginia Attorney General Mark R. Herring attempted to revoke Virginia’s concealed handgun carry reciprocity agreements with 25 other states, including North Carolina, citing they don’t meet Virginia’s standards. This caused uproar among the concealed carry and firearm community. However, shortly after Herring’s announcement, N.C. Senator Bill Cook (R-District 1) was North Carolina’s first elected official to fire back. Senator Cook released several statements and directed a letter to Herring communicating strong opposition and urged the Virginia Attorney General to reverse his decision.

In his letter, Senator Cook said “revoking North Carolina’s concealed handgun permit recognition in Virginia is a significant impediment to the safety of my constituents traveling in Virginia. A survey conducted by criminologists from Florida State University estimates that Americans use firearms in self-defense roughly 2.2 to 2.5 million times a year, or every 13 seconds.” 

North Carolina requires all non-conceal permitted handgun purchasers to have a background check performed by the county sheriff, and after several days or weeks, the sheriff may issue up to five “Permission to Buy” certificates which must be surrendered to the retailer upon purchase.

Senator Cook pointed out to Herring that Virginia and North Carolina share a 322 mile border, 58 miles of which lie within his district. “At least six of the eight counties in the district have many commuters traveling to Virginia to work. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, tens of thousands of North Carolinians travel to Virginia to work, daily,” Senator Cook said. 

Data clearly shows a link between concealed carry laws and declining crime rates. Based on statistics from the FBI’s Annual Uniform Crime Report, right-to-carry states that widely allow concealed carry, have 22 percent lower total violent crime rates, 30 percent lower murder rates, 46 percent lower robbery rates, and 12 percent lower aggravated assault rates, as compared to the rest of country. 

“Recognizing the implications of this data during the previous legislative session of the N.C. General Assembly, we expanded the number of places that a person with a concealed carry permit can carry firearms to protect themselves and their families,” Senator Cook said. 

After receiving pressure from Senator Cook, the National Rifle Association (NRA) as well as other pro-firearm organizations, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe and Republican lawmakers announced an agreement to reverse Herring’s decision that would have severed the reciprocity rights of gun owners with a concealed-carry permit in 25 states, including North Carolina. 

“I was pleased and thankful for Virginia reversing a proposed policy that would have not recognized North Carolina concealed handgun permits,” Senator Cook said. “If the policy was enacted, it would have essentially put those with North Carolina concealed-carry permits in a precarious situation when traveling to Virginia. Thanks to all my constituents who contacted me about this issue - the vigorous activism most certainly helped.”

Senator Bill Cook’s Appeal to Virginia Results in Reversal of the Proposed Concealed-Carry Handgun Restrictions Senator Bill Cook’s Appeal to Virginia Results in Reversal of the Proposed Concealed-Carry Handgun Restrictions Reviewed by kensunm on 7:00:00 PM Rating: 5

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