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PA Attorney General Reviews Reciprocity Agreements and Nixes Virginia

On Monday, PA Attorney General Josh Shapiro held a press conference wherein he “announced his office ha[d] completed an exhaustive review of concealed carry reciprocity agreements with all 49 other states, as required under Pennsylvania law.” Notably, the Attorney General’s website has been updated with a handy chart.

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The announcement specified that Pennsylvania now recognizes the licenses of 29 other states (previously it was 28). Notably, Idaho and Alabama were added to the recognized states. However, Virginia was removed. As of May 16, 2018, Virginia residents will no longer be able to carry in Pennsylvania pursuant to a Virginia Concealed Handgun Permit.

Pouring salt into an already open wound, the Attorney General has also specified that non-resident permits will no longer be recognized in PA. Which means that in order to lawfully carry a concealed firearm in Pennsylvania, according to the Attorney General, you must be a resident of the state which has issued the license and be over twenty-one years of age.

There are two manners in which Pennsylvania recognizes reciprocity. The first is found in 18 Pa.C.S. § 6106(b)(15) and allows the Attorney General to recognize, without a written agreement, another state’s license. This is predicated on the condition that the other state recognizes Pennsylvania License to Carry Firearms (“LTCF”) and that the laws governing firearms in that state are sufficiently similar to Pennsylvania’s.

The other manner is by written agreement. 18 Pa.C.S. § 6019(k)(1) provides:

The Attorney General shall have the power and duty to enter into reciprocity agreements with other states providing for the mutual recognition of a license to carry a firearm issued by the Commonwealth and a license or permit to carry a firearm issued by the other state. To carry out this duty, the Attorney General is authorized to negotiate reciprocity agreements and grant recognition of a license or permit to carry a firearm issued by another state.

Virginia and Pennsylvania had entered into a written reciprocity agreement on January 3, 2007. The agreement was amended on March 15, 2013 during the tenure of disgraced former Attorney General, now convicted felon, Kathleen Kane. Notably, the statute is silent as to the ability of the Attorney General to rescind a reciprocity agreement. However, that does not appear to have stopped Attorney General Shapiro.

Moreover, Section 6109(k)(2) requires that “[t]he Attorney General shall report to the General Assembly within 180 days of the effective date of this paragraph and annually thereafter concerning the agreements which have been consummated under this subsection.” (emphasis added). Based on the plain language of the statute, it would seem the General Assembly wished to be apprised of the states with which the Attorney General entered into written reciprocity agreements on an annual basis. Further, this would imply that if the General Assembly believed the agreement to be inappropriate, it could act to revoke its status, rather than leaving that to the discretion of the Attorney General.

Below is a list of states that Pennsylvania recognizes the permits of. You can find more information in the PDF provided by the Office of the Attorney General here.

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