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Concealed Carry in VA

VA Concealed Carry Permit Rejected ||| Attorney General Submits an Opinion Letter

Over the past 2 – 2 1/2 years or so about 10 of our students have had VA Resident Concealed Carry Applications rejected. (The #10 represents the # that have been rejected while having a permit application filled out properly and having the proper documentation.  This does not include the applications that have been returned for administrative reasons such as forgetting to sign the application, etc.) Now in the grand scheme of things this is a small number considering we have had approximately 2,500 attendees through our Utah/Multi-State Concealed Carry Course.

The interesting point is the fact that one judge in particular rejected 7 of these applications in Fairfax County alone; the other 3 were in Loundoun County. The ones in Loundoun only required an email from me, Evan Carson, explaining that the rejection was not warranted and stating code references. In the Loundoun examples the Circuit Court Clerk overturned their original stance and accepted the applications which then went before a judge and were ultimately accepted. In the Fairfax County Examples the story was slightly different. In these examples, (7 by the same judge) the Circuit Court Clerk (John T. Frey) passed the applications on to a judge who then rejected these applications.  The rejection letter that went to these 7 applicants, signed by the Circuit Court Clerk, stated the following: “please provide further proof of competency with a handgun (it is unclear on the certificate that was submitted whether or not the course was taught by an NRA certified instructor)”.  In these 7 examples, the students were supplied with a certificate from Innovative Defensive Solutions, llc after their completion in the Utah Concealed Carry Course.

VA state code Section 18.2-308.02 lists 9 examples of competence that can be used; our certificate and course meets #7 which states, Completing any firearms training or safety course or class, including an electronic, video, or on-line course, conducted by a state-certified or National Rifle Association-certified firearms instructor” .  After the students notified me and forwarded a copy of their rejection letter to me, I contacted John Frey and stated that our course meets the state requirement because in order to teach a Utah Concealed Carry course, the instructors had to be certified by the Utah Department of Public Safety Bureau of Criminal Identification. Not to mention that Fairfax County has accepted the same certificate more than 1,500 times in the last 2 years and that it seemed that this judge was trying to re define words in the state code. The clerk stated that it was implied that it must be a, “VA State Certified Instructor”, though in Section 18.2-308.02, it states under #3, “Completing any firearms safety or training course or class available to the general public offered by a law-enforcement agency, junior college, college, or private or public institution or organization or firearms training school utilizing instructors certified by the National Rifle Association or the Department of Criminal Justice Services”.  The issue here is the fact that in one of the accepted examples it states specifically and unequivocally that a course taught by a DCJS (a VA state certified instructor)  instructor meets the requirement and, in addition, a course taught by another certified instructor from another state, also meets the same requirement. By stating that it is implied that the instructor must be certified in VA is bending the code. You cannot “read into” nor add your own words. The code is the code. After a few back and forth emails with the clerk, the clerk stated that it was “not his” interpretation and that he would seek clarification with the Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. I also emailed the office of the Attorney General seeking an opinion letter from our esteemed AG.

In the meantime while I was waiting for the clerk to get back to me with the AG’s opinion, I asked the 7 students to take the documentation that I provided and re-submit back to the courts. 4 of the 7 were accepted and approved by the time that the AG letter was forwarded to me. The last 3 were accepted after the AG letter below.

See the pics of the opinion letter put out by AG Ken Cuccinelli to the Fairfax County Courts.

After the letter was received I sent the following email to the 7 folks that were rejected.

“Well, I have great news! (Most of you already have your permits now anyways) but still this is big. 

As requested John Frey, Circuit Court Clerk of Fairfax County wrote Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli to get an opinion on some of the issues that plagued your application submittal. John sent me an email with the attachment and a note that read, “I just received this today.  While it is guidance, it is not binding on the judges.  I will let you know what they decide.    John”

 

What John is forgetting is that most of you used the info that we supplied to you to counter the rejection and everyone that I am aware of received their permit after using the documentation that IDS and I supplied. So the attachment is just the icing on the cake, and makes the work that we do that much more gratifying.

 

As I believed he would, Ken responded with a well written letter to the Court with an excellent interpretation of the law the way it was written. This is in no way a twist, the law says what it says and must be interpreted as such. Please read the attached letter for a better understanding of the state code.

The big win here is the fact that I am sure the judge that rejected some of our alumni’s app’s knows the law but preferred to deter your right to Conceal and Carry legally with a permit. The judge that rejected your application is the same judge that rejected the others. However, no other judge in in any county or in Fairfax County has rejected apps and quoted an interpretation of the law the way the one did that processed your application. The hope is that with this letter in hand other judges will think twice before quoting similar reasons and rejecting applications in the future. 

People that do not understand the State Code have brought up this issue before but never took a stand like this judge did. Now that we have this opinion letter it will help pave the way from here on out for others that have similar issues.

 

Thank you for your diligence and I am sure this is good news for you all, though many of you have since received your permits since the original rejection.

 

**IF THE PICTURES DONT APPEAR ABOVE OF THE AG’s RESPONSE LETTER THEN JUST CLICK ON THEM TO VIEW FULL-SCREEN OR USE THE LINKS BELOW.

Page 1 – http://blog.innovativedefensivesolutions.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Cuccinelli-Response-Letter-Page-1.png

Page 2 – http://blog.innovativedefensivesolutions.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Cuccinelli-Response-Letter-Page-2.png

 

Regards,

Evan Carson

President and Chief Instructor

Innovative Defensive Solutions, llc “

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IDS focuses on teaching intuitive defensive handgun skills that lend themselves to efficiently handling a firearm in ways that are congruent with the body’s natural reactions under stress. This methodology allows us to better prepare our students for situations where drawing a firearm is a possibility.
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