'Have Gun, Will Travel' if One Virginia Man’s Lawsuit Against Georgia is Successful

virginia-georgia-state-sealsMost law-abiding gun owners are familiar with the term “reciprocity,” which represents an agreement between two states to recognize concealed carry licenses from each other.  Each state sets its own conditions before entering into such an arrangement, but generally a state will require the other state to accept ALL licenses its issues before it will recognize theirs.

Therein lies the problem facing one Virginian who wants to take his concealed carry gun with him when he visits relatives in Georgia.

Robert Sadtler has a valid carry license issued by Virginia, but Georgia will not recognize it. Therefore, Sadtler cannot carry his gun for self-defense legally while in the Peach State. Sadtler was not going to simply accept that without putting up a fight, so he filed suit against the State of Georgia to force them to recognize licenses issued by Virginia.

The problem lies with Georgia’s “all or nothing” stance on recognizing licensing.  Georgia issues licenses to those 21 years of age or older, with an exception for honorably discharged veterans who have not reached 21 yet. Virginia issues permits only to those 21 or older.

Until recently, Virginia did not even recognize any Georgia carry licenses.  This year, however, the Commonwealth adopted a new law to honor every other states’ permits, but only for those who are 21 years of age or older, and not for those under 21, including those veterans in Georgia. A survey of probate judges that issue the carry licenses in Georgia indicates that fewer than 100 licenses have been issued to veterans falling into that category. But that small group is enough to prevent Georgia from reaching any kind of agreement with Virginia.

Since Virginia will not honor all licenses issued by Georgia, Georgia, in turn, has decided that it will not reciprocate and refuses to recognize any license issued by the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Regarding the pending lawsuit, a spokeswoman for Attorney General Chris Carr referred to the Georgia Code and said the office would have no other response. The law says, “any person licensed to carry a handgun or weapon in any other state whose laws recognize and give effect to a license issued pursuant to this part shall be authorized to carry a weapon in this state.”

Sadtler just wants to be treated the same as are residents from other states.

The whole issue may become moot if President-elect Donald Trump is successful in getting a national reciprocity law passed whereby all states must honor permits issued by any other state. — by Michael Wisdom, Senior Contributing Editor, Texas & U.S. Law Shield Blog

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