When it comes to Virginia Concealed Handgun Permits, Virginia is a “shall issue” state. “Shall issue” refers to the fact that a judge is required to issue a permit unless the person is disqualified. To receive a Virginia CHP, you are not required to show that you “need” a permit. You do not need to show that you “deserve” a permit. You do not need to show that you have a “good and sufficient reason” to have the permit.
A person is either qualified or they are not.
Fortunately, the disqualifications that can stop you from getting a CHP in Virginia are fairly straightforward. Virginia Code § 18.2-308.09 contains all of the potential disqualifiers. The vast majority of those disqualifiers are “yes” or “no” conditions that do not involve any judgment or interpretation. For example, if a person has been convicted of misdemeanor DUI, they are disqualified from receiving a permit for the next three years. There should be no difficulty in determining whether the person was convicted of a DUI. Nor should there be any difficulty in determining whether the conviction occurred within the last three years. Plain and simple.
Yes, there are some potential disqualifications that allow a judge to exercise a small bit of discretion, but those situations are not yet too common.
Even though the disqualifications for a Virginia CHP are very clear, occasionally people are wrongfully denied a permit. That’s where I come in.
If your Virginia Concealed Handgun Permit application was denied, call the office immediately!!! We only have 21 days to file the necessary paperwork to challenge the denial. The clock starts running on the day the judge signed the paperwork, so at least a few days were lost in the mail. Seriously, call immediately.
Keep reading if you are not sure you need the help of an attorney. Regardless, the consultation is free, so you have nothing to lose.
When the police department or Sherriff’s Office runs the criminal records check, sometimes the record is wrong or unclear. Sometimes it may not be clear whether a person was convicted or whether the charge was dismissed. It may appear that the person had two criminal charges when they actually only had one charge. Sometimes the record may show an original charge, but it may not show the amended or reduced charge. Occasionally there is a legitimate case of mistaken identity where the criminal record is just simply wrong.
Depending on the specific circumstances, any of these could cause a judge to deny a CHP application.
If you had a criminal charge in another state, you are at an increased risk that the criminal record might be incomplete. This is particularly true if the original charge was serious (e.g., a felony) and the charge was eventually reduced or dismissed (e.g., deferred adjudication or similar). In these situations, rightly or wrongly, a judge may be more inclined to deny your CHP application “just to be safe.”
While I strongly disagree that “just to be safe” is a reason to deny the application, it happens nonetheless.
If you had your gun rights restored after a felony, you may be at an increased risk of being wrongfully denied. The vast majority of judges have no difficulty in understanding that someone is eligible for a CHP after a gun rights restoration.
Unfortunately, there are a number of judges that deny CHP applications after a felony restoration. These judges justify their decisions with, quite frankly, an extremely dubious interpretation of the law. In my opinion, the law is abundantly clear, and theses judges are simply wrong. All the same, these situations highlight the importance of having an experienced gun rights attorney to handle your case.
As a whole, these situations are rare. The vast majority of judges follow the law and do so consistently. Unfortunately, over the past two years or so I have seen an increase in the number of wrongful denials based on flimsy justifications.
Some of these situations are like the felony restorations mentioned above.
Some of these denials are “borderline” applications, where a disqualification expired right before the application was submitted. It seems as though everyone conveniently forgot to check the actual dates on the prior disqualification.
A number of these denials are through a very aggressive application of Subsection 13 of the disqualification statute. Subsection 13 of Code § 18.2-308.09 is one of the only disqualifications where a judge is allowed to determine whether someone would “use a weapon unlawfully or negligently to endanger others.” There are very specific requirements that must be met in order for Subsection 13 to apply. Unfortunately, some judges “blur the lines” on these requirements and use subsection 13 to justify a denial.
I hear this all the time. Someone calls the office and says, “Do I really need an attorney? This seems like I should just be able to go in there and explain it to the judge. It shouldn’t be that complicated, right?”
This is the answer… You are right! It shouldn’t be that complicated. You should be able to explain it to the judge. But here’s the thing. The judge already made at least one bad decision on your application! Your application shouldn’t have been denied in the first place! It should have been simple enough for it to be granted the first time. What makes you think that the judge will miraculously make the right decision when you state the obvious in court?
So yes, you need an attorney. Your ability to carry a firearm for effective self-defense and the defense of your family is important. It is important enough to make sure you handle this the right way. It is too important to take any chances.
I can help you fight this battle. This is what I do. Call the office so we can get started today.
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