By: Paula Walter
Congressman Phil Roe paid a visit to Mountain City last Tuesday to address a recent decision by Virginias Attorney General, Mark Herring, that would impact Tennesseans. After just a few minutes speaking with Roe, his concern to do what is right for his constituents and the thought he gives as to how he votes to represent Johnson County is very apparent.
In December, Herring announced that as of February 1, 2016, Virginia would not acknowledge concealed carry permits from 25 states, including Tennessee. Congressman Roe and Congressman Morgan Griffith of Virginia had previously addressed some of their constituents earlier in the day who showed up in Bristol, Virginia, regarding the impact of this decision on both Tennesseans and Virginians.
Tennessee requires those who apply for a concealed carry gun permit to be 21, go through a background check, be a United States citizen or be able to show lawful permanent residence. It also requires the applicant to participate in a gun safety class before a permit can be issued. According to Roe, Tennessees requirements are more stringent than Virginia, where the state allows a concealed permit carry course to be taken online. There are approximately 400,000 gun owners in Tennessee. Legal gun owners are not the problem, Roe stated in his visit to The Tomahawk after speaking with Johnson Countians.
Roe raised concerns about problems with reciprocity between the two states, citing Bristol as an example as State Street in Bristol hovers on both Tennessee and Virginia. On one side of the street carrying a handgun is permitted, and the other does not if you do not possess a Virginia carry permit. The Commonwealth of Virginia does recognize and honors permits from several states, including Utah, which offers permit online classes. According to Roe, more needs to be done for those who suffer from mental illness in the United States with regarding to gun ownership. There are people out there in need and in trouble who do not need a handgun, he stated.
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