King William County reduces cost of concealed handgun permits

Staff writer

King William County gun owners will save some money on concealed carry permits.

The county recently reduced its concealed handgun permit fee from $50 to $15 every five years. Permit holders now will pay $3 a year. Last year, King William County Sheriff Jeff Walton issued 453 permits.

King and Queen and New Kent residents pay $50 for a five-year permit.

Thomas Coffin, a member of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, called the county’s Board of Supervisors to advocate reducing the cost in April. The nonprofit is dedicated to protecting the Second Amendment.

“The idea is that concealed handgun permits, you shouldn’t need a permit in the first place. But if you’re going to do it, you shouldn't have to pay an arm and a leg,” said VCDL President Philip Van Cleave. “It shouldn’t be viewed as a tax, it should be something meant to cover the cost of doing the permit — $50 is way beyond their cost.”

Coffin contacted Board of Supervisor Chairman William Hodges about why the county still charges $35, which the state allows for a background investigation and fingerprinting by local law enforcement — which the county stopped doing in the past few months.

The new decrease in cost comes from removing those fees.

“It was really an amount that was assessed with the sheriff requesting background investigation and fingerprints, which they no longer do,” Hodges said.

County Administrator Bobbie Tassinari said the process for fingerprinting and background checks became more labor-intensive for the Sheriff’s Office than necessary.

“With technology today, there is no need for fingerprinting and background checks go through standardized databases,” Tassinari wrote in an email. “Since those costs are incurred as standard operational costs, now charging fees seems redundant.”

The Board of Supervisors did not have to take any action on the reduction in fees. The sheriff agreed to the new cost and the county administrator officially reduced the cost and notified the circuit court in writing.

Under Virginia law, the clerk may charge a $10 fee for processing a permit application, and state police may charge a fee up to $5 to cover costs associated with processing the application.

The total amount assessed for processing a concealed carry permit application cannot exceed $50.

Martin can be reached at (757)-243-3685, by email at sararose.martin@vagazette.com or on Twitter at @SaraRoseMartin.

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