Fairfax County gun owners should be aware that the Circuit Court clerk’s office may treat concealed carry permit applications as incomplete, and forward them to a judge for review, based on disclosure of pending criminal charges.
While some pending charges—such as any felony, or assault, battery, unlawful discharge or brandishing of a firearm, or stalking—can be the basis for denial of a permit, most misdemeanors are not.
People whose applications are denied in this situation can either wait until their pending charge is resolved, or challenge the denial in an ore tenus (“word of mouth”) hearing in circuit court.
The clerk’s office also requires applicants challenging their denials to notify the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office. However, this is not required by the permit statute, and under an unpublished opinion from the Virginia Court of Appeals, the Commonwealth’s Attorney has no authority to represent the Commonwealth in these cases.
UPDATE: By way of clarification, a case I just handled on this issue involved a pending misdemeanor charge (driving under the influence) that would disqualify the applicant from getting a permit if—and only if—a conviction occurs. But since there may never be a conviction, or it might happen months in the future, the way the county handles the situation would deprive the applicant of the ability to carry a firearm legally in the meantime.
I’d be very interested to hear from anyone who’s seen this happen in other cases—whether in Fairfax, or anywhere else.