Covington VA –-(Ammoland.com)- The Petersburg Circuit Court Clerk, Shalva J. Braxton, is refusing to do her job.
She is not following Virginia law when issuing CHPs, so VCDL is petitioning the Virginia Supreme Court to issue a Writ of Mandamus against Ms. Braxton!
(A Writ of Mandamus is where the Supreme Court orders a government official to do their job in cases where the official has no discretion under Virginia law.)
This all started when VCDL was notified by member Michael McNeill that Ms. Braxton's office was requiring CHP applicants to take a check for $35 and their application to the Petersburg Police Department. Then, when the background check was completed, the applicant was to go to Ms. Braxton's office and give her a check for $15. On top of that violation of law, renewals through the mail were not allowed by Ms. Braxton.
The law is clear: only one check is to be provided and it is to be given to the Clerk or an agent of the Clerk. It is also clear that a CHP holder can renew their application through the mail.
I left a voicemail for Ms. Braxton to call me about this, but nothing. I then emailed her and told her that she needs to fix the above problems or we would get a Writ of Mandamus issued against her. She then responded with an email, saying she reads the code differently than we do. I believe she is misreading the law, but WILLFULLY.
I sent her another email, where I gave her just the part of 18.2-308 that she needed to read to understand her job. I asked her to respond and let me know if she was going to fix her procedures to follow the law.
- I never heard back from her!
- I resent the email.
Board member Dale Welch went down to the Clerk's office with Michael to see if he could help fix the problem. It ended up being a total waste of time, with nothing accomplished.
So I then contacted Michael McNeill and told him that VCDL would cover the expenses of the petition if he would be the plaintiff. Michael agreed and Ms. Braxton was served papers last week and the Supreme Court should have its copy of the paperwork by now.
We expect the Supreme Court to agree with VCDL and to order Ms. Braxton to follow the law. I will advise as this case progresses.
Here is part of the email that I sent to Ms. Braxton:
“Below are the key parts of the 18.2-308 D code section that indicate your procedures are incorrect. I have chopped out the irrelevant wording and put in an ellipse for such wording. That makes the intent of the law much clearer:
§ 18.2-308 D. Any person 21 years of age or older may apply in writing to the CLERK of the circuit court of the county or city in which he resides … for a five-year permit to carry a concealed handgun. … The COURT shall consult with either the sheriff or police department of the county or city and receive a report from the Central Criminal Records Exchange. … An application is deemed complete when all information REQUIRED to be furnished by the applicant is delivered to and received by the CLERK of court…
Section I also has importance for renewals:
§ 18.2-308 I. …Persons who previously have been issued a concealed handgun permit pursuant to subsection D shall NOT be required to appear in person to apply for a new five-year permit pursuant to this subsection, and the application for the new permit MAY be submitted via the United States mail. The CIRCUIT COURT THAT RECEIVES THE APPLICATION shall promptly notify an applicant if the application is incomplete or if the fee submitted for the permit pursuant to subsection K is incorrect.
Section K covers that only one fee is to be paid:
§ 18.2-308 K. … The total amount assessed for processing an application for a permit shall not exceed $50, with such fees to be paid in ONE sum to the person who receives the application…”
Our attorney has also requested all of our legal fees be reimbursed by the Court, as is allowed under Virginia's firearms preemption statute 15.2-915.
Virginia Citizens Defense League, Inc. (VCDL). VCDL is an all-volunteer, non-partisan grassroots organization dedicated to defending the human rights of all Virginians. The Right to Keep and Bear Arms is a fundamental human right. Visit: www.vcdl.org