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Friday, March 4, 2016

Virginia State Police Website Available Information and Equal Protection


Since December 2015 the Virginia State Police website home-page http://www.vsp.state.va.us/  has listed detailed information about the Concealed Handgun Permit Reciprocity and Recognition changes. Since then the VSP website has updated the page after an agreement was reached at the G.A. The information on the reciprocity wasn’t copied from Virginia Code in difficult to understand verbiage, each version has been in easily understandable terms. 

I was really surprised just how fast the State Police made this information available for citizens who were looking for it. 

Because for more than 6 years I have personally asked multiple contacts at the Virginia State Police to:
  1. List the entire Do’s and Don’t for our Registered Sex Offenders (based on Violent and Non-Violent and the year of their conviction) in easily understandable terms somewhere on their website.
  2. List when a new law that either restricts where our Registered Sex Offenders can/can’t be, who they can/can’t be with or what/when they must register before it goes into effect on July 1st somewhere on their website.
  3. Post each VSP Barracks location hours of operation, for RSO’s who need to register, re-register, update their photograph or change their information somewhere on their website.
  4. Post VSP Observed Holidays (especially since there are 2 4-day holiday weekends each year), for RSO’s who need to register, re-register, update their photograph or change their information somewhere on their website.
  5. Post the VSP Sex Offender Help Desk/Line (phone number), hours of operation and list of observed holidays somewhere on their website.
  6. Post the newly created (2015) VSP Sex Offender Brochure preferably in PDF form with the ability to print somewhere on their website.
  7. Post the SP-236 (information change) form and SP-236A (re-registration) form preferably in PDF form with the ability to print somewhere on their website.
  8. Post the Federal mandate and the link to the correct Federal forms for Virginia Registered Sex Offenders who plan to travel internationally and are required to submit the forms 21 days prior to travel, somewhere on the VSP website.
  9. Return the “Next Registration Due Date” (that used to exist) to every RSO’s posting so they will know when they are due to re-register next as it never repeats.
There are more than 22,000 RSO’s in Virginia right now plus they have parents, spouses and loved ones all who at some point each year are looking for this very important information to help the RSO avoid inadvertently committing a felony but none of it is posted on the VSP website. I’ve looked for the count of concealed carry permits in Virginia and have been unable to find it anywhere so I can not compare how many people actually need the information that the VSP has made readily available for the last 10+ weeks on their website. Maybe it’s more than 22,000 maybe it’s not. 

But it seems clear that the Virginia State Police can easily update their website when it comes to one issue and yet flat out ignore the need to assist our RSO’s remain compliant and avoid an arbitrary felony for a mandate that is supposed to be administrative even after multiple requests. 
 

If the VSP is going to post updates and create lists to help Virginians with guns abide by the ever changing law then they need to assist our RSO’s. After all the VSP is the official manager/owner of the Virginia Sex Offender Registry and is tasked with monitoring our RSO’s. 

The Virginia State Police website should not be allowed to be selective in assisting some citizens but not all citizens when it comes to knowing about changes in Virginia law, equal protection. 

Mary Devoy