Virginia Gun Laws That You Need To Know in 2022
For anyone that intends to carry a firearm in Virginia, it is important that you understand the open carry and concealed carry laws in the state. If you want to stay out of legal trouble while using your gun freely, then this is the right place for you to gain more insights.
Virginia is a “Shall Issue” state which means it’s allowed to issue concealed carry permits to residents and non-residents. However, a set of requirements must be met and we will have a look at the requirements for the concealed carry permit in a short while.
Applications for the concealed carry permit are usually filed with the circuit court or mailed to the Virginia State Police if you do not reside in Virginia. Open carry is also legal in the state even without a permit, but the person carrying openly must have a minimum age of 18.
How Reciprocity Works in Virginia
With the presence of a reciprocity agreement in Virginia, the state is able to honor every valid concealed handgun permit from other states. Anyone that has a concealed carry permit from another state is allowed to carry a concealed handgun in the state as long as they meet the following criteria:
- Over 21 years of age.
- Carry a photo identification issued by a government agency of any state or the relevant departments.
- A permit must be shown along with the photo ID when requested by law enforcement.
- The person issued with the permit must never have his/her concealed carry permit in Virginia revoked in the past.
States that honor a Virginia concealed carry permit
Here are the states that honor a Virginia concealed weapon permit:
- Resident. Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
- Non-resident. Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
State CCW permits that Virginia honors
Here are states that Virginia honors:
- Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
- Districts & Territories. District of Columbia, New York City, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.
States that don’t honor a Virginia concealed carry permit
Here are the states that don’t honor a concealed carry permit from Virginia:
- California, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Washington.
You should note that Wisconsin will only honor the Virginia Non-Resident permits, while Virginia honors every Non-Resident permit from other states they honor.
Virginia Concealed Carry Permit
Even though Virginia is a state that operates on a “Shall Issue” policy, it doesn’t mean that everyone will be eligible for the permit. There are some requirements that you need to meet and it is also good for you to understand the process for applying for and renewing the permit or license to carry.
You should be aware that concealed carry permits in the state are issued to both residents and non-residents. The application forms can also be acquired online or picked up from Circuit Courts, Sheriff’s office, or the Police Department.
Concealed Handgun Permit Requirements
To obtain a concealed carry permit in the state, you need to meet the following requirements:
- You must be at least 21 years of age.
- You reside in the county where you are making your application.
- You must demonstrate competence with a handgun by submitting proof of completing an NRA firearms safety course, a hunter safety or hunter education course that has been approved by the relevant organization in another state, or any firearm training course available to the public from a college, firearms school, Department of Justice, Law enforcement agency or private or public institution with certified NRA instructors.
- You are not a person who is addicted to or is an unlawful user or distributor of, marijuana or any form of a controlled substance.
- You are not someone convicted of public drunkenness, or of a sufficiently similar offense under the laws of any other state, the District of Columbia, the United States, or its territories within the three-year period right after preceding the application, or someone known as a habitual drunkard.
- You are not a person who the court finds, by a prevalence of the evidence, based on specific acts demonstrated, has the tendency to use a weapon unlawfully or negligently to endanger others.
- You are not someone who was found guilty of assault and battery, sexual battery, discharging of a firearm, or brandishing a firearm within a period of three years right after the application.
- You are not someone with a past stalking conviction.
- You are not a person with previous convictions or adjudications of delinquency that were based on an offense that would have been at the time of conviction a felony if committed by an adult under the laws of any state, the District of Columbia, the United States or the territories of the United States.
- You are not someone who has received mental health treatment or substance abuse treatment in a residential setting within a five-year period before the application date for the concealed handgun permit.
Concealed Handgun Permit Application and Renewal
Here are the steps that you can follow to get a concealed carry permit:
- Complete the necessary firearms training course.
- Download the application form online or pick it up from the Circuit Court or Sheriff’s office.
- Prepare a photocopy of a certificate of completion of the training that you went through.
- File the application in person or by mail with the clerk of the circuit court of the county or city in which the applicant resides.
- You will receive a notification by mail within 45 days of your application to inform you of whether it has been approved or denied.
For applicants who are not staying in the state, you can complete the application by mail.
You can get an application package from the police of the state by emailing them at email@example.com or writing to them at Firearms Transaction Center, Nonresident Concealed Handgun Permits, Criminal Justice Information Services Division, Department of State Police, P.O. Box 85141, Richmond, VA 23285-5141.
As for renewing your concealed carry permit, here is some information that you might find helpful:
- Notification by mail will be sent 90 days before the permit expires.
- You are allowed to submit a renewal application up to 180 days after the permits expiry date.
- You are required to include a photocopy of your state-issued photo ID.
- Applications for renewing your permit can be filed by mail.
The fees for application and renewal vary between counties, but the maximum that you will be charged for application is $50 for a Virginia resident permit and $100 for a non-resident concealed carry permit.
As for the renewal, it will be $50 for both. You should take note that a fee of $10.00 is charged for the processing of an application or issuing of a license.
Penalties For Carrying a Concealed Weapon Without a Permit
The penalty in this instance is that you will be charged with possession of a concealed weapon, which is a Class 1 misdemeanor under some circumstances, and may face more serious charges under other situations. Besides a Class 1 misdemeanor charge, you might also be charged with the crime of illegal possession of a concealed weapon.
Places Off-Limits for CCW
- Any courthouse in the state.
- A private property where the owner of the property prohibits the possession of a weapon by posting a sign.
- Any school property, including a school bus owned by a school, or school-sponsored functions prohibits you to open carry or conceal carry.
- Any place of religious worship while a meeting for religious purposes is ongoing.
- Non-secure areas of airport terminals.
- A local or regional jail, including a juvenile detention facility.
- Anywhere that’s prohibited by federal law to carry a firearm.
Places That Allow CCW
While the concealed carry laws don’t allow carrying concealed weapons in some areas, there are still places in the state where you can open carry or carry weapons that are concealed. Here are the places that you should take note of:
- State parks
- State and national forests
- Rest areas at the side of the road
- In a vehicle
- Everywhere else that isn’t restricted
Handgun Laws To Know
Besides the information provided above, there are also some other gun laws that you should be aware of. Understanding the concealed carry laws might be enough for some people, but it is still helpful to know the relevant gun laws in the state.
Carrying in a vehicle is allowed in a personal, locked private motor vehicle or vessel and such a handgun must be kept secured in a container or compartment in the vehicle or vessel.
The “compartment” mentioned in the law includes a console, glove compartment, or any other area inside or on the vehicle or vessel that possesses the characteristic of being closed. As for the term “secured”, the law refers to it as a closed container or compartment, but not necessarily locked.
Private Gun Sales
The private sales of guns in the state are legal even without background checks. What’s required instead is that both the seller and buyer are residents of the state in which the sale happens. As for private sales at gun shows, doing a background check will be entirely voluntary. There will be officers at the gun show that does the check for a fee of $2.
The state’s preemption statutes enable local authorities to make regulations to control weapons in the following ways:
- Banning the firing of guns in crowded areas.
- Limited bans are allowed for guns on highways.
- Hunting can be restricted within half a mile of a crowded area.
- Hunting can be restricted within 100 yards of a highway.
- Hunting or shooting can be restricted within 100 yards of any property of a school, county, city, town, or regional park.
- Hunting with any weapon that is larger than a .22 caliber can be banned.
- Loaded rifles or shotguns can be banned in a vehicle that’s traveling on a public street, road, or highway.
- Regulating the storage and possession of firearms at any childcare center.
Castle Doctrine Law
The castle doctrine law, also known as the “stand your ground” law is one of the self-defense laws which are limited to a persons home. What this law ensures is that you will not be obligated to retreat and you can defend yourself at any location you are legally permitted to be.
The use of deadly force is allowed, but only under immediate threat and you are afraid that you or other persons will be killed or grievously wounded.
However, this law will not apply to persons who made rude gestures to others or imposed threats on others. So if you are the party that caused the problem, you have a duty to retreat.
Now that you are aware of the important state laws regarding a concealed weapon as well as open carry, we believe that you can keep yourself out of legal trouble. If you are in legal trouble, be sure to seek professional help from an attorney.
Is there a duty to inform in Virginia?
No. You have no official duties to inform a law enforcement officer that you are carrying a lawfully possessed firearm. However, you are required to have your Virginia permit with you at all times and provide it to the officer upon demand.
Hello there, it’s Michael here. A gun lover since young, served the country for the last 20 years. I started the blog to share my experience and gun-related knowledge accumulated throughout the years. Hopefully, you will find something useful over here or just have fun! You can learn more about me here.