The open carrying of a handgun in Virginia is lawful.
The carrying of any concealed firearm by a person about his person, hidden from common observation, is prohibited. READ ALL
Exceptions to this prohibition include:
- carrying in one’s place of abode or the curtilage thereof.
- carrying a loaded handgun by persons who may lawfully possess such gun, inside an unlocked vehicle compartment or container, within reach of a driver or passenger who does not possess a concealed weapons permit.
- any regularly enrolled member of a target shooting organization who is at, or going to or from, an established shooting range, provided that the weapons are unloaded and securely wrapped while being transported.
- any regularly enrolled member of a weapons collection organization who is at, or going to or from, a bonafide weapons exhibition, provided the weapons are unloaded and securely wrapped while being transported.
- any person carrying such weapons between his place of abode and a place of purchase or repair, provided the weapons are unloaded and securely wrapped while being transported.
- any person actually engaged in lawful hunting under inclement weather conditions necessitating temporary protection of his firearm.
- a retired law-enforcement officer who receives proof of consultation and favorable review is authorized to carry a concealed handgun in the same manner as a law-enforcement officer authorized to carry a concealed handgun.
- any of the following retired officers with 20 years of service or more; any State Police officer retired from the Department of State Police, any officer retired from the Division of Capitol Police, any local law-enforcement officer, any auxiliary police officer or animal control officer retired from a police department or sheriff's office within the Commonwealth, any special agent retired from the State Corporation Commission or the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, any conservation police officer retired from the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, and any Virginia Marine Police officer retired from the Law Enforcement Division of the Virginia Marine Resources Commission. All such persons must carry written proof of consultation with and favorable review of the need to carry a concealed handgun issued by the chief officer of the agency from which he/she resigned.
A 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 the applicant resides for a permit to carry a concealed handgun. A member of the united states armed forces may apply to the city or county of which they are domiciled. The application shall be made under oath, before a notary or other person qualified to take oaths, and shall be made on a form prescribed by the Supreme Court, requiring only that information necessary to determine eligibility for the permit. No information or documentation other than that which is allowed on the application in accordance with law may be requested or required by the clerk or the court. State law now allows for delivery of the application to the court via U.S. Mail.
A clerk of court shall withhold from public disclosure, the applicant's name and any other information, contained in a permit application, or any order issuing a concealed handgun permit, except that such information shall not be withheld from any law enforcement officer acting in the performance of his official duties. The fee shall not exceed $50. The court shall issue the permit within 45 days of receipt of the completed application unless it appears that the applicant is disqualified. A court may authorize the clerk to issue concealed handgun permits, without judicial review, to applicants who have submitted complete applications, for whom the criminal history records check does not indicate a disqualification and, after consulting with either the sheriff or police department of the county or city, about which there are no outstanding questions or issues concerning the application.
The court clerk shall be immune from suit arising from any acts or omissions relating to the issuance of concealed handgun permits without judicial review unless the clerk was grossly negligent or engaged in willful misconduct. This shall not be construed to limit, withdraw, or overturn any defense or immunity already existing in statutory or common law, or to affect any cause of action accruing prior to July 1, 2010.
The copy of a concealed handgun permit application becomes a de facto permit if the court does not grant or deny the permit within a 45-day period of the receipt of the application. If the court has not issued the permit or determined that the applicant is disqualified within 45 days of the date of receipt noted on the application, the clerk shall certify on the application that the 45-day period has expired, and mail or send via electronic mail a copy of the certified application to the applicant within five business days of the expiration of the 45-day period. Once the court grants or denies the application, the person either surrenders the de facto permit to the court or the person will be issued a concealed handgun permit.
A disqualified person includes:
- one who is ineligible to purchase, transport, or possess a firearm;
- a person who it is alleged, in a sworn written statement submitted to the court, that in the opinion of such sheriff, chief of police or attorney for the Commonwealth, is likely to use a weapon unlawfully or negligently to endanger others based upon personal knowledge or upon the sworn written statement of a competent person having personal knowledge;
- a habitual drunkard or an addict or unlawful user of a controlled substance;
- an individual that has been dishonorably discharged from the U.S. armed forces;
- an illegal alien;
- a person who, in the preceding three years, has been convicted of drunkenness or a violent misdemeanor; or
- a person who within the preceding 5 years was involuntarily committed.
The court may require proof that the applicant has demonstrated competence with a handgun. Proof includes;
- completion of a firearm training course offered by the NRA, the state, or a school;
- participation in an organized shooting competition or military service, or any governmental police agency firearms course; or
- previously having held a firearm carrying license.
The permit shall contain the name, address, date of birth, gender, height, weight, color of hair, eyes, and signature of the permittee and judge issuing the permit, and the date it was issued. Permits shall be valid for 5 years. Persons who previously have been issued a concealed handgun permit shall not be required to appear in person to apply for a new five-year permit and the application for the new permit may be submitted via the United States mail.
The clerk of a circuit court that issued a valid concealed handgun permit shall, upon presentation of the valid permit and proof of a new address of residence by the permit holder, issue a replacement permit specifying the permit holder's new address. The clerk and the State Police may charge combined fees of up to $10 for the replacement permit.
The person issued the permit shall have such permit on his person at all times when he is carrying a concealed handgun and must display the permit and proper photo identification upon demand by a law enforcement officer.
The specific reasons for a denial shall be stated in the order of the court. Upon denial of the application, the clerk shall provide the person with notice, in writing, of his right to an oral hearing. Upon request of the applicant made within 21 days, the court shall place the matter on the docket for an oral hearing. The applicant may be represented by counsel, but counsel shall not be appointed, and the rules of evidence shall apply. The final order of the court shall include the court's findings of fact and conclusions of law.
Any person denied a permit may present a petition for review to the Court of Appeals. The petition for review shall be filed within sixty days of the expiration of the time for requesting a hearing, or if a hearing is requested, within sixty days of the entry of the final order of the circuit court following the hearing. If the decision to deny the permit is reversed upon appeal, taxable costs incurred by the person shall be paid by the Commonwealth.
It is unlawful to carry any firearm at any time in any elementary, junior high, or high school, or on such school property or discharge a firearm on school grounds or within 1,000 feet of school property, except as part of the curriculum or other school-sponsored program of any organization permitted by the school. Firearms may be possessed in a vehicle if unloaded and locked in a closed container or vehicle trunk.
Any person with a concealed handgun permit may carry a concealed handgun onto school property while in a vehicle to drop off or pick up a child, only if the permit holder remains in the vehicle with the handgun completely concealed.
No person who carries a concealed handgun onto the premises of any restaurant or club for which a license to sell and serve alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption has been granted by the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, may consume an alcoholic beverage while on the premises.
It is unlawful to carry any firearm without good and sufficient reason to a place of worship while a religious meeting is being held.
A valid concealed handgun permit or license issued by another state shall be valid in the Commonwealth if the person is at least 21 years of age, the issuing state can provide verification and that states law are adequate to prevent issuance of a permit by persons who would be prohibited in Virginia. The Superintendent of State Police, in consultation with the Office of the Attorney General, may also enter into agreements for reciprocal recognition with any state qualifying for recognition under Virginia law.
A non-resident 21 years of age or older may obtain a non-resident license by applying to the Virginia State Police, successfully meeting the requirements for resident applications and by submitting fingerprints.
The clerk of a circuit court that issued a valid concealed handgun permit shall, upon submission of a notarized statement by the permit holder that the permit was lost or destroyed, issue a replacement permit. The replacement permit shall have the same expiration date as the permit that was lost or destroyed. The clerk shall issue the replacement permit within 10 business days of receiving the notarized statement, and may charge a fee not to exceed $5.00.
Any licensee who does not have the permit on his/her person at the time of questioning by law enforcement, may ask a court to waives the $25 penalty if the permittee can display a valid license.HIDE