Virginia Carry Laws


January 21, 2011, 03:44 PM
I will be moving to Virginia and I have been unable to locate the laws applying to carrying a loaded pistol within reach in my vehicle. If anyone can point me in the right direction or someone who is a resident and knows the laws help me out it will be greatly appreciated.

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January 21, 2011, 04:06 PM
I assume you've checked

Also here...

And here...

January 21, 2011, 04:09 PM
IANAL, but it's my understanding that without a CHP, you can keep your gun "secured in a container or compartment of the vehicle" (paraphrased). Glove box, console, shoe box, etc. is fine. Open carry is fine, so you can keep it on the dash or on the passenger seat. You can't, however, have it between those two things; under the seat but not in a container, for example, would not be legal.

Black Knight
January 21, 2011, 05:34 PM
Do you have a VA Non-Resident Permit or a permit from a state that VA honors? If so you can carry on your person while in your car. If you are waiting to get to VA to get a VA Resident permit il_10 is correct that it should be secured in a container or you could wear it openly. A website you want to research is the Virginia State Police website There you will be able to find the laws pretaining to concealed carry and you can get both the resident and non-resident application forms. Also you may take the concealed weapon course on-line and print the certificate. Welcome to the Ol' Dominion.

January 21, 2011, 11:01 PM
According to the VCDL (Virginia Citizen's Defense League) e-mail I received today currently Virginia CHP holders cannot carry in Mississippi as of right now (didn't go into detail, just stated it has something to do with reciprocity). Not sure what that means to you, but getting a VA CHP isn't too difficult in my portion of the state (take the class, get certificate, background check just like buying a gun, go to court clerk with paperwork, pay fee, wait 2 weeks and it'll show up in the mail).

By the way: Welcome to Virginia from South Central, Northern Southside, Eastern Southwest VA (Read properly as "Middle of Nowhere, VA")

January 21, 2011, 11:56 PM
sounds like i might as well get a concealed carry permit if it is that easy to obtain. i will be living in virginia beach.

January 21, 2011, 11:58 PM
is there a mag capacity law ?

January 22, 2011, 12:28 AM
is there a mag capacity law ?


Go here. ( Take CHP course online. Watch the video and complete the test at your convenience. Submit the certificate and other required information to the Clerk of Court (VA Beach courthouse is in the middle of absolute nowhere, by the way). Join the VCDL.

Do not live in Thalia Gardens Apartment complex or anywhere along Indian River road. Learn to enjoy traffic and poorly designed highway interchanges. The stretch of Hwy 264 between Norfolk and Va Bch is the roughest paved road I've ever been on. But trust me on the sunscreen.

January 22, 2011, 02:46 AM
Everything you want to know about VA firearms laws can be found here:

Click the Resident Concealed Handgun Permits link and you can download the application form and read the requirements. If you've ever taken any type of gun safety class, hunter safety class, military or law enforcement training, you've already satisfied the competency requirement. Otherwise, you'll have to take a gun safety class. Not a big deal.

Once you've satisfied the competency requirement, take proof of competency and the completed application to the local circuit court clerk's office along with a check for $50. Some localities will require that you be fingerprinted but most do not, just depends on where you live. Wait 45 days and then go pick up your CHP permit.

January 22, 2011, 02:31 PM
Here is a link to the Viginia code.

While we have state preemption there are still some 'gotchas' buried in the hunting regulations about loaded rifles in vehicles.

Unless you want to be the test case under the new law allowing 'secured' unlicensed concealment of a handgun in a car, keep it in the open or get a Concealed Handgun Permit.
Virginia's requirements are not very strict for getting the permit.

You will not find any laws restricting open carry of handguns, since we do not have any.

Open carry of handguns is legal in Virgina.

We have some restrictions on the open carrying of long guns though.

ALL Virginia lethal force law is case (common) law.

The Virgina Gun Owner's Guide is a good investment.

It discusses the applicable case law.

January 22, 2011, 03:59 PM
Welcome to Virginia. Virginia is a very gun-friendly state. I live in Newport News. My city is a relatively "liberal" city and it took me 29 days to get my CHP once I paid my fee and dropped off the application. Virginia is a "shall issue" state. As long as you pass the criminal background check and secure the requirements, the courts must issue you a CHP.

Virginia Beach is a nice city. Several good indoor ranges, and its not terribly difficult to find some outdoor property to shoot on.

January 22, 2011, 04:41 PM
Welcome, Chesapeake here. Real gun friendly, all the sources sited are good

January 22, 2011, 11:01 PM
is there a mag capacity law ?
Yes, actually, for open carry there is a mag capacity law. The cite can be found here:

It shall be unlawful for any person to carry a loaded (a) semi-automatic center-fire rifle or pistol that expels single or multiple projectiles by action of an explosion of a combustible material and is equipped at the time of the offense with a magazine that will hold more than 20 rounds of ammunition or designed by the manufacturer to accommodate a silencer or equipped with a folding stock or (b) shotgun with a magazine that will hold more than seven rounds of the longest ammunition for which it is chambered on or about his person on any public street, road, alley, sidewalk, public right-of-way, or in any public park or any other place of whatever nature that is open to the public in the Cities of Alexandria, Chesapeake, Fairfax, Falls Church, Newport News, Norfolk, Richmond, or Virginia Beach or in the Counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Henrico, Loudoun, or Prince William.

The provisions of this section shall not apply to law-enforcement officers, licensed security guards, military personnel in the performance of their lawful duties, or any person having a valid concealed handgun permit or to any person actually engaged in lawful hunting or lawful recreational shooting activities at an established shooting range or shooting contest. Any person violating the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

The exemptions set forth in 18.2-308 shall apply, mutatis mutandis, to the provisions of this section.

Since exceptions in 18.2-308 apply here, car carry in a container or compartment is still legal with a so-called "assault weapon;" concealed carry with a CHP is also legal. This may not affect you directly in your chosen carry system, but it's something to watch out for.

January 31, 2011, 07:29 AM
Here is a class that will answer all of your questions -

February 11, 2011, 11:23 AM
Can you carry a loaded pistol in a OC style while driving without a CCW?

February 11, 2011, 12:09 PM
Can you carry a loaded pistol in a OC style while driving without a CCW?

Just make sure it is plainly visible.

February 11, 2011, 02:18 PM
Just make sure it is plainly visible.
In Florida you can keep a loaded pistol (and rifle for that matter) in your car so long as it is "securely encased." ie, FL law defines that as a snap holster or a glove box.

You couldnt keep a loaded pistol in your glove box? (w/o ccw?)

February 11, 2011, 02:33 PM
Thank you very much.

February 11, 2011, 05:31 PM
Like I said earlier, without a CHP, you have the choice of OC, or carry secured in a container or compartment of the vehicle. The problem comes when you have a gun concealed, but not in a container or compartment of the vehicle. On your hip is fine. In a shoe box is fine. In the glove box is fine.
On your seat with a magazine over it, on the other hand, is not fine.

February 11, 2011, 06:15 PM
So its basically Fl's laws.
Thanks for clearing that up. Does it apply to rifles as well? My parents live in VA and I might be moving back up there soon.

EDIT: And you can OC w/o permit?
THATS different from Florida.

February 11, 2011, 09:47 PM
Be careful open carrying while driving, before i had my CHL i was pulled over carrying open on my hip and the officer said "Open means i need to be able to see it when i approach the vehicle, if not it still counts as concealed"

February 11, 2011, 09:55 PM
"Open means i need to be able to see it when i approach the vehicle, if not it still counts as concealed"

IANAL but I'm pretty sure this is wrong, there is no place, except the dashboard, where an officer could see a firearm on approach of the vehicle. The dashboard is not the place to store a firearm IMO.

IIRC there is a law involving loaded rifles in vehicles though.

February 11, 2011, 10:05 PM
I agree. Open carrying in a restaurant does not mean that you have to sit with the gun facing the room from your booth. The point of view of "open" doesn't matter, what matters is that it is not "hidden from common observation" (18.2-308).
Note that it does not say "hidden from common observation from one specific point of approach by one specific person." Look into the car from the right angle, you see it. Any other angle you don't. Along the same logic as the LEO who pulled you over, if a LEO was standing to my left and I had my gun on my right hip, I would be concealed carrying. This is obviously not the case.

February 11, 2011, 10:15 PM
I just finished my CCW class recently in Norfolk and the way it was explained to me is any long gun carried in a vehicle must be in "transport" mode, in a case, unloaded.

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