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Moving to N. VA: Seeking Advice

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by JJNA, Mar 30, 2005.

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  1. JJNA

    JJNA Member

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    I will be moving to northern VA this summer from Seattle, WA.

    Could someone kindly provide some pointers related to shooting/gun matters in northern VA?

    For example, is the NRA range a good place to shoot pistols and rifles? What and who are some of the better local gun shops and gunsmiths?

    I have been spoiled by the CCP system in WA (background check only; no proficiency requirement; can carry at restaurants that serve alcohol so long as not a "bar"). I understand that VA requires some sort of "training" for CCP and bars carrying even at restaurants if the latter serve alcohol. Is this true?

    As a side matter, I am also looking for a gun-friendly red town/county in the area. What's the skinny on areas like Chantilly, Falls Church, Great Falls, McLean and Wolf Trap? Is it better to be out of Fairfax County and live somewhere in, say, Loudoun County?

    Thanks ahead for any advice.
     
  2. mtnbkr

    mtnbkr Member

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    The NRA range is a good place for rifles and handguns as long as 50yds is long enough for you. It has been very crowded lately though. If you need a longer range, there's Clark Bros out in Warrenton. For shotgun games, check out Bull Run Shooting Center in Centreville. It's part of the Fairfax Co park system. If you have the cash, a membership at Fairfax Rod and Gun club would be nice. Lots of ranges for all sorts of shooting, but it'll cost you.

    CHL in Va is easy. Yes, you have a training requirement, but it only requires a safety class, no proficiency proof required. Heck, even your hunter safety class qualifies.

    Carry is legal in bars and alcohol serving restaurants if you open carry. Concealed carry is legal in restaraunts that don't serve alcohol.

    Chantilly, Falls Church, Great Falls, McLean and Wolf Trap are all "blue" cities. You need to get further west or south to get into red areas. Fairfax is "blue" as well. Parts of Loudoun are less blue, but still more blue than places like Prince William and Faquier counties. Don't let it bother you though. Blue in Va is still more conservative than places like DC, MD, California, and Massachussets.

    Chris
     
  3. countertop

    countertop Member

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    First, feel free to email me for more specific info.
    I'll try to your questions one by one.

    Yes, the NRA Range is without a doubt the premier indoor firearms range in the country. It is gorgeous - but as you can read on this board (look under Rally POint - or whatever its called - for the posts on the NoVA Shoot) the wait has become unbearable in recent months. Its mostly the result of allowing anyone to use it instead of just NRA members.

    You can shoot any pistol caliber there and pretty much any rifle chambering short of 50 BMG. Its a 50 yard indoor range.

    There are a couple of other ranges here - but none compares to the NRA. There are at least 2 Izaac Walton chapters and there is Fairfax Rod and Gun club. Those are all somewhat expensive and have sigificant waits associated with membership. You can also join the range at Quantico - its easier if your a vet or in the military - but they occaisionally have openings for the general public too.
    There is also Blue Ridge Arsenal - but I don't like to shoot there and it doesn't accept rifle calibers.

    As for gun shops - Potomac Arms in Alexandria has an excellent selection of used and historic firearms. Blue Ridge Arsenal is the only dealer in Fairfax know that Galyans is gone. Their selection is limited (though they claim it will improve) and their prices are very high.

    For your money, the best bet is probably Virginia Arms in Manasas or Guns and Ammo Warehouse also in Manasas. You can also try Shooters Paradise in Springfield and Dawson's Small Arms of the World. There are a number of Pawn shops too, and some other smaller gun shops, but these are the best to start with (IMHO).

    If you want to go a bit further - you can try the Range in Stafford (they sell guns and have a handgun shooting range - they also rent MP5s) and Gander Mountain in Fredersickburg/Spotsylvania.
    The smith at Virginia Arms is supposed to be great.

    Carrying in Virgina is about as easy as it gets.

    First, you can open carry at any time.

    If you want a permit - and I suggest you get one - then you are required to show training - but almost anything qualifies . . . . there isn't a set course you need to take. Most of the CCW courses you see are just NRA Basic Pistol with some additional info on the law of carrying. If your retired military or police or active duty you don't need the course and there are a bunch of other exemptions too.

    Once your application is in, it should be less than 90 days, though in some places (Arlington, Alexandria) they will probably hold it for 90 days - if not more - just to harass you.

    As far as resataruants/bars - you can carry there - but it has to be open. This usually isn't a problem.

    Where are you working? What is your budget?
    If your working in DC, you want to be closer in, but your gonna pay a whole heck of a lot more - Over $900K in Great Falls/McLean at a minimum - my townhouse in Mclean is in the cheapest townhouse development here and they are now going for over $650K if you can find one on the market (I paid under $230 for mine :) )

    I believe as of last weekend there were 6 homes/townhomes listed on this end of Fairfax under $750 - and most of them aren't fit for habitation but instead are being sold as knockdowns.

    Falls Church (City of) is almost as expensive as McLean, but if you live in Falls Church (Fairfax County) its significantly less (but then you deal with lots of imigrants, gangs, bad schools, etc). Not sure about Chantilly. Wolf Trap is basically Vienna. I like it, but its also expensive.

    Let me know what your thinking or email me more info. My wife works for Long and Foster (she's not a realtor) and I can get you much more detailed info on the local markets (as well as steer you to good realtors.

    As far as Loudon vs Fairfax - it again depends on where you are working, how much you want to pay, how much overdevelopment and runaway development you want (Fairfax County - especially McLean - is experiencing infill development now, but has been developed for a longer period of time ie: trees, better traffic flow, established neighborhoods, stable real estate prices. Loudon hasn't and is really a prime example of the race to the bottom in real estate development - now that the county has lost its court case on holding back developers, things are going to be even worse.

    Like I said, email me and we can talk in more detail.
     
  4. mtnbkr

    mtnbkr Member

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    Oh yeah, property values are insane now. If you want something less than $300k that isn't a dump, be prepared to move west of Manassas or south of Stafford. Quite a few people commute from West Va.

    Countertop, if I were sitting on that much equity, I wouldn't live in NoVa for long. Heck, I have almost $150k in equity myself, all from property values going up, up, up.

    Chris
     
  5. countertop

    countertop Member

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    Yep! I agree - thats why I am activly seeking employment elsewhere :D

    Actually though, I sort of dig living here - and I can't really do my job elsewhere (and I am nauseus at the thought of going back into law practice). Plus, when they finally get around to building the Silver line on the metro - the first stop from West Falls Church will be less than 1/4 mile from my door - and I figure I'll get another $100k out of that, at least.

    If you know anyone in Atlanta who wants to hire an environmental attorney let me know.
     
  6. marley

    marley Member

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    The time to get a permit is only 45 days. It used to be 90 days. I live in Richmond and I say that anywhere north of the Rappahnnock is a blue area. Va is a nice place and we need to take back the north of VA. So come on down. Patrick
     
  7. TinCup

    TinCup Member

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    Quote:
    "Once your application is in, it should be less than 90 days, though in some places (Arlington, Alexandria) they will probably hold it for 90 days - if not more - just to harass you."

    According to VA law, the local court has 45 days to take action on your CHP application or they must return your "stamped" CHP application, which in turn becomes your temporary permit good for 90 days.

    I would suggest that you check out www.packing.org for the rundown on concealed carry in VA. Also you might want to look into joining the Virginia Citizens Defense League, which is the premier gun rights organization in VA. Check them out at: www.vcdl.org

    The only other tips I can give you about moving to NoVA is to bring lots of money and a thick tolerance for liberal BS.
     
  8. KONY

    KONY Member

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    Actually, there's also Americans Guns in Fairfax on Lee Highway. However, the folks that work there are "interesting". :uhoh:
     
  9. countertop

    countertop Member

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    Never actually went inside I heard a couple of weeks ago that they went under (It might have been in the VCDL newsletter). From what I recall, they were having problems getting insurance.
     
  10. mtnbkr

    mtnbkr Member

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    The best shops in the area, IMO are: Virginia Arms in Manassas, Guns and Ammo Warehouse in Manassas, and Loudoun Guns in Leesburg. Potomac Arms is ok, but have been declining in recent years. I won't bother with Blue Ridge Arsenal.

    If you don't mind driving, there's a Cabelas just under 4hours from here. Worth the drive if you have a free Saturday. There's also Gander Mtn in Fredericksburg (less than 1 hr) and Bass Pro Shop in Hampton (3hrs).

    Maybe a THR roadtrip to Cabelas is in order... :D

    Chris
     
  11. KONY

    KONY Member

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    Wow, did not know that. I never like to see a shop close, even bad ones (just goofy like that, I guess). I was in there not too long ago. I remember because I was looking at a P-11 and the guys were talking about the machete incident in Merrifield. Then, one gentleman made a pretty crude remark (won't repeat). Still, I would rather someone have bought the place out than see it closed down. :(
     
  12. JJNA

    JJNA Member

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    Thank You All for Advice

    Hmmm. Much of what I read jibes with my research.

    My problem is that I am an epicurean misanthrope. In other words, I don't like people, but like food. Unfortunately, food is generally where people are. There must... MUST be a decent Thai restaurant nearby. A good gun range must also be within 1 hour of driving.
    Folks, I am coming from Seattle, as in Berkeley on Puget Sound. At least VA is a red state.

    Proximity to DC is nice, but something near Fairfax would be more helpful.
    Fall Church has gangs?

    I thought the numbers for it looked pretty good:http://www.city-data.com/city/Falls-Church-Virginia.html

    Didn't seem like gang kind of city at all... Hmmm...

    What's northwest of Great Falls? Anything there?
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2005
  13. XLMiguel

    XLMiguel Member

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    Yeah, Falls Church has gangs. We is a melting pot, so we have a little of everything, mostly Asian and Hispanic (including MS 13), some black, a few skinheads (pretty rare), and never underestimate the stupidity of snotty, over-privelidged white kids, either (though they aren't really 'gangs'). WE have a few problems, but it shore ain't DC or PG county.

    Ffx Co police have a fairly active anti-gang thing going on, but you know how it is with cockroaches. Most of Falls Church is fairly affluent, though not like Great Falls, parts of Vienna, or McLean. There are pockets of 'affordable' housing here and there, but it takes a smart realtor to find them.

    There are plenty of good restraunts here (including Thai), more in DC, and all kinds of ethinic markets if you like to cook. Don't worry about your 'social proclivities', we have no shortage of socially arrested, proctologically-challenged people here, no one will really notice if all you do is keep to yourself.

    Northwest of Great Falls is Leesburg/Loudoun County, I've been doing a little consulting with their Dept of Econ Development, might be able to hook you up with a data spource. PM or e-mail me if you'd like to chat, I have free LD on my cell. I worked for Boeing [Computer Services] for 10 years locally, was in/out of Seatle a lot, so I might be able to compare & contrast. This is an interesting place to live, lots to offer, but like Seattle, has it's annoyances, too (Chesapeake Blue Crabs are fine eating, but nothing like Dungeness -).
     
  14. crucible

    crucible Member

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    Loudoun County is nice (I live there), but it is the fastest growing country in the US (!), with all the good and bad that kind of thing can entail. Western Loudoun is very much still a country atmosphere; eastern is suburbia.

    Falls Church has some decent.nice areas, but those generally are pretty doggone expensive (as is anything the closer it gets to DC proper.) Much of the remainder of Falls Church/Arlington is a haven for immigrants-legal and otherwise due to the proximity for lower cost (a very reletive term in this area) old apartment dwellings built just after WWII. My former wife taught school at one of the better known high schools there for awhile and in her class of 30 kids, 90% were ESL immigrants. Gang problems were pretty bad to be sure. (And before someone throws the racist card, that is simply a description of reality-nothing more. I welcome all legal immigrants, and am not in the slightest racist). Falls Church government types are quickly becoming the Poeple's Republic of Falls Church in their attempts by thier city manager to circumvent Va. state laws on gun possession and carrying trying to create a defacto illegal gun ban last September. www.vcdl.org

    +1 Absa-friggen-lutely.

    The entire Great Falls area is probably the weathiest area in the entire DC metro area-and the houses reflect that. Unless you're made of money, forget it.

    Fairfax and Springfield may be possibilities for you, maybe Centerville, Fair Lakes, and again Loudoun county. I guess it depends on how much you going to want to spend for housing, those housing requirements themselves, and your willingness to deal with traffic-the entire area is a clsoe second to southern CA for that unfortunately.

    Re: reb/blue: things are getting better-only later last year did Fairfax county have it's first gun show in decades(?), which due to the efforts of VCDL in getting their specifc laws that made a defacto ban on gun show sales negates with state preempture laws.

    I know some good real estate folks in the area which could help further I believe.

    Chris
     
  15. JJNA

    JJNA Member

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    Thank You All Again for Good Advice

    What are some of those good and bad things?

    Also, are there reputable gunsmiths with reasonable waitlists in northern VA and who are they?

    Lastly:
    What machete incident in Merrifield?
     
  16. mtnbkr

    mtnbkr Member

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    Good:
    Schools, shopping, restaurants, etc

    Bad:
    Crowds, traffic, loss of open land, crime

    As for gunsmiths, there's one at Clark Brothers in Warrenton and there's a guy in Springfield. I won't do business with the latter as he's a rude ???????. He's good, but a real jerk. There are others in the area, but I need a gunsmith so rarely, I don't keep up with any of them. One guy in Leesburg is pretty good, but I can't remember his name, nor do I have his contact info any longer. There's also a guy in Sterling. He goes to the gunshows and sells parts for ARs and 1911s (among other things). He's pretty cool and knows his stuff. They're around, but only the guy in Springfield has an actual "storefront".

    Chris
     
  17. Ol' Badger

    Ol' Badger Member

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    Don't forget Gilberts range in Springfield. Nice folks there, except for the FAT guy who knows it all.
     
  18. Mr. James

    Mr. James Member

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    JJNR,

    This Bainbridge Island transplant welcomes you. You asked about the machete attacks - there have been more than one, all gang related. I understand some of the Asian gangs prefer baseball bats:

    Leesburg Machete Attack MS-13 Gang-Related
    Dan Telvock

    Jun 22, 2004 -- A Leesburg man reported to police on June 10 that he was attacked by his roommate who was wielding a machete. Eleven days after the incident, the Leesburg Police Department confirmed that an arrest of an alleged MS-13 gang member resulted from the investigation.
    A search warrant filed in Loudoun Circuit Court states that Leesburg Police Detective Patrick Daly, also a member of the Northern Virginia Gang Task Force, investigated the case.

    The warrant states that Hugo Acosta told police that his roommate attempted to hit him with the machete outside their apartment on Edwards Ferry Road NE, but missed him, and ended up hitting Acosta’s car.

    “Acosta fled for his life,†the warrant states. “Acosta stated [his roommate] had the machete hidden in his clothing.â€

    Investigators searched the apartment earlier this month and recovered a machete.

    When questioned about the alleged assault on June 18, Leesburg Police Lt. Jeff Dube said the attacker was waving a “large knife.†On Monday, he confirmed that the weapon used was a machete and that Ronald Jurado, 19, of Leesburg was charged with assault and destruction of property. Dube said that there is a federal immigration detainer on Jurado and that the incident is believed gang-related.

    The daily report that the police department files on the Town of Leesburg’s Web site states that the case was an aggravated assault/destruction of property investigation, but it did not say what happened or that it was being investigated as a gang-related incident.

    “We don’t confirm [if the incident is gang-related] until an arrest is made because that’s one of their recruitment tactics,†Dube said.

    12-Year Term in Machete Attack
    3rd Defendant Given Credit for Cooperation, Remorse
    By Tom Jackman
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Saturday, March 5, 2005; Page B04

    The third and final gang member involved in the machete attack last spring that severed four fingers from a 16-year-old boy's hand was sentenced yesterday to 12 years in prison.

    Jose Cruz-Melendez, 19, of Annandale received three years less than his two co-defendants, all members of the Latino gang Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13. Attorneys in the case and the judge said that unlike Hayner R. Flores and Cristobal Z. Medrano, he had not been an MS-13 member for long, cooperated with police and showed genuine remorse. He also said he did not wield a machete that night.

    In addition to losing four fingers from one hand, the victim, who did not attend the hearing in Fairfax Circuit Court, nearly lost the thumb from the other, but it was reattached. He also suffered deep gashes to his head and back.

    "The injuries are horrific," Fairfax Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Jay R. Nanavati said yesterday. "The societal cost, in terms of fear for the neighbors, is tremendous. It makes certain neighborhoods essentially subject to the law of the jungle."

    The May 10 machete attack on Edsall Road in the Alexandria area of Fairfax and a gang-related slaying days later in Herndon rekindled public outrage over gang violence and generated additional government funding for Northern Virginia's nascent gang problem.

    Authorities believe MS-13 is the area's dominant street gang, with more than 2,000 members, and much of the recent gang-related violence has been attributed to it.

    Nanavati said the victim and two other members of South Side Locos had chased the three MS-13 members with baseball bats after an earlier exchange of insults. The MS-13 members retreated to an apartment and emerged with machetes. Now the chase was reversed. The 16-year-old was knocked down and trapped by Flores, Medrano and Cruz-Melendez, Nanavati said, who rained machete blows on the teenager as he cowered and covered his head.

    All three defendants pleaded guilty to malicious wounding and gang participation. Alene C. Grabauskas, Cruz-Melendez's attorney, said her client deserved some leniency because he had no prior criminal record, had a job and a supportive family and had not swung a machete during the attack. She said he had been an MS-13 member for two months and had been threatened with death in prison if he left the gang.

    Cruz-Melendez stood up in court and apologized to the victim and his family. "I regret with all my heart not doing anything to stop what happened. I will carry the guilt with me forever."

    Judge David T. Stitt imposed a 20-year term for malicious wounding but suspended 10 years, and he imposed a 10-year term for gang participation but suspended eight years. He also ordered the three defendants to pay $14,632 in restitution to the victim for his hospital bills.

    "This is an absolutely brutal crime," Stitt said. "The victim is crippled for life. It's the kind of behavior that's not going to be tolerated in Fairfax County."

    © 2005 The Washington Post Company
     
  19. countertop

    countertop Member

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    There is a fair amount of Latino and Asian gang activity in the area. For the most part it is confined to those areas where they live (cheaper parts of the region, rental housing/garden apartments/immigrant neighborhoods) however, it does spill out and mix with the general population (as the multiplex machete attack showed).

    There is a sense that more of it occurs than actually does - mostly because the news can't stop talking about it, but it is a concern. For awhile last year there was some concern that as part of an "initation" ritual attacks on otherwise innocent non gang members would be stepped up. During this time my wife was pretty scared as one day a van of teenagers (LAtinos, both boys and girls) pulled up and started harassing her while walking our son (he was an infant) - they quickly drove away after my dog started barking and a neighbor walked up.

    Thats the only incident I am personally aware of, but the cops in the McLean Station House told me there had been some others.

    Still, I wouldn't worry too much. The problems the region faces aren't unique to any ast growing urban/suburban area - and in fact in Virginia (as opposed to Maryland) the crime rates are startling lower than most other locations with our population numbers/densities. I'd like to think that is the result of Virginia's liberal CHL laws, but I don't really think so.

    Rather, its more likely the result of the (general) common sense mindset that would allow CHLs in the first place but would also not blink twice about sending a perp away for a long long long time and will harrass and arrest someone who is causing trouble first, and then ask questions later.

    The few times I've had to call the cops out (incident above, as well as in response to door to door soliciters not leaving the neighborhood) the cops showed up within minutes.

    Also, don't worry about the Red/Blue fears in NoVA. While the folks in Arlington are nauseatingly liberal for Virginia (most are government employees or work for some no nprofit or law firm or another), on a whole, they are far more conservative than you will find outside most other major cities. Arlingtons got enough going for it (and the state restricts its ability to mess with your guns enough) that I wouldn't worry about living there . . . and keep searching for the right place there to move to.
     
  20. garyk/nm

    garyk/nm Member

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    Please excuse the intrusion, but you all are scaring me. I have strong ties to No. VA, having partly grown up in Leesburg (60's- early 70's) as my grandparents lived there. My folks now live in Lovettsville. What is the situation out that way? Do I need to pay them a visit soon to make sure all is well? This is the first I have heard about the gang problems there. :what:
     
  21. mtnbkr

    mtnbkr Member

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    I wouldn't worry about it Gary. I live in Manassas, which has an arguably higher gang population than most of NoVa, and haven't had a bit of trouble.

    Chris
     
  22. countertop

    countertop Member

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    As MTNBKR just said, don't worry too much.


    As I said,
     
  23. md2lgyk

    md2lgyk Member

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    Almost hate to mention it since we're being inundated as it is, but you might consider the Panhandle of West Virginia (I live in Charles Town). Lots of growth here, with many folks moving in from NoVA and MD. The gun laws are pretty much the same as VA. Housing has skyrocketed in the last 5 years, but you can still get a really decent new house for maybe $250K minimum. The commute probably sucks if you work in VA but hey, you've gotta compromise somewhere.
     
  24. Mr. James

    Mr. James Member

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    They eat their own

    As countertop says, please, do not worry overmuch. This isn't a daily feature of life here, by any means. Ten years in the same location (Centreville) and nary a problem.
     
  25. garyk/nm

    garyk/nm Member

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    Thanks for the calm-down; you had me worried! Guess I should plan a visit anyway, although I prefer to remember the area as it used to be. Picture this: From Goose Creek to Leesburg on Rt 7, nothing but a few farmhouses and a lot of open grazing land. Sterling did not exist. Oh, the good old days. :rolleyes:
     
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