For many ordinary citizens, one of the most confusing areas of the law is that surrounding firearms. Particularly of concern is whether one can legally carry a firearm in public and if so, what restrictions are in place. Of double concern is the severity of criminal penalties for non-compliance with these laws and the tenacity with which local and state police enforce firearms laws. It is very easy, even in a gun friendly state such as Virginia, to unknowingly put yourself in a situation with firearms that results in criminal charges.
So to begin, Virginia is what’s known as an “open carry” state. This means that any individual over the age of 18, not otherwise disqualified from possessing a firearm, can carry one in public. Those who are disqualified from possessing a firearm include: convicted felons, juveniles found delinquent of felonies (in … Read More »
What is the concealed weapon law in Virginia all about, and what are the requirements for a concealed carry permit? What does it mean to conceal a weapon anyway?
For the answer to those questions, one must start with the Virginia concealed weapon statute, which is Virginia Code Section 18.2-308. It is one of the longer criminal statutes on the books, so I will not go into every detail here, but you may read through the entire section for yourself online. Section 18.2-308 makes the following kinds of weapons unlawful for a person to carry concealed, subject to a variety of exceptions:
(i) any pistol, revolver, or other weapon designed or intended to propel a missile of any kind by action of an explosion of any combustible material; (ii) any dirk, bowie knife, switchblade knife, ballistic knife, machete, razor, slingshot, spring stick, … Read More »