Monday, January 25, 2016

Open Carry Laws in Virginia

Abingdon Police Department

For Immediate Release

With the changes in concealed carry reciprocity coming to Virginia on February 1, 2016, the police department has received many inquiries concerning when, where, and how to legally carry a firearm in the Commonwealth.  The following is intended as an informational guide for those who are considering open carry while visiting the State of Virginia.

*Nothing on this page constitutes, or is meant to constitute, advice of any kind.  If you require advice in relation to any legal matter you should consult an attorney.

1.      Open Carry is legal in Virginia in most places with or without a Concealed Handgun Permit (CHP) as long as you are legally entitled to possess a firearm. 

2.      A person may be prohibited from purchasing or possessing a firearm pursuant to state and/or federal law if they meet one or more of the following criteria: 
·         Currently under indictment for a felony offense.
·         Subject of an active misdemeanor or felony arrest warrant from any state.
·         Previously convicted, as an adult, in any court of a felony offense.
·         If you are 28 years old or younger, and have been adjudicated delinquent as a juvenile 14 years of age or older at the time of offense of a delinquent act, which would be a felony if committed by an adult.
·         Been convicted in any court of a misdemeanor crime punishable by more than 2 years even if the maximum punishment was not received.
·         Subject of an outstanding protective or restraining order against you from any court that involves your spouse, a former spouse, an individual with whom you share a child in common, or someone you cohabited with as an intimate partner.
·         Subject of an outstanding protective or restraining order against you from any court that involves stalking, sexual battery, alleged abuse or acts of violence against a family or household member.
·         If you are an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana, or any depressant, stimulant, or narcotic drug, or any controlled substance as defined under the Federal Gun Control Act. According to the act, an addicted person, or unlawful user, is a person who has a conviction for use or possession of a controlled substance within the past year or persons found through a drug test to use a controlled substance unlawfully, provided that the test was administered within the past year.
·         Been acquitted of a crime by reason of insanity.
·         Been adjudicated legally incompetent or mentally incapacitated, or adjudicated an incapacitated person.
·         Been involuntarily admitted to a facility or involuntarily ordered to outpatient mental health treatment.
·         Been the subject of a temporary detention order and subsequently agreed to voluntarily admission for mental health treatment.
·         Discharged from the Armed Forces under dishonorable discharge.
·         An alien illegally in the United States. 
·         A nonimmigrant alien.
·         A person who has renounced United States citizenship.
·         If you have ever been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence (including all misdemeanors involving the use, threat of, or attempted use of physical force), if the offense is committed by one of the following parties: a current or former spouse, parent, or guardian of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabiting with or has cohabited with the victim as a spouse, parent or guardian, or by a person similarly situated to a spouse, parent or guardian of the victim.
·         Within a 36 month period, in the last 5 years, been convicted under Virginia law of 2 misdemeanor offenses for Possession of Controlled Substance or Possession of Marijuana (Handgun Purchases Only).

3.      Minimum age to Open Carry in VA is 18 years old.

4.      In most locations where concealed carry (CC) is prohibited, open carry (OC) is also prohibited.

5.      The following restrictions are specifically mentioned in state code:

·         §15.2-915 - Detention Facilities
·         §18.2-283 - Places of worship while a meeting for religious purposes is being held. Note you can open carry “with good and sufficient reason.”
·         §18.2-283.1 - Courthouses
·         §18.2-287.01 - Air carrier airport terminal buildings
·         §18.2-308.J3 - Restaurants -- concealed carry prohibited while consuming alcoholic beverages
·         §18.2-308.O - Private property when prohibited by owner
·         §18.2-308.1 - K-12 school grounds (CHP holders exempted for concealed carry while in a vehicle)
·         §18.2-308.1 - K-12 school buses
·         §18.2-308.1 - Property used exclusively for K-12 school-sponsored functions

6.      Some restrictions may apply to specific facilities, buildings, or grounds. These are outlined in the Virginia Administrative Code:

·         Federal facilities (buildings) (18 USC § 930)
·         Many federal agency lands (various federal regulations)
·         National Forests -- open carry prohibited except where hunting is allowed (4VAC15-40-60)
·         General Assembly Buildings except for CHP holders (Joint Rules Committee rule)
·         Land owned or managed by the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries -- open carry prohibited except where hunting is allowed (4VAC15-40-60)
·         Hog Island Wildlife Management Area (4VAC15-40-120)
·         Buggs Island (4VAC15-40-140)

7.      Several colleges & universities have regulations prohibiting carry in buildings and at events:

·         George Mason University (8VAC35-60-20)
·         Longwood University (8VAC50-20)
·         Old Dominion University (8VAC65-10)
·         Richard Bland College (8VAC115-30)
·         University of Virginia (8VAC85-20)
·         Virginia Military Institute (8VAC100-10)
·         Virginia State University (8VAC110-10)
·         Virginia Tech (8VAC105-20)
·         William and Mary (8VAC115-20)

*Again, nothing on this page constitutes, or is meant to constitute, advice of any kind.  If you require advice in relation to any legal matter you should consult an attorney.