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Basic Carry Laws: Virginia

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Carrying a firearm for self-defense comes with a lot of responsibility. Knowing the laws where you carry is just one important task you must undertake as an armed American. To help with that, we will be providing you with a summary of basic carry laws for several states. Learn about the most important things to know when carrying in Virginia below.

Permitting in Virginia

Open carry is legal in Virginia without a permit for anyone who is at least 18 years old and can legally possess a firearm. Concealed carry is legal with a license/permit from Virginia. Likewise, Virginia honors all out-of-state concealed carry permits. Virginia Handgun Permits (VHPs) are issued to both residents and non-residents at least 21 years old and require a firearms training course that has been approved by the state. Stun guns and Tasers are legal to purchase and possess without a permit. These devices are not allowed in secure airport terminals, in courthouses, on school property or on school buses. Possession and use of self-defense sprays is lawful in the protection of person, life or property.

A permit to purchase a handgun is not required in Virginia. For the remainder of 2020, background checks are not required when buying a firearm from a private individual. However, as of Jan. 1, 2021, all sales/transfers will be required to be completed through a dealer who will submit a background check. There is no firearms registration, waiting period or ammunition restrictions for handguns. A purchaser must be at least 18 years old to buy a handgun.

Although Virginia has no law restricting large capacity ammunition magazines, Virginia law defines “assault firearm” as any semi-automatic centerfire rifle or pistol which expels single or multiple projectiles by action of an explosion of a combustible material, is equipped at the time of the offense with a magazine which will hold more than 20 rounds of ammunition, or designed by the manufacturer to accommodate a silencer or equipped with a folding stock. These assault firearms are prohibited from being loaded and carried on or about the individual openly or concealed in public areas of many cities and counties, although there are some exceptions.

Where Can One Carry in Virginia?

Anyone with a valid concealed carry permit can carry a concealed handgun in a vehicle in Virginia. Carry in a vehicle is allowed without a permit if it is secured in a container or compartment, including a console, glove compartment or any other area of the vehicle or vessel that possesses the ability to be closed.

Locations where a concealed handgun may be carried include:

  • Restaurants that serve alcohol (unless posted and provided you consume no alcohol)
  • State/national parks
  • State/national forests
  • Wildlife Management Areas (except for Hog Island WMA, Buggs Island or upon the water on Gaston Reservoir)
  • Roadside rest areas

Locations where carry is prohibited, even for permit holders, include:

  • Any elementary, middle or high school, including buildings and grounds and portions of public property exclusively used for school-sponsored functions or extracurricular activities while such functions or activities are taking place
  • Any school bus
  • Places of religious worship while a meeting for religious purposes is being held, without good and sufficient reason
  • Anywhere while under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs
  • Courthouses
  • The Capitol Square in Richmond
  • Regional jails and juvenile detention facilities
  • Offices owned or occupied by executive branch agencies
  • Private property when prohibited by the owner of the property or where posted as prohibited
  • Non-secure areas of airport terminals
  • Day-use areas, campgrounds and other developed recreational Tennessee Valley Authority lands
  • The portion of Hog Island Wildlife Management Area bordering on the James River and lying north of the Surry Nuclear Power Plant (except while hunting deer or waterfowl in conformity with a special permit issued by the department)
  • Buggs Island or upon the water on Gaston Reservoir (Roanoke River) from a point beginning at High Rock and extending to the John H. Kerr Dam
  • Any place where the carrying of firearms is prohibited by federal or state law or regulation

Visit the USCCA Virginia gun laws page now…


The information contained on this website is provided as a service to USCCA, Inc. members and the concealed carry community and does not constitute legal advice. Although we attempt to address all areas of concealed carry laws in all states, we make no claims, representations, warranties, promises or guarantees as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information disclosed. Legal advice must always be tailored to the individual facts and circumstances of each individual case. Laws are constantly changing, and, as such, nothing contained on this website should be used as a substitute for the advice of a lawyer.

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