Whether you’re new to owning a firearm or have had a gun for home defense for years, getting a concealed carry license may seem daunting. It doesn’t have to be. There are many reasons and ways to carry a concealed weapon, but the first step is knowing the laws. Applying for a CCW varies by state. Read about the process for getting a Virginia Handgun Permit (HP) below.
Similar to license requirements, states vary greatly in their processes for how an applicant obtains a concealed carry license, what their permits/licenses are called, whether licenses include photographs, whether fingerprinting is required, license duration, license costs and turnaround times. Some states allow an applicant to complete an application online, while others require an in-person visit to the office of the respective issuing authority. There are even states that require the applicant to provide a list of non-related character references.
Concealed Carry License Basics
Virginia is a shall-issue state. Handgun permit applications can be filed with the county circuit court for residents or mailed to the state police for non-residents. Shall-issue means that licensing authorities in Virginia are compelled to issue a license as long as an applicant meets the basic requirements set out by state law.
Virginia HPs are issued to both residents and non-residents at least 21 years old and require a state-approved firearms training course and demonstrated competence with the firearm. A Virginia HP is valid for five years.
Federally Prohibited Persons
The Federal Gun Control Act of 1968 and the Federal Omnibus Consolidated Appropriations Act of 1997 make it illegal for a person who fits into any of the prohibited categories to ship, transport, receive or possess firearms or ammunition. These laws prevent a state from issuing a concealed carry license/license as it would be illegal for people who fit in these categories, by federal law, to own or possess a gun.
What Are the License Requirements in Virginia?
An applicant must:
- Be at least 21 years old
- Reside in the county in which the application is submitted
- Demonstrate competence with a handgun
- Be an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence in the United States
- Not have been dishonorably discharged from the Armed Forces of the United States
- Not be a fugitive from justice
- Not be ineligible to possess a firearm pursuant to Section 18.2-308.1:1, 18.2-308.1:2, Section 18.2-308.1:3, 18.2-308.1:6, 18.2-308.1:7, 18.2-308.1:8 or a similar law of any other state
- Not be ineligible to possess a firearm pursuant to Section 18.2-308.1:1 and who was discharged from the custody of the Commissioner less than five years before the date of this application
- Not be ineligible to possess a firearm pursuant to Section 18.2-308.1:2 and whose competency or capacity was restored less than five years before the date of this application
- Not be ineligible to possess a firearm under Section 18.2-308.1:3 and who was released from commitment less than five years before the date of this application
- Not be subject to a restraining order, a protective order, an emergency substantial risk order or substantial risk order and prohibited by Section 18.2-308.1:4 or Section 18.2-308.1:6 from purchasing or transporting a firearm
- Not be prohibited by Section 18.2-308.2 from possessing or transporting a firearm, except that a permit may be obtained in accordance with subsection C of that section
- Not have been convicted of two or more misdemeanors within the five-year period immediately preceding the application, if one of the misdemeanors was a Class 1 misdemeanor, but the judge shall have the discretion to deny a permit for two or more misdemeanors that are not Class 1
- Not be addicted to, or an unlawful user or distributor of, marijuana or any controlled substance
- Not have been convicted of a violation of Section 18.2-266 or a substantially similar local ordinance, or of public drunkenness, anywhere in the United States, or its territories within the three-year period immediately preceding the application
- Not be an individual who the court finds is likely to use a weapon unlawfully or negligently to endanger others (The sheriff, chief of police or attorney for the Commonwealth may submit to the court a sworn written statement indicating that the applicant is likely to use a weapon unlawfully or negligently to endanger others. The statement shall be based upon personal knowledge of such individual or of the specific acts.);
- Not have been convicted of or have a charge pending of any assault, assault and battery, sexual battery, discharging of a firearm in violation of Section 18.2-280, Section 18.2-286.1 or brandishing of a firearm within the three-year period preceding the application
- Not be an individual who has been convicted of or have a charge pending of stalking
- Not be an individual whose previous convictions or adjudications of delinquency were based on an offense which would have been at the time of conviction a felony if committed by an adult
- Not have received mental health treatment or substance abuse treatment in a residential setting within five years of this application
- Not be otherwise ineligible pursuant to this section, who, within the three-year period prior to the application, found guilty of any criminal offense set forth in Section 18.2-247 or of a criminal offense of illegal possession or distribution of marijuana or any controlled substance
- Not have been found guilty of any criminal offense set forth in Section 18.2-247 or a charge of illegal possession or distribution of marijuana or any controlled substance, or a substantially similar law of any other state within the three-year period immediately preceding the application
- Meet the federal law requirements mentioned above
Do I Need Firearms Training in Virginia?
Yes. Virginia allows applicants a variety of options in order to demonstrate competence with a handgun, including but not limited to: completion of any hunter education or hunter safety course approved by a state game agency; any firearms safety or training course or class available to the general public offered by a law-enforcement agency or organization utilizing instructors certified by the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services; or by presenting evidence of equivalent experience with a firearm through participation in organized shooting competition or current military service or proof of an honorable discharge from any branch of the armed services.
How Do I Get a Concealed Carry License in Virginia?
Step 1: Complete a state-approved firearms training course.
Step 2: Download the application or pick one up from a circuit court or sheriff’s office.
Step 3: File the application along with a copy of a firearms training certificate in person or by mail with the clerk of the circuit court of the county or city in which the applicant resides. Non-residents must mail their applications to the state police.
Step 4: You will be notified by mail if your application has been approved.
For more information, 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.