Virginia State Seal

Virginia Concealed Carry Reciprocity Map & Gun Laws

Carry allowed with my Virginia permit?
No
Yes
Yes, Permitless Carry
Yes, Selected State
631k
Permits Issued
50
STATES HONORED
35
RECIPROCATING STATES
8.5M
STATE POPULATION
21
MINIMUM AGE TO CC
32
ATTORNEYS IN USCCA NETWORK
7.42%
PERMIT PERCENTAGE
5
YEARS PERMIT VALID
77
USCCA CERTIFIED INSTRUCTORS

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Summary of Virginia Gun Laws

Virginia is a shall-issue state. For residents, applications are filed with the circuit court in their county of residence, and non-residents must mail their application to the State Police.

There is no permit, background check or firearms registration required when buying a handgun from a private individual, provided the buyer and seller are both Virginia residents.

Open carry is legal in Virginia without a permit. The minimum age is 18 years old.

Concealed carry is legal with a license/permit. 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. Some areas are off-limits, including airport terminals and places of worship during services. In terms of reciprocity, Virginia honors all out-of-state concealed carry permits.

Virginia is a Castle Doctrine state. In Virginia, there is no duty to retreat and you can defend yourself at any location you are legally permitted to be. Deadly force can only be used if you are under immediate threat and fear you or another person will be killed or grievously wounded. However, you must retreat if you are a party to the problem. Situations where you would be required to retreat include if you make a rude gesture or yell a threat to a person.

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Virginia Gun Laws at a Glance

Open Carry/ Concealed Carry Basics

Constitutional Carry?

Does Virginia allow constitutional carry?

No. Virginia does not allow constitutional carry.

Open Carry Permitted?

Is open carry permitted in Virginia?

Yes, without a permit. Any person who is at least 18 years old and legally entitled to carry a firearm can open carry.

Gun Permit Licensure?

If Virginia requires a permit to carry a concealed firearm, how are those permits issued?

Virginia is a shall-issue state.

Minimum Age for Concealed Carry?

What is the minimum age in Virginia to get a concealed carry permit?

The minimum age to concealed carry in Virginia is 21.

Weapons Other Than Handguns Allowed?

Can you concealed carry weapons other than handguns in Virginia with a concealed carry permit (or under permitless carry if applicable)?

No. A concealed carry permit in Virginia does not allow you to carry weapons other than handguns.

Tasers or Stun Guns?

Is it legal to own a taser or stun gun in Virginia?

Yes. Stun guns and Tasers are legal to purchase and possess without a permit. The state also prohibits anyone from carrying a stun weapon:

  • In a secure airport terminal;
  • In a courthouse; or
  • On school property (including school buses).

[Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-308.1]
[Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-287.01]
[Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-283.1]

Chemical Spray/Pepper Spray?

Is it legal to buy or use chemical spray/pepper spray in Virginia?

Yes, any person may use pepper spray in the protection of person, life or property.

[Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-312]

Non-Resident Permitting?

Does Virginia issue concealed carry permits to non-residents?

Yes. Virginia does issue permits to non-residents.

Public Access to Concealed Carry Registry?

Does Virginia allow the public to access concealed carry registry information through public records law?

No, except for references to the issuance of concealed handgun permits in any order book before July 1, 2008. The law allows disclosure:

  • To law enforcement agencies and officers for law enforcement purposes;
  • Of records by the State Police concerning permits issued to nonresidents; and
  • Of statistical summaries, abstracts or other records containing information in an aggregate form that does not identify any individual permittees.

Carry Locations

Carry in Vehicle?

Can you carry a concealed firearm in a vehicle in Virginia?

Yes, with a permit. 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.

[Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-308]

Carry at Roadside Rest Areas?

Can you carry a concealed firearm at roadside rest areas in Virginia?

Yes. Concealed carry is allowed at roadside rest areas in Virginia.

Carry in State/National Parks, State/National Forests and Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs)?

Can you carry a concealed firearm in state/national parks, state/national forests and Wildlife Management Areas in Virginia?

Yes, with a valid concealed carry permit.

[4VAC15-40-60(G)]

Carry in Restaurants That Serve Alcohol?

Can you carry a firearm in restaurants that serve alcohol in Virginia?

Yes, with a valid concealed carry permit, unless posted and provided you consume no alcohol.

[Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-308.012]

Store in a Vehicle in an Employee Parking Lot?

Does Virginia have laws relating to storing firearms in private vehicles in an employee parking lot?

No locality shall adopt any workplace rule, other than for the purposes of a community services board or behavioral health authority as defined in § 37.2-100, that prevents an employee of that locality from storing at that locality's workplace a lawfully possessed firearm and ammunition in a locked private motor vehicle. There is an exception for any local or regional jail, juvenile detention facility or state-governed entity, department or agency.

[Va. Code Ann. § 15.2-915]

Additional Related State Laws

Must Notify Officer You're Carrying?

Are you required to notify a police officer that you're carrying a concealed firearm in Virginia?

No. You are not required to notify an officer that you are carrying in Virginia.

[Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-308.01]

Magazine Limits for Handguns?

Does Virginia have magazine capacity restrictions for handguns?

No more than 20 rounds for handguns.

Although Virginia has no law restricting large capacity ammunition magazines, Virginia law defines “assault firearm” as any semi-automatic center-fire rifle or pistol which expels single or multiple projectiles by action of an explosion of a combustible material and 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 person, openly or concealed, on any public street, road, alley, sidewalk, public right-of-way, or in any public park or any other place of whatever nature that is open to the public in the cities of Alexandria, Chesapeake, Fairfax, Falls Church, Newport News, Norfolk, Richmond, or Virginia Beach or in the Counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Henrico, Loudoun, or Prince William. There are exceptions for concealed handgun permit holders and individuals actually engaged in lawful hunting or lawful recreational shooting activities at established shooting ranges or shooting contests.

[Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-287.4.]

Ammunition Restrictions?

Does Virginia have ammunition restrictions?

No. Virginia does not have ammunition restrictions.

"No Weapons Allowed" Signs Enforced?

Are "No Weapons Allowed" signs enforced in Virginia? If yes, violating the sign would be considered to be a crime. If no, violating the sign would not be considered a criminal offense.

No. Virginia does not enforce "No Weapons Allowed" signs.

Preemption?

Does Virginia have preemption laws related to concealed carry (i.e. Does state law supersede local laws regarding the possession of handguns)?

Yes. The authority to regulate firearms is reserved to the state, except cities may:

  • Prohibit the outdoor shooting of firearms in areas so heavily populated as to make such conduct dangerous to the inhabitants;
  • Impose limited prohibitions on possession of a loaded firearm on public highways;
  • Prohibit the discharge of firearms; and
  • Require the maintenance of safety devices on storage equipment for firearms.

Certain Northern Virginia cities and counties may adopt local ordinances regulating the possession and storage of firearms, ammunition or components, or combination thereof, at child care facilities.

[Va. Code Ann. § 15.2-915]

[Va. Code Ann. § 15.2-1209]

Red Flag Law?

Does Virginia have a red flag law?

No. Virginia does not have a red flag law.

Brandishing?

Does Virginia state law define brandishing?

Yes. It shall be unlawful for any person to point, hold or brandish any firearm or any object similar in appearance, whether capable of being fired or not, in such manner as to reasonably induce fear in the mind of another of being shot or injured. However, this section shall not apply to any person engaged in excusable or justifiable self-defense.

[Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-282]

It shall be unlawful for any person to handle recklessly any firearm so as to endanger the life, limb or property of any person.

[Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-56.1]

Carry While Using Alcohol or Prescription Medication?

Does Virginia have laws regarding carrying a firearm while using alcohol or prescription medication?

Not while consuming or under the influence.

[Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-308.012]

As a responsibly armed American, regardless of the laws in your state, it is unwise to carry while under the influence of any substance that could impair your judgement, slow your reaction times or impact your decision-making abilities. Any decision you make while carrying a firearm could have life-altering consequences.

Handgun Purchase & Possession

Purchase Permits?

Is a permit required to purchase a handgun in Virginia?

No. A permit is not required to purchase a handgun in Virginia.

Background Checks for Private Gun Sales?

Are background checks required for private gun sales in Virginia?

No. It is recommended that you retain any sales receipts to prove ownership of the gun.

Waiting Period?

Is there a waiting period after purchasing a handgun in Virginia?

No. There is not a waiting period after purchasing a handgun in Virginia.

Handgun Registration?

Do handguns need to be registered in Virginia?

No. Handguns do not need to be registered in Virginia.

Minimum Age to Possess and Transport?

What is the minimum age to possess and transport a handgun in Virginia?

The minimum age to possess and transport a handgun in Virginia is 18 years old.

[Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-308.7]

Carry While Hunting

Carry While Gun Hunting?

Can you concealed carry while shotgun/rifle hunting in Virginia?

Yes, with a valid concealed handgun permit, provided the handgun is not used to hunt or take wildlife.

[Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-308(C)(6)]

Carry While Bow Hunting?

Can you concealed carry while bowhunting in Virginia?

Yes, with a valid concealed handgun permit, except not on any waterway. The granting of a concealed handgun permit shall not thereby authorize the possession of any handgun or other weapon on property or in places where such possession is otherwise prohibited by law or is prohibited by the owner of private property. Furthermore, the possession of a concealed handgun permit does not authorize the use of the concealed handgun for hunting.

[VA Dept of Game and Inland Fisheries General Information & Hunting Regulations]

Hunter Harassment Law?

Is there a Hunter Harassment Law in Virginia?

Yes. It is unlawful to willfully and intentionally impede the lawful hunting or trapping of wild birds or wild animals. It is unlawful for any person or his agent to knowingly and intentionally facilitate or attempt to cause a violation of subdivision A 4 of § 29.1-521 by putting out bait or salt for any wildlife in any place used or occupied by hunters to hunt wild birds or wild animals.

[Va. Code Ann. § 29.1-521.1]

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State Constitutional Provision
That a well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the proper, natural and safe defense of a free state, therefore, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; that standing armies, in time of peace, should be avoided as dangerous to liberty; and that in all cases the military should be under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power."
ARTICLE 1, § 13

Virginia Concealed Carry Reciprocity With Other States

Which states' permits does Virginia honor?

Alabama (at least 21 years old)
Delaware (at least 21 years old)
Florida (handguns only)
Idaho (Enhanced permits only)
Indiana (at least 21 years old)
Maine (at least 21 years old)
Missouri (at least 21 years old)
Montana (at least 21 years old)
New Hampshire (at least 21 years old)
North Dakota (Class 1 permits only)
South Dakota (at least 21 years old)
Utah (at least 21 years old)
West Virginia (at least 21 years old)

Virginia honors all valid out-of-state concealed carry permits issued to individuals who are at least 21 years old and are carrying a photo ID issued by a government agency.


Other States' Reciprocity With Virginia

Which states honor permits from Virginia?

Note: Firearms must be carried in accordance with the laws of the state you are visiting. Be sure to check the laws of the other state before traveling there with your firearms.


States That Have Restricted Reciprocity with Virginia

Colorado (resident permits only)
Florida (resident permits only)
Michigan (resident permits only)
South Carolina (resident permits only )
Wisconsin (non-resident permits only)

Permitless Carry States

Anyone who can legally possess a firearm may carry it concealed in permitless carry states without a permit/license. Check each state’s page for more information and any restrictions that may apply.

Arizona (if at least 21 years old)
Alaska (if at least 21 years old)
Arkansas (if at least 21 years old)
Kansas (if at least 21 years old)
Kentucky (if at least 21 years old)
Maine (if at least 21 years old)
Mississippi (if at least 21 years old)
Missouri (if at least 19 years old)
New Hampshire (if at least 18 years old)
South Dakota (if at least 18 years old)
Vermont (if at least 18 years old)
West Virginia (if at least 21 years old)

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Virginia Concealed Carry Permit Information

Requirements:

An applicant must:

  • Be at least 21 years old;
  • Reside in the county in which the application is submitted;
  • Demonstrate competence with a handgun;
  • Not have been convicted of 2 or more misdemeanors within the 5-year period immediately preceding the application;
  • Not be addicted to, or be an unlawful user or distributor of, marijuana or any controlled substance;
  • Not have been convicted of public drunkenness, or of a substantially similar offense within the 3-year period immediately preceding the application;
  • Not be a habitual drunkard;
  • Not be a person whom the court finds by a preponderance of the evidence based on specific acts by the applicant, is likely to use a weapon unlawfully or negligently to endanger others;
  • Not have been convicted of any assault, assault and battery, sexual battery, discharging of a firearm or brandishing a firearm within the 3-year period immediately preceding the application;
  • Not have been convicted of stalking or have a charge pending;
  • Not be subject to a restraining order or protective order against family abuse or to protect the health and safety of any person;
  • Not have previous convictions or adjudications of delinquency based on an offense which would have been at the time of conviction a felony if committed by an adult [Only convictions occurring within 16 years following the later of the date of (i) the conviction or adjudication or (ii) release from any incarceration imposed upon such conviction or adjudication shall be deemed to be “previous convictions.”];
  • Not have been acquitted of a crime by reason of insanity unless he or she was discharged from custody more than 5 years ago;
  • Not have been adjudicated legally incompetent or incapacitated unless his or her competency or capacity was restored more than 5 years ago;
  • Not have been involuntarily admitted to a mental health facility, ordered to mandatory outpatient treatment, or the subject of a temporary detention order who agrees to voluntary admission to a mental health facility, unless, in the case of involuntary admission, he or she was released more than 5 years ago;
  • Not have been convicted of a felony or have a felony charge pending;
  • Not be a fugitive from justice;
  • Not have been discharged from the U.S. Armed Forces under dishonorable conditions;
  • Not have received mental health treatment or substance abuse treatment in a residential setting within 5 years prior to the date of his or her application for a concealed handgun permit; and
  • Meet federal law requirements.
Fees:

Initial and renewals for residents $50 ($15 for King William County residents)

Initial permit for non-residents $100

There are no fees for retired law enforcement officers with 15 years of service

Valid For:

5 years

Processing Time:

45 days

Application:
Non-Resident Concealed Carry Permits:

Applicants who do not reside in Virginia can apply by mail. An application package can be obtained by emailing the Virginia state police at nonrespermit@vsp.virginia.gov or writing to them at the following address:

Firearms Transaction Center 
Nonresident Concealed Handgun Permits
Criminal Justice Information Services Division
Department of State Police
P.O. Box 85141 
Richmond, VA 23285-5141

The application package will provide requirement and qualification information, a Virginia State Police fingerprint card, a return envelope for the completed application and a checklist to ensure that all necessary information is provided. Further information can be viewed on the Virginia State Police Nonresident Concealed Handgun Permit webpage

The processing time for nonresident concealed handgun permits can be 3 to 6 months.

Name/Address Changes:

You must provide written notice of a change of address on a form provided by the Department of State Police and pay a $10 fee.

Lost/Stolen Permits:

If your concealed handgun permit has been destroyed, mutilated, stolen or lost, you may apply for a replacement permit. Contact your county sheriff. Some counties have replacement applications online. The cost is $5.


Virginia Concealed Carry Permit Application Process

How to Apply for a Virginia Concealed Carry Permit

Step 1:

Complete a state-approved firearms training course.

Step 2:

Download the application or pick one up from the 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.

Step 4:

You will be notified by mail if your application has been approved.


Firearms Training Requirements in Virginia

An applicant must demonstrate competence with a handgun by one of the following:

  • Completing any hunter education or hunter safety course approved by the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries or a similar agency of another state;
  • Completing any National Rifle Association (NRA) firearms safety or training course;
  • Completing any firearms safety or training course or class available to the general public offered by a law-enforcement agency, junior college, college, or private or public institution or organization or firearms training school utilizing instructors certified by the National Rifle Association or the Department of Criminal Justice Services;
  • Completing any law-enforcement firearms safety or training course or class offered for security guards, investigators, special deputies, or any division or subdivision of law enforcement or security enforcement;
  • 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;
  • Obtaining or previously having held a license to carry a firearm in this Commonwealth or a locality thereof, unless such license has been revoked for cause;
  • Completing any firearms training or safety course or class, including an electronic, video or online course, conducted by a state-certified or NRA-certified firearms instructor;
  • Completing any governmental police agency firearms training course and qualifying to carry a firearm in the course of normal police duties; or
  • Completing any other firearms training which the court deems adequate.

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Virginia Concealed Carry Permit Renewal Process

How to Renew a Virginia Concealed Carry Permit

Step 1:

You will be notified by mail 90 days before the permit expires. You can submit a renewal application up to 180 days after the permits expiry date.

Step 2:

Download the application or pick one up from the circuit court or sheriff’s office.

Step 3:

File the application by mail with the clerk of the circuit court of your county or city.

Step 4:

You will be notified within 45 days by mail if your application has been approved or denied.


Law Enforcement Officers (LEO)/Retired LEOs

Law enforcement officers (LEOs) and Retired LEOs (RLEOs) may choose to carry under the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act (LEOSA), often referred to as HR 218. Under 18 U.S. Code §§ 926B & 926C, qualified LEOs and qualified retired LEOs, or those separated from service in good standing, can carry a concealed firearm in any jurisdiction in the United States, regardless of state or local laws, with some exceptions. For details check out our Federal Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act (LEOSA) page.

Per Code of VA § 18.2-308.016, RLEOs with proof of service may annually participate and meet the training and qualification standards to carry firearms as is required of active LEOs in the Commonwealth. If the RLEO meets the training and qualification standards, the chief law-enforcement officer shall issue the RLEO certification, valid one year from the date of issuance, indicating that the RLEO has met the standards of the Commonwealth to carry a firearm. 

Per the Virginia State Police (VSP) LEOSA webpage, to qualify for the nationwide carry privilege, a VSP retiree must receive authorization from the VSP. To do so, the VSP retiree must first submit the following to the Virginia State Police Firearms Transaction Center:

  • Two passport photos – each 2×2 inches in size
  • Fingerprint Card
  • SP-216A: Retired Personnel Firearms Training Report
  • SP-218: Authorization to Carry a Concealed Handgun
  • SP-218A: Concealed Handgun Authorization – Retired State Police Officers
  • Authorization Application Checklist

When all items have been completed and submitted as a complete package, the sworn VSP retiree will be issued an Authorization card, an annual qualification sticker and a letter from the superintendent detailing the conditions of the nationwide carry privilege. These items are mailed directly to the applicant.

Range Schedule


Virginia Location Restrictions

Where Can I Carry a Concealed Firearm in Virginia?
  • Carry in restaurants that serve alcohol? Yes, unless posted and provided you consume no alcohol.
  • Carry in my vehicle without a permit/license? Yes, with a permit or without a permit if it is secured in a container or compartment.
  • Carry in roadside rest areas? Yes.
  • Carry in state/national parks, state/national forests and WMAs? Yes, with a permit, except for Hog Island WMA, Buggs Island or upon the water on Gaston Reservoir.
Where Can't I Carry a Concealed Firearm in Virginia?

Places off-limits even with a permit/license


FAQ: Virginia Concealed Carry Questions

What Are the Knife Laws in Virginia?

It is legal to own and openly carry any type of knife in Virginia. It is illegal to conceal carry a dirk, bowie knife, switchblade, machete, ballistic knife, throwing stars or oriental darts, or any knife of a like kind.


Virginia Gun Laws Updates:

Date Details
2019-11-04

Added brandishing info to At A Glance table

2019-10-16

Added Hunter Harassment info to At A Glance table

2019-10-01

Added Chemical Spray/Pepper Spray to the At A Glance table

2019-09-09

Added Carry While Hunting info to At A Glance table

2019-08-13

Added anchor links to various sections below the Summary

2019-07-26

Added minimum age to possess and transport a handgun to At A Glance table

2019-05-24

Added stun gun/Taser info to At A Glance table

2019-05-10

Added permit renewal and name/address change info

2019-04-19

Links checked

2019-04-03

Added info on state implementation of Law Enforcement Officer Safety Act (LEOSA)

2019-02-22

Added info to vehicle carry in At A Glance table

2019-02-15

Added pages for Federal Gun Laws, Traveling with Firearms & Terminology

2019-02-09

Added ammunition restrictions to At A Glance table

2019-02-08

Added church carry info to location restrictions section

2019-02-06

Added red flag law info to At A Glance table

2019-01-24

Added info about alcohol or prescription medication in At A Glance table

2019-01-10

Mag limit added to At A Glance table

2018-12-13

Added preemption info to At A Glance table

2018-12-03

Added parking lot storage info to At A Glance table

2018-11-27

Added links

2018-10-22

Added initial CCW law and reciprocity information for Virginia

Did We Miss Something?

Here at the USCCA, it is our mission to provide responsible gun owners with the tools they need to be educated, trained and legally protected at all times. Our team is constantly working to provide you with the most up-to-date and comprehensive list of self-defense laws available for every state.

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Permit numbers were obtained from the Crime Prevention Resource Center’s publication entitled, “Concealed Carry Permit Holders Across the United States: 2018.” Numbers include resident and non-resident permits for those states that issue both.

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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