You’ve just got a new firearm and need to get a permit to conceal carry. But either you’re new to Virginia or new to owning a firearm. So, what do you do? How do you make sure you properly register your new gun? Registration and gun laws vary by state and can be a bit confusing if you’re a newcomer to either the state or gun ownership. We The People Holsters discuss how to properly register your firearm in Virginia, along with some other guidelines a new or seasoned gun owner should be aware of. For starters, you should know that firearms do not need to be registered in Virginia unless it is a machine gun. That being said, you are going to want that permit to conceal carry!
Virginia does issue concealed carry permits to residents and non-residents alike as long as they are 21 and older. Training can be accomplished in-person or online. There are no time limits for how long you need to have resided in the state or in any of its counties and picking up an application is easily done at your local Circuit Court, Sheriff’s Office, or Police Department. As for non-resident permits, you can apply via mail. Just make sure that you read through the instruction list before doing so.
So, what should you know about registering your firearm? What precisely are the CCW handgun permit requirements, and how do you apply? What happens when you need to renew your permit? And what kinds of fees should you expect to incur? We’ve got all that for you as well as a few quick facts on what is and isn’t allowed regarding carrying a gun in the state of Virginia.
First, Some Quick Legal Facts
If you’re new to Virginia or to just owning a gun there, you might not be aware of Virginia’s gun laws. Some things are permitted while others aren’t.
What is and isn’t allowed in Virginia:
- Carry In Vehicle – YES
- Carry In State Parks Allowed – YES
- Open Carry Permitted – YES
- Carry In Bars and Restaurants – YES/NO (If a restaurant in Virginia does not have a “NO WEAPONS” sign posted, then you can conceal carry your firearm into it. However, if you conceal carry, you cannot consume any alcohol.)
- Must Notify Officer – NO
- No Weapons Signs Enforced – NO
- Constitutional Carry – NO
Places that do not allow guns in Virginia include:
- Any place where carrying a gun is prohibited under Federal Law
- Regional Jail or Juvenile Detention Facility
- Non-secure areas of airport terminals
- Private property where the owner prohibits gun ownership or where it is posted as being prohibited
- A place of religious worship while a meeting or religious service is being held
- School properties (including school buses) and functions
The places where it is okay to conceal carry a gun in Virginia include:
- A vehicle
- State parks
- State and national forests
- Roadside rest areas
- areas of the state not listed as being Off-Limits
Private Gun Sales in Virginia
If you are buying a gun from a private seller, you might not be subjected to a background check. This is legal in Virginia, but there is one stipulation: You and the seller must both be permanent residents of Virginia. If you need extra guidance, the Virginia State Police have a guideline for private gun sales that might be of some help. Take special note that, if the seller asks to run a background check, that the fee they require cannot exceed $15.
Thinking about buying at a gun show? Background checks can be run on private sales at gun shows, and it is entirely voluntary. Gun shows have police stationed at them, and they can run a background check for a fee of $2.
Preemption Laws in Virginia
Virginia does have some preemption statutes you should know about. These statutes have been made by local authorities in order to control the use of firearms in certain ways. These ways include:
- Regulating storage and possession of firearms at a childcare center
- Being able to ban hunting with anything larger than a .22 caliber
- Shooting firearms in densely populated areas
- Making limited bans for firearms on highways
- Prohibiting hunting and shooting within 100 yards of a school or local park
- Prohibiting hunting within 100 yards of a highway
- Prohibiting loaded shotguns and rifles in a parked vehicle on a public street, road, or highway
- Banning hunting within half a mile of a densely populated area
Virginia’s Stand Your Ground Laws
Before you even purchase your gun, it is important that you are aware of Virginia’s stance on Stand Your Ground laws. These laws go beyond the scope of Castle Doctrine, which is limited to being used within a person’s home. You have no obligation to retreat in Virginia, and you are allowed to defend yourself at any location where it is legal for you to carry your firearm. Deadly force is only permissible in clear-cut cases of immediate danger to yourself or someone around you.
Any party to the issue must retreat. If you have made a verbal or physical threat toward someone, you are legally required to retreat.
Getting Your Permit
When you’re ready to get your permit, pick up an application from your local circuit court. Once completed, expect the process to take 45 days at a maximum. If you are purchasing a handgun, you must be 21 or older. However, if you are buying a shotgun or a rifle, you need only be 18 or older.
Understanding these guidelines can help you become a responsible gun owner.
Disclaimer: The content of this article does not constitute legal advice and is provided for general information purposes only. If you require specific legal advice you should contact that specific agency. We are not attorneys.