Virginia encourages the second amendment and use of firearms in the state.

But there are gun laws that restrict location for firearms and the type of weapons to use.

To open carry in the state, you must understand Virginia gun statutes.

Virginia Gun Laws Summary

Virginia issues handgun permits for the possession of firearms in the state.

It is a shall-issue state, and the department of police is in charge of the application procedure.

The state issues permits to both residents and non-residents.

To buy firearms in Virginia, you must complete the criminal record background check. The state does not issue purchase permits.

The age requirement for Virginia handgun permit is twenty-one years old.

Is Open Carry Legal In Virginia?

Yes. You can open carry in Virginia if you are of legal age of eighteen years old without any state or federal prohibition to make use of firearms.

Open Carry Laws In Virginia

Virginia is a permissive open carry state, and you do not need any license to open carry.

There is no prohibition for high-end firearms except if they have magazine ammunition of more than twenty rounds.

However, machine gun owners must have a federal license before they possess such firearms in the state.

Virginia Open Gun Laws Quick View

Law/PolicyLong GunsHandgunsComments
State permit for open carry.NoNoVirginia does not require a permit for open carry in the state.
Firearm registrations for open carry.NoNoRegistration for open carry is not a requirement in Virginia except assault weapons registered with the police department upon purchase.
Assault weapon for open carry.YesNoVirginia does not permit assault weapons, except for those that are federally licensed to possess it.
Magazine limitYesYesThe magazine limit for firearms in the state is twenty rounds.
License for the owner of a firearm.Not requiredNot requiredVirginia does not provide a license to owners of firearms. But assault weapon owners must have a federal license.
Red flag lawYesYesVirginia enforces the red flag law with an extreme risk protection order issued by a court.
Castle doctrine lawYesYesVirginia is a castle doctrine state, and you can stand your ground in your home.
Background check for private dealersYesYesEvery dealer in the state must complete a criminal record background check before the purchase of a firearm, and this includes private dealers.
PreemptionYesYesThe state government reserves all rights to control and regulate the use of firearms in Virginia
Concealed carry permit.NoYesYou can conceal carry with your Virginia handgun permit
Concealed carry in personal vehicleNoYesYou can conceal carry in your car as long as you are with your permit
Open carry in SchoolsNoNoVirginia prohibits the open carry of firearms in school premises and events hosted by schools.

Where Is It Legal To Open Carry In Virginia?

Virginia allows the possession of firearms in the following areas of the state:

  • Restaurants and bars: You can open carry in restaurant areas unless there is a post prohibiting such, and you are under the influence of alcohol.
  • Private car: You can open carry in private cars that you own, or another person’s car if you have their consent to do so.
  • Roadside areas: You can open carry and possess firearms in roadside areas of Virginia.
  • State parks and forests: You can open carry in parks and forests of Virginia as long as there is a permit to do.

Where Is It Illegal To Open Carry In Virginia?

Virginia prohibits the open carry and possession of firearms in the following areas or situations:

  • Schools: You cannot open carry in any school property in the state, as well as events hosted by management of the school, open to the general public.
  • Places of worship: You cannot open carry in a place of worship or any other place where religious activity is taking place, without consent from the authority in charge.
  • Under the influence of alcohol: You cannot possess firearms or open carry while under the influence of alcohol or any other intoxicant.
  •  Courthouses: You cannot open carry in state courthouses, or courts in any political division of the state.
  • Detention facilities: You cannot open carry in any prison, detention facility, or correctional home for juveniles in the state.
  • Private properties: You cannot open carry or possess firearms in private properties of the state that have weapon restriction signs, or where the owner verbally communicated the prohibition of firearms within the premises.
  • Airport zones: You cannot open carry in safety zones of airport areas, such as terminals.
  • Campgrounds: You cannot open carry or make use of firearms in campgrounds, day-use areas, and any other place for recreational activities in the state.
  • Special events: Virginia prohibits the open carry of firearms on streets in the city of Virginia during any public event. This took effect on the first of July twenty-twenty.
  • Prohibited areas: You cannot open carry in areas of Virginia prohibited by gun laws of the state or at the federal level.

FAQs About Open Carry In Virginia

Some of the most frequently asked questions about open carry in Virginia include the following:

Is It Compulsory That I Get A Permit Before Open Carry In Virginia?

No. You do not need a permit to open carry in Virginia.

Do I Need A Permit To Conceal Carry In Virginia?

Yes. To concealed carry in Virginia, you must have the state handgun permit.

What Is The Age Requirement For Open Carry In Virginia?

You must be at least eighteen years old before you can legally open carry in Virginia.

What Is The Age Limit For Open Carry In Virginia?

To open carry in Virginia you must meet the minimum age requirement of twenty-one.

At What Age Can I Apply For Handgun Permit In Virginia?

To apply for a Virginia handgun permit, you must be twenty-one years old or more.

Does Virginia Have A Red Flag Law In The State?

Yes. The state attorney general or a law enforcement officer can petition a court of law to issue an ex parte extreme risk protection order to prohibit the use, possession, and purchase of firearms until the order elapses.

Can A Non-resident Apply For Virginia Handgun Permit?

Yes. Non-residents can also apply for the permit if they intend to conceal carry in Virginia.

Virginia also accepts out of state permits from every other state in the country.

Is Virginia A Constitutional Carry State?

No. Virginia does not permit constitutional carry in the state.

Does Virginia Allow The Open Carry Of Knives And Similar Weapons In The State?

You can open carry a legal knife in Virginia.

However, the state prohibits the possession of weapons like switchblades and ballistic knives.

It is also illegal to conceal carry razor, dirk, or machetes.

Only pocket knives with metallic blades that are not up to three inches are legal for possession in schools.

Does Virginia Have Firearm Restrictions In The State?

Firearms like machine guns and semiautomatic weapons are only legal for federally licensed owners in Virginia.

The state requires that any machine gun purchased must be registered with the state police department not less than twenty-four hours after acquisition.

Does Virginia Issue A Purchase Permit To Buy Firearms In The State?

No, Virginia does not issue purchase permits to buy firearms in the state.

However, a law took effect on the first of July twenty-twenty, prohibiting anybody without a Virginia handgun permit from purchasing more than one gun in thirty days.

Is Criminal Record Background Check Compulsory For Firearm Purchase In Virginia?

Yes. Every firearm dealer must complete a criminal record background check before selling a firearm to anybody in the state.

Not that the state gun permit does not exempt anyone from undergoing this check.

When Will My Virginia Handgun Permit Expire?

The permit is valid for five years, after which you have to apply for a renewal permit.

Do I Have A Duty To Inform Law Enforcement Officers About My Possession Of Firearms In Virginia?

No. The state gun law does not obligate anyone to inform law enforcement officers about possession of firearms when they come across one.

Does Virginia Have A Castle Doctrine Policy?

Yes, you have a duty to stand your ground in the face of an attack when you are in your home or anywhere you have legal rights to be.

Is The Use Of Deadly Force Permitted For Self-defense In Virginia?

Yes, you can make use of self-defense to prevent an attack that could lead to severe bodily harm or imminent death.

Is Firearm Training A Requirement To Apply For Virginia Handgun Permit?

Yes. You must apply for any of the state-approved firearm training before you can obtain a handgun permit.

A state-certified instructor must be in charge of firearm training.

Must I Register My Handgun After Purchase In Virginia?

There are no gun law requirements to register handguns after purchase in the state.

Relevant Open Carry Laws and Legislature In Virginia

Virginia gun laws, related to the open carry of firearms and similar acts in the state that you must know includes the following:

Magazine Limits

It is a prohibition to have more than twenty rounds magazine limit for handguns in the state.

However, the state does not restrict the use of firearms with large ammunition capacity.

Virginia gun statutes define assault weapons as any type of pistol, machine, or semi-automatic firearm that upon discharge releases one or more ammunition that causes an explosion, and can hold more than twenty round ammunitions with other features like a silencer or folding stock.

According to the law, these types of firearms are illegal for possession, either openly or in a concealed manner.

The only exception the law provides on these is permits holder than conceal such handguns while hunting for recreational games in the state involving shooting contests.

Preemption Gun Law

Virginia reserves all authority to regulate the use and possession of firearms in the state.

However, cities and local municipalities can:

  • Prohibit the discharge of firearms in parts of the local area that is very populated so as to enforce public safety.
  • Limit or restrict the possession of firearms, if loaded, on highways within their boundaries.
  • Mandate the safety maintenance of firearms, as well as its storage equipment.

Cities and counties in Virginia, especially those in the northern part, can adopt gun laws to regulate the possession of firearms, ammunition, and other relevant devices on facilities accessible to children.

Red Flag Law

Virginia red flag law took effect of the first of April, year twenty-twenty.

The law says that the state attorney general or any law enforcement agent can file a petition to a court for a sitting judge to issue an extreme risk protection order to an individual.

Such a person will not be able to possess, purchase, transport, or make use of a firearm until the order expires.

Upon receiving the order, such a person has to give up his or her handgun or any other firearm.

The order can last for at most one hundred and eighty days.

Brandishing Of Firearms

Virginia prohibits the illegal brandishing of firearms in the state.

It is illegal for anybody to don, hold, or point a firearm or any other dangerous weapon at another person in a threatening or menacing manner that causes apprehension.

It does not matter if the firearm is loaded or not.

This law exempts the use of firearms for self-defense or the legal use of weapons like in the case of law enforcement officers.

Also, it is illegal for anybody in the state to recklessly make use of firearms such that it can endanger the life of another person.

Possession Of Firearms Under The Influence Of Alcohol

Virginia prohibits the possession of firearms under the influence of alcohol, drugs, illicit, or controlled substances.

Open Carry While Hunting

It is legal to open carry while hunting in Virginia. However, while bow hunting, it is illegal to take an animal with the firearm. Only archery equipment is valid for this type of hunting.

  • It is unlawful to deliberately prevent a licensed hunting activity or similar practices like trapping of birds or fishing.
  • Also, nobody shall intentionally violate this section of the law by baiting wildlife in areas where there is a permit to hunt.

Additional Resources

Virginia Gun Laws
Virginia Concealed Carry Laws
Virginia Gun Permit Laws

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