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Virginia Open Carry: Laws, Requirements, Application & Online Training

In the United States, the Second Amendment guarantees the right to bear arms, a right that holds particular significance in the state of Virginia. However, even within this context, there are intricate gun laws in place that both encourage responsible firearm use and establish limitations on where and what types of weapons can be used. This article delves into the complex landscape of Virginia’s gun laws, covering open carry, firearm possession, and more.

Exploring Virginia’s Gun Laws: An In-Depth Overview

Virginia Gun Laws Summary

Virginia operates as a “shall-issue” state, where handgun permits are issued by the department of police, both to residents and non-residents. A criminal record background check is mandatory to purchase firearms, but purchase permits are not issued. Individuals seeking a handgun permit must be at least twenty-one years old.

Open Carry in Virginia

Virginia is recognized as a permissive open-carry state, meaning no license is required for open-carry. Notably, there are no restrictions on high-end firearms, unless they possess magazine ammunition with more than twenty rounds. However, ownership of machine guns mandates a federal license.

A Quick View of Virginia’s Open Carry Laws

Law/PolicyLong GunsHandgunsComments
State permit for open carryNoNoVirginia does not require a permit for open carry.
Firearm registrations for open carryNoNoRegistration for open carry is not required, except for assault weapons registered upon purchase.
Assault weapon for open carryYesNoAssault weapons are allowed with federal licensing.
Magazine limitYesYesThe magazine limit for firearms is twenty rounds.
License for firearm ownersNot req.Not req.No license is provided for firearm owners; assault weapon owners require federal licensing.
Red flag lawYesYesVirginia enforces red flag law through extreme risk protection orders.
Castle doctrine lawYesYesVirginia upholds the castle doctrine law, allowing self-defense in one’s home.
Background check for private dealersYesYesA criminal record background check is required for firearm purchases from any dealer, including private ones.
PreemptionYesYesThe state reserves rights for firearm regulation.
Concealed carry permitNoYesConcealed carry is allowed with a Virginia handgun permit.
Concealed carry in personal vehicleNoYesConcealed carry in a personal vehicle is allowed with a permit.
Open carry in SchoolsNoNoOpen carry is prohibited on school premises and at school-hosted events.

Where You Can Open Carry in Virginia

Virginia allows open carry of Weapons laws in various areas, including restaurants and bars (unless prohibited and under the influence), private cars (with owner’s or driver’s consent), roadside areas, and state parks and forests (with a permit).

See also  Mississippi Open Carry

Where Open Carry Is Prohibited

Virginia restricts open carry in locations such as schools, places of worship, courthouses, airport zones, and during certain public events. Private properties with weapon restriction signs and areas prohibited by state or federal laws are also off-limits.

Unraveling Virginia’s Firearm Restrictions

Virginia places specific restrictions on firearms, notably machine guns and semiautomatic weapons, which require federal licensing. The state enforces a twenty-round magazine limit for handguns, though it does not restrict firearms with larger ammunition capacity. The complex interplay between state and local regulations adds further layers to the understanding of firearm use in Virginia.

In Conclusion

Virginia’s approach to the Second Amendment and firearm usage exemplifies a delicate balance between upholding constitutional rights and ensuring public safety. By comprehending the nuances of open carry laws, firearm possession regulations, and related statutes, residents and visitors can navigate the state’s firearm landscape responsibly and lawfully.


Q1. Is a permit required for open carry in Virginia?

No, open carry does not necessitate a permit in Virginia.

Q2. Do I need a permit for concealed carry?

Yes, a state handgun permit is required for concealed carry.

Q3. What is the minimum age for open carry?

You must be at least eighteen years old to open carry in Virginia.

Q4. What age do I need to be to apply for a handgun permit?

Applicants must be at least twenty-one years old for a Virginia handgun permit.

Q5. Can non-residents apply for a Virginia handgun permit?

Yes, non-residents can apply for the permit if they intend to carry concealed in Virginia, which also recognizes out-of-state permits.

See also  West Virginia Gun Permit

Q6. What are Virginia’s laws on guns?

Virginia generally allows open carry without a permit and concealed carry with an easy-to-obtain permit, along with strong self-defense laws.

Q7. How many guns can a person own in Virginia?

There is no limit on the number of firearms a person can own under Virginia state law.

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