Carrying Concealed Weapons

18.2 308

Carrying a concealed weapon in Virginia is prohibited by law. While Virginia allows open carry, permitting individuals to visibly carry a handgun in public, carrying a concealed handgun necessitates a valid permit. Violating these regulations, such as carrying a concealed handgun without a proper permit or breaching specified restrictions even with a permit, may lead to a conviction under VA Code §18.2-308. This statute is applicable not only to concealed handguns but also extends to various other concealed weapons.

Possession of a Hidden Firearm in Virginia (Virginia Code Section 18.2-308)

Violating Virginia’s concealed weapon law (VA Code §18.2-308) occurs when an individual carries a weapon on their person in a manner hidden from common observation.

Proof of Possessing A Concealed Weapon in Virginia

In order to secure a conviction for carrying a concealed weapon in Virginia, the Commonwealth is required to demonstrate that the offender had one of the specified weapons on their person, concealed from common observation. The offender must either physically possess the weapon, or the possession can be considered constructive.

The term “about his person” signifies that the weapon must be easily accessible for use or surprise. Concealed carrying in Virginia involves the weapon being “observable but having a deceptive appearance that disguises its true nature,” as defined by Virginia Code §18.2-308(A).

The weapons specified under Virginia Code §18.2-308 encompass:

1. Handguns such as pistols, revolvers, or any device intended to propel a projectile through the combustion of a combustible material.

2. Edged weapons, including dirks, bowie knives, switchblade knives, ballistic knives, machetes, razors, slingshots, spring sticks, metal knuckles, and blackjacks.

3. Flailing instruments consisting of two or more rigid parts interconnected to swing freely, commonly known as nun chucks.

4. Disc-shaped objects with at least two points or pointed blades designed for throwing or propulsion, such as throwing stars or oriental darts.

5. Any weapon-sharing characteristics similar to those listed above.

Penalties for Concealed Weapon Possession in Virginia

Committing a first offense of carrying a concealed weapon in Virginia constitutes a Class 1 misdemeanor, resulting in potential consequences such as a jail term of up to 12 months, a fine of up to $2500, or a combination of both. A second offense, as outlined in VA Code §18.2-308, elevates the charge to a Class 6 felony, carrying penalties of up to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $2500. A third offense escalates the severity to a Class 5 felony, leading to potential imprisonment for up to 10 years and a fine of up to $2500.

Exceptions to the Prohibition of Concealed Weapon Possession in Virginia

Possessing a valid concealed carry permit exempts an individual from violating VA Code §18.2-308. However, certain restrictions apply. It is impermissible to carry a concealed weapon in public while under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs (VA Code §18.2-308.12(A)), and carrying a concealed weapon onto the premises of an alcohol-serving establishment while consuming an alcoholic beverage is also prohibited (VA Code §18.2-308.012(B)).

Furthermore, the law explicitly states that VA Code §18.2-308 does not pertain to the concealed carrying of a weapon in Virginia under the following circumstances:

1. Within a person’s home or curtilage

2. At their own place of business

3. While engaged in hunting

4. Inside a vehicle, if the weapon is securely contained within a container

5. If the individual is a law enforcement officer, retired law enforcement officer, Commonwealth’s Attorney, or Judge

6. For individuals traveling to or at a shooting range, place of purchase or repair, firearms training course, or weapon show

7. Postal carriers, state correctional institution officers or guards, conservators of the peace, or noncustodial employees of the Department of Corrections when performing their duties (or during transit to or from their official duties)

Concealed Handgun Possession in Virginia While Intoxicated

Individuals possessing a concealed handgun permit may be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor if found carrying a concealed weapon in a public space while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, as outlined in VA Code §18.2-308.012(A). This offense carries a penalty of up to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $2500. Additionally, the perpetrator is barred from applying for a concealed handgun permit for a period of five years.

Concealed Handgun Possession in Virginia While Publicly Consuming Alcohol

According to VA Code §18.2-308.012(B), individuals with a concealed carry permit can face a Class 2 misdemeanor if they consume alcohol while carrying their handgun onto the premises of a restaurant or club that serves alcohol.

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