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Loudoun County Attorneys > Blog > Criminal Defense > Overview of Virginia Gun Carrying Laws

Overview of Virginia Gun Carrying Laws

Gun laws continue to be a hot topic in the news, Congress, and in the courts. States have different laws regarding the possession and discharge of firearms, and it is important to know the laws in your state. This article gives an overview of some of the gun laws in Virginia; however the rights and rules for gun owners can change depending on the location and previous criminal history. If you have been charged with a violation of Virginia’s gun laws or a gun related crime, it is important to talk with a skilled weapons offenses attorney to make sure you take advantage of any defenses that may be available to you.

Open and Concealed Carry Laws

Virginia differentiates between carrying guns for the purpose of hunting and carrying guns for the purpose of protection. Hunters can carry guns without a permit on their own land or state game land, and can transport their guns and ammunition separately to and from their house and hunting lands.

Handguns carried for personal protection can be lawfully concealed and carried by anyone in their home or in a business that they own without a permit. They can also be legally carried or kept in a locked vehicle. Further, vendors involved in the lawful sale of guns are permitted to have and transport the guns to and from their home or business and the places they are lawfully selling them.

Concealed Carry Permits

In order to legally carry a concealed gun for personal protection in other places, the gun owner must apply for and be granted a concealed carry permit by the state of Virginia. After applying for the permit, the applicant must take a gun safety class that explains the gun laws in Virginia and also includes shooting practice. Once the owner has completed the class and been issued the permit, they must keep it with them whenever they are carrying the handgun out of view.

People who have been convicted of violating the prohibitions against concealed carry, or people that have been convicted of other crimes, are not able to attain a concealed carry permit. There are also some places where even permitted concealed carry is not allowed, including government buildings. Of course, law enforcement officers and other people working for certain government agencies are exempt from these prohibitions.


Violating the concealed carry laws can come with severe consequences. A person’s first offense is a Class 1 misdemeanor. Violating the concealed carry law a second time is a Class 6 felony. A third offense is a class 5 felony.

Leesburg Weapon Offenses Attorneys

If you are a gun owner it is crucial that you fully understand the gun laws of Virginia so that you do not unintentionally run afoul of these rules. Whether you just purchased your first gun and want to be clear on the laws, or you have been accused of a weapon-related offense, you need a skilled lawyer on your side to help navigate these complex laws. Our experienced Leesburg weapons offenses attorneys at Simms Showers, LLP, can assist you with any weapons related questions or issues you may have.

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