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Survey of Concealed Weapon Laws in Virginia


The Commonwealth of Virginia employs a number of restrictions on carrying concealed weapons. In order to gain a full appreciation of this legal topic, the following sections will explore concealed carry definitions, exceptions, and penalties.

What are Virginia’s Laws Concerning Concealed Weapons?

As established in Code of Virginia 18.2-308, it is unlawful to carry a concealed weapon in Virginia. In terms of eligible weapons, Section 18-2-308 applies to:

  • Firearms — Including handguns, shotguns, and similar projectile-based weapons;
  • Blades — Including knives, switchblades, machetes, and similar bladed weapons;
  • Flails — Including nunchucks, shuriken, and other chained weapons; and
  • Discs — Including throwing stars, darts, and similar throwing weapons.

Are There Exceptions to Virginia’s Concealed Weapon Laws?

As detailed in Section 18-2-308, there are two major categories of exceptions to Virginia’s concealed weapon laws.

On one level, concealed carry laws in Virginia do not apply to certain government officials in the performance of their duties, including:

  • USPS mail carriers;
  • Prison officers and guards;
  • Officers of the court; and
  • Harbormaster of Hopewell, Virginia.

On the second level, concealed carry laws in Virginia do not apply to certain individuals, including people who are:

  • In their home or place of residence;
  • At their place of business;
  • Hunting in a lawful manner;
  • Police officers or other law enforcement officials;
  • Going to or coming from a shooting range with unloaded weapons;
  • Going to or coming from a gun exhibition or other event with unloaded weapons;
  • Going to or coming from a firearms training course with unloaded weapons; and
  • Attorneys or judges employed by the Commonwealth of Virginia.

What are the Penalties for Violating Virginia Concealed Weapon Laws?

As outlined in Section 18-2-308, a person who violates Virginia laws prohibiting concealed weapons can face harsh penalties. Moreover, the penalties increase for subsequent offenses. Please find below a breakdown of the penalty structure for a violation of concealed weapon laws in Virginia.

  • First Offense constitutes a Class 1 misdemeanor. The potential penalties for a Class 1 misdemeanor include 12 months in county jail and $2,500 in fines.
  • Second Offense constitutes a Class 6 felony. The potential penalties for a Class 6 felony include 60 months in prison or 12 months in jail as well as $2,500 in fines.
  • Third or Subsequent Offense constitutes a Class 5 felony. The potential penalties for a Class 6 felony include 10 years in prison or 12 months in jail as well as $2,500 in fines.

Reach Out to Us Today for Help

If you are dealing with a violation of concealed carry laws or other weapons offenses in Virginia, the potential penalties are extremely serious. That is why it is highly advisable to seek counsel from a skilled criminal defense lawyer. The lawyers at Simms Showers LLP, servicing Leesburg, Winchester, Fairfax, and Manassas, know how to represent criminal defendants in Virginia, with experience fighting charges for weapons offenses and other violations. If you need legal help with criminal defense, contact us today for a free initial consultation.



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Contact the Leesburg, Winchester & Loudoun County Attorneys of Simms Showers LLP today

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