Open carry questions (new to Virginia)

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Open carry questions (new to Virginia)

Postby diddledeedoo » Sat, 25 Nov 2017 18:45:24

Hello!

I am new to Virginia. Back out West (places like New Mexico, West Texas, Wyoming etc.) - open carry was normal and nobody felt weird about a guy coming into a gas station with a pistol strapped at their hip. I am fine with that.

We moved back to Florida and it was whole different ball game, no open carry etc.

Now we moved to Virginia where we intend to stay a while.

I am trying to educate myself about the laws but also about the local gun culture and sensitivities. Hence, I have some questions:

1) We live in rural Central/South Central Virginia (south of Roanoke). Is open carry normal in Virginia (outside of counties/cities that prohibit it)? In other words, if I were to show up around town running my normal errands with a gun at the hip, would that cause an issue? Would people freak out? Would someone call the police in panic?

2) How about riding my horse about with my 30-30 repeater in a scabbard?

I have spent some time around places like Charlottesville or Lynchburg and have not seen people open carry. I assume it would not be advisable to do so in these places even if it is legal? How about smaller towns?

I tried reading the state laws (linked via the state police website) and it seems Virginia is one of those states where open carry is legal but the counties and cities can preempt state law. Am I correct in saying so?

Thank you for all your help!


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Re: Open carry questions (new to Virginia)

Postby AlanM » Sat, 25 Nov 2017 19:12:22

I've been living in the Charlottesville area since 2011 and have been open carrying every time I leave the house (except when I know I'm going somewhere I can't maintain control of my weapon, such as a hospital).
I've ONLY had ONE negative comment in all that time and I'm pretty sure that was from an out of stater in town for UVA graduation. He told me his grandmother saw my gun and she got scared.
I open carry in Walmart, Kroger stores, restaurants, pretty much anywhere including my doctor's office (which is in a non-posted building).
Rarely do I get any comments and when I do they are positive or just questions about what I'm carrying.

Note that Albemarle county is a lone blue county in a sea of red ones.
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Re: Open carry questions (new to Virginia)

Postby diddledeedoo » Sat, 25 Nov 2017 19:46:57

AlanM wrote:I've been living in the Charlottesville area since 2011 and have been open carrying every time I leave the house (except when I know I'm going somewhere I can't maintain control of my weapon, such as a hospital).
I've ONLY had ONE negative comment in all that time and I'm pretty sure that was from an out of stater in town for UVA graduation. He told me his grandmother saw my gun and she got scared.
I open carry in Walmart, Kroger stores, restaurants, pretty much anywhere including my doctor's office (which is in a non-posted building).
Rarely do I get any comments and when I do they are positive or just questions about what I'm carrying.

Note that Albemarle county is a lone blue county in a sea of red ones.


Wow, that's so nice to hear! Thank you!! :)

I guess I just got used to openly carrying out west and then we moved to Florida and that was a different beast altogether. Now that I am in another open carry state such as Virginia, it is a pleasure. Thank you again Sir.


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Re: Open carry questions (new to Virginia)

Postby MarcSpaz » Sat, 25 Nov 2017 20:31:48

Sections 18.2-279 to 18.2-311.2 of the Code of Virginia apply to carrying of weapons (http://law.lis.virginia.gov/vacode). I would recommend you read all of it and consult an attorney for any concerns or questions.

Something specific to you question about law that you may find interesting...

§ 18.2-287.4. Carrying loaded firearms in public areas prohibited; penalty.

It shall be unlawful for any person to carry a loaded (a) semi-automatic center-fire rifle or pistol that expels single or multiple projectiles by action of an explosion of a combustible material and is equipped at the time of the offense with a magazine that will hold more than 20 rounds of ammunition or designed by the manufacturer to accommodate a silencer or equipped with a folding stock or (b) shotgun with a magazine that will hold more than seven rounds of the longest ammunition for which it is chambered on or about his person on any public street, road, alley, sidewalk, public right-of-way, or in any public park or any other place of whatever nature that is open to the public in the Cities of Alexandria, Chesapeake, Fairfax, Falls Church, Newport News, Norfolk, Richmond, or Virginia Beach or in the Counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Henrico, Loudoun, or Prince William.

The provisions of this section shall not apply to law-enforcement officers, licensed security guards, military personnel in the performance of their lawful duties, or any person having a valid concealed handgun permit or to any person actually engaged in lawful hunting or lawful recreational shooting activities at an established shooting range or shooting contest. Any person violating the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

The exemptions set forth in §§ 18.2-308 and 18.2-308.016 shall apply, mutatis mutandis, to the provisions of this section.


I'm in Northern VA., but travel all over the state for recreational purposes. In my personal experiance, generally speaking, people in densely populated areas are much less receptive to open carry than areas with lower populations. Same goes for high tourist area's.

An example would be, in Alexandria, Arlington, Virginia Beach, Yorktown... lots of people would be very upset... regardless of legality. Generally, I would say that east of Route 95, you will be more prone to have a negative response (if any).


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Re: Open carry questions (new to Virginia)

Postby diddledeedoo » Sat, 25 Nov 2017 21:26:37

MarcSpaz wrote:Sections 18.2-279 to 18.2-311.2 of the Code of Virginia apply to carrying of weapons (http://law.lis.virginia.gov/vacode). I would recommend you read all of it and consult an attorney for any concerns or questions.

Something specific to you question about law that you may find interesting...

§ 18.2-287.4. Carrying loaded firearms in public areas prohibited; penalty.

It shall be unlawful for any person to carry a loaded (a) semi-automatic center-fire rifle or pistol that expels single or multiple projectiles by action of an explosion of a combustible material and is equipped at the time of the offense with a magazine that will hold more than 20 rounds of ammunition or designed by the manufacturer to accommodate a silencer or equipped with a folding stock or (b) shotgun with a magazine that will hold more than seven rounds of the longest ammunition for which it is chambered on or about his person on any public street, road, alley, sidewalk, public right-of-way, or in any public park or any other place of whatever nature that is open to the public in the Cities of Alexandria, Chesapeake, Fairfax, Falls Church, Newport News, Norfolk, Richmond, or Virginia Beach or in the Counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Henrico, Loudoun, or Prince William.

The provisions of this section shall not apply to law-enforcement officers, licensed security guards, military personnel in the performance of their lawful duties, or any person having a valid concealed handgun permit or to any person actually engaged in lawful hunting or lawful recreational shooting activities at an established shooting range or shooting contest. Any person violating the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

The exemptions set forth in §§ 18.2-308 and 18.2-308.016 shall apply, mutatis mutandis, to the provisions of this section.


I'm in Northern VA., but travel all over the state for recreational purposes. In my personal experiance, generally speaking, people in densely populated areas are much less receptive to open carry than areas with lower populations. Same goes for high tourist area's.

An example would be, in Alexandria, Arlington, Virginia Beach, Yorktown... lots of people would be very upset... regardless of legality. Generally, I would say that east of Route 95, you will be more prone to have a negative response (if any).


Thank you Sir. Your comment on consulting an attorney is a smart one, I intend to do so. However, I take the section you quoted to not pertain to me. I only own three firearms, a single action Ruger Vaquero .45LC, a 9mm Beretta and a 30-30 repeater Marlin 336 rifle. None of these come close to 20 rounds in a magazine. I do not intend to carry a gun (or even plan on visiting the places listed). My "use case" is pretty simple. Going to town for gas, lunch. coffee, going to Roanoke or Lynchburg on business, riding my horse out in the national forest or in wildlife management areas, riding my horse to town for coffee, so on and so on. When I ride out, I ride with my rifle in a scabbard most often.


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Re: Open carry questions (new to Virginia)

Postby smltooner » Sat, 25 Nov 2017 22:52:08

I live in Franklin County and travel in all counties south of Roanoke and Lynchburg. I seldom open carry, but when I do I've never had anyone give me a second glance. I see people OCing in grocery stores, gas stations, convenience stores, fast food restaurants, etc. all the time and no one seems to notice or care.
Check out this website, http://friendorfoe.us/. Look at the map and it will show specific businesses that are very positive to very negative on open carry.
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Re: Open carry questions (new to Virginia)

Postby MarcSpaz » Sat, 25 Nov 2017 22:57:36

I was just trying to provide general example of the few State regulations... more so than an expectation for you to travel there.

Laws revolving around openly carrying or concealed carrying in National and State park in VA is complex to say the least. Both open and concealed carry (if you have a CHP) are generally allowed, with some exceptions. Those exceptions are the complex part.

That said, carry is not permitted in buildings belonging to an executive agency. Sadly, the Governor's Executive Order includes State park buildings. Of course, no firearms are allowed in federal buildings in National parks either. Also, you can concealed-carry but not open carry in Department of Game and Inland Fisheries-owned lands [4 VAC 15-40-60G].

Riding with your rifle in a scabbard could be problematic. It is illegal to conceal carry a rifle in Virginia. Concealed is defined as hidden from common observation or to disguise the firearm in such a way as to hid the true nature of the firearm. Additionally, federal law states that it would also have to "not be readily accessible" to the "transporter".

So, if you carry a loaded rifle in a completely enclosed scabbard, you're committing federal and state jailable offenses. It would have to be unloaded and out of reach, your scabbard would have to be more like a holster so everyone can easily tell you are carrying a rifle or you have to open carry it.


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Re: Open carry questions (new to Virginia)

Postby diddledeedoo » Sat, 25 Nov 2017 23:47:30

MarcSpaz wrote:I was just trying to provide general example of the few State regulations... more so than an expectation for you to travel there.

Laws revolving around openly carrying or concealed carrying in National and State park in VA is complex to say the least. Both open and concealed carry (if you have a CHP) are generally allowed, with some exceptions. Those exceptions are the complex part.

That said, carry is not permitted in buildings belonging to an executive agency. Sadly, the Governor's Executive Order includes State park buildings. Of course, no firearms are allowed in federal buildings in National parks either. Also, you can concealed-carry but not open carry in Department of Game and Inland Fisheries-owned lands [4 VAC 15-40-60G].

Riding with your rifle in a scabbard could be problematic. It is illegal to conceal carry a rifle in Virginia. Concealed is defined as hidden from common observation or to disguise the firearm in such a way as to hid the true nature of the firearm. Additionally, federal law states that it would also have to "not be readily accessible" to the "transporter".

So, if you carry a loaded rifle in a completely enclosed scabbard, you're committing federal and state jailable offenses. It would have to be unloaded and out of reach, your scabbard would have to be more like a holster so everyone can easily tell you are carrying a rifle or you have to open carry it.


Thank you for the additional information. My rifle scabbard covers about 75% of the rifle - I think it is fairly obvious what it is. However, I do understand that if it is open to debate, it would be open to being fined/prosecuted etc. Perhaps I would need to find a scabbard that leaves more open so that it is more obvious. Note I did not say National Park but rather National Forest(s). I believe the National parks are much more restrictive than the national forests, however, I could be wrong?

Thank you again for spending the time!

P.S. I do my own leather work. Would a rifle scabbard such as this one be enough to make it all obvious? I found it online but it would be pretty straightforward for me to make something similar

https://www.kendalenseigne.com/wp-conte ... rd-1_2.jpg
Last edited by diddledeedoo on Sat, 25 Nov 2017 23:55:43, edited 1 time in total.


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Re: Open carry questions (new to Virginia)

Postby diddledeedoo » Sat, 25 Nov 2017 23:48:28

smltooner wrote:I live in Franklin County and travel in all counties south of Roanoke and Lynchburg. I seldom open carry, but when I do I've never had anyone give me a second glance. I see people OCing in grocery stores, gas stations, convenience stores, fast food restaurants, etc. all the time and no one seems to notice or care.
Check out this website, http://friendorfoe.us/. Look at the map and it will show specific businesses that are very positive to very negative on open carry.


Thank you Sir, we too are going to be in Franklin county very soon - right now in Greene county a few hours to the north of Franklin county.


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Re: Open carry questions (new to Virginia)

Postby MarcSpaz » Sun, 26 Nov 2017 03:58:05

Again, I am not a lawyer and I would confirm with one... but in my personal opinion, that type of scabbard should be okay to carry a rifle while loaded. I feel more than enough is exposed.

Please do get confirmation though. Especially a person who is now in private practice, but used to be a Common Wealth attorney. They would have the inside track as to how the state proceeds with prosecutions of items such as this.

You can also contact your Delegate or State Senator and request that they send the State AG a request for a formal opinion. The AG's office is the group that has the ultimate decision making authority.


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Re: Open carry questions (new to Virginia)

Postby diddledeedoo » Sun, 26 Nov 2017 08:41:20

MarcSpaz wrote:Again, I am not a lawyer and I would confirm with one... but in my personal opinion, that type of scabbard should be okay to carry a rifle while loaded. I feel more than enough is exposed.

Please do get confirmation though. Especially a person who is now in private practice, but used to be a Common Wealth attorney. They would have the inside track as to how the state proceeds with prosecutions of items such as this.

You can also contact your Delegate or State Senator and request that they send the State AG a request for a formal opinion. The AG's office is the group that has the ultimate decision making authority.


Thank you Sir, will do so. I will report back here on the professional opinions I received, maybe someone else has similar questions in the future.


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Re: Open carry questions (new to Virginia)

Postby Viper21 » Sun, 26 Nov 2017 12:37:14

I'm a CC kinda guy. I CC everyday, everywhere. I have no problem with OC, just prefer to CC. Having said that, I probably see with my own eyes, on average 1-2 people OC per month. Admittedly, I live in a pretty rural part of Rockbridge County. Most of the places I frequent nobody cares. The only time I've ever witnessed someone get their panties in a knot over an OC'er was in Charlottesville.

Seems panties get pretty tight in most urban areas, regardless of size. Lexington city is a pretty offended place just like Charlottesville, even though they are both completely surrounded by rural environments full of freedom loving, constitution supporting Americans.


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Re: Open carry questions (new to Virginia)

Postby diddledeedoo » Sun, 26 Nov 2017 21:15:16

Viper21 wrote:I'm a CC kinda guy. I CC everyday, everywhere. I have no problem with OC, just prefer to CC. Having said that, I probably see with my own eyes, on average 1-2 people OC per month. Admittedly, I live in a pretty rural part of Rockbridge County. Most of the places I frequent nobody cares. The only time I've ever witnessed someone get their panties in a knot over an OC'er was in Charlottesville.

Seems panties get pretty tight in most urban areas, regardless of size. Lexington city is a pretty offended place just like Charlottesville, even though they are both completely surrounded by rural environments full of freedom loving, constitution supporting Americans.


Thank you kindly, Sir, good to know information!


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Re: Open carry questions (new to Virginia)

Postby SHMIV » Mon, 27 Nov 2017 04:27:57

This subject seems pretty well hashed out, and there's little for me to add, except to list some of the areas in which I have openly carried.

I used to live in Williamsburg; I carried openly there, without issue. Williamsburg is a fairly lefty place; it's the home of William and Mary, after all. The colonial area attracts the lefty types, too; it's a great place to start, when you want to rewrite history.

As they are nearby, I have also carried openly in Yorktown, Newport News, Richmond (and it's suburbs), and Virginia Beach, all without incident.

Culpeper, and it's surrounding areas; I have carried without incident, in that region, too. By the way, you would be hard pressed to find a more pro-2A guy than Sheriff Scott Jenkins, of Culpeper County. I am fairly convinced that his goal is to see every single one of his constituents armed.

As far as Open Carry, in general, goes, my experience has been that most people are oblivious to the world around them. I am a fairly short guy, and very slender. I tend to carry a large revolver, with a 6 inch barrel. It's pretty obvious on me. (Quote from my mother: "That gun is wearing YOU") Still, though, very few notice. Usually, it's the short kids, at eye level with my beltline, that say stuff. Parents just shoosh them and move on.

Anyway, that has been my experience. Your mileage may vary, consult a lawyer, etc.

Lastly, welcome to Virginia, and welcome to the Forum; we hope that you like it, here.

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Re: Open carry questions (new to Virginia)

Postby diddledeedoo » Mon, 27 Nov 2017 08:49:46

SHMIV wrote:This subject seems pretty well hashed out, and there's little for me to add, except to list some of the areas in which I have openly carried.

I used to live in Williamsburg; I carried openly there, without issue. Williamsburg is a fairly lefty place; it's the home of William and Mary, after all. The colonial area attracts the lefty types, too; it's a great place to start, when you want to rewrite history.

As they are nearby, I have also carried openly in Yorktown, Newport News, Richmond (and it's suburbs), and Virginia Beach, all without incident.

Culpeper, and it's surrounding areas; I have carried without incident, in that region, too. By the way, you would be hard pressed to find a more pro-2A guy than Sheriff Scott Jenkins, of Culpeper County. I am fairly convinced that his goal is to see every single one of his constituents armed.

As far as Open Carry, in general, goes, my experience has been that most people are oblivious to the world around them. I am a fairly short guy, and very slender. I tend to carry a large revolver, with a 6 inch barrel. It's pretty obvious on me. (Quote from my mother: "That gun is wearing YOU") Still, though, very few notice. Usually, it's the short kids, at eye level with my beltline, that say stuff. Parents just shoosh them and move on.

Anyway, that has been my experience. Your mileage may vary, consult a lawyer, etc.

Lastly, welcome to Virginia, and welcome to the Forum; we hope that you like it, here.

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Sir, you just about cracked me up with the "gun is wearing you" remark - it kind of describes me as well. I am myself a small fella, 5ft7in and weigh about 140lbs and wear my Vaquero single action pistol as open carry firearm so I reckon I fit the same description. Thank you kindly for sharing your experiences.


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Re: Open carry questions (new to Virginia)

Postby BlackKnight » Thu, 07 Dec 2017 05:30:19

Hello. I just saw this and wanted to toss my 2 cents into the pot. I live in Charlottesville and open carry a lot during warm weather. In cool or cold weather I carry concealed. In my area most people pay little to no attention to open carry. The thing to remember is to conduct yourself in a respectful manner and nobody knows you are around. I have been approached by some out of state visitors who were interested in Virginia gun laws and open carry in particular. I have had only one bad experience and that was from an anti-gun know it all who really didn't have the sense to know how to poor water out of a boot.


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