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The Code of Virginia is not preemptible by local statute
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I am a new Virginia gun laws and cannot find find information about the legality of discharging my firearm in VA. I am currently looking to purchase a home in Chesapeake, VA and have been looking for places with a lot of property, but still don't know if it is legal to discharge of a firearm in Chesapeake. I'm looking at property down Centerville Turnpike as you head to NC.
If I can't shoot on my property, then I will look closer to work and my current shooting ranges in the city. I've been all over the sites and "Googling" about firearm discharges in Chesapeake and haven't found any legal documentation. Can anyone point me in the right direction?
You need to contact the locality that you are moving to and ask about local ordinances. Discharging a firearm is the only thing that local jurisdictions can regulate on their own.
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I had been looking for the same kind of information from a couple of counties in the middle of the state (around Lynchburg). What I had found is that the information you are looking for is usually in the zoning and noise ordinances.
The local government should have a website where you can access the everything. If you cannot find it there I would give them a call. Hope that helps, and welcome to VA
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Here are some good local ordinance definitions. This is linked in the left menu of VGOF under "Legal Resources -> Hunting Ordinances"
http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/hunting/re ... nances.pdf
Second on the list for Chesapeake: "46. Discharging firearms or air-operated or gas-operated weapons prohibited within certain areas: check local county/city ordinance"
Ok then - how about checking here - Section 46-42
Sec. 46-42. - Discharging firearms.
It shall be unlawful to discharge any firearm, spring-propelled rifle or pistol, or air-propelled rifle or pistol from or across any land or water in the northern part of the city beginning at the Chesapeake/Virginia Beach city line at its intersection with Centerville Turnpike, continuing on Centerville Turnpike in a southerly direction to its intersection with Mount Pleasant Road, continuing on Mount Pleasant Road in a westerly direction to its intersection with the railroad tracks, continuing along the railroad tracks extending northward to its intersection with the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, continuing along the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway extending westward to its intersection with the Southern Branch of the Elizabeth River, continuing westward to its intersection with Interstate Route 64 and continuing along such road to its intersection with Interstate Route 664, continuing to its intersection with the Suffolk city line; except, that this prohibition shall not apply to shotguns discharging pellets under the following conditions:
(1) On land that is 50 acres or more of contiguous area; and
(2) Under one ownership and/or lease; and
(3) Used primarily for agricultural or conservation purposes; and
(4) The landowner or lessee has applied for a permit from the chief of police to use the property for this purpose. The permit shall be granted by the chief of police if the application meets the requirements of this section; and
(5) Any person discharging a shotgun as set forth above shall, at all times while engaged in such activity have in his or her possession written permission from the landowner or lessee to discharge such weapon on the premises.
(b) It shall be permissible to discharge firearms, etc., outside the area described in subsection (a) of this section.
(c) Any discharge of firearms on any land or water enumerated in subsections (a) or (b) of this section shall be further subject to the provisions that it is unlawful to discharge any firearm, spring-propelled rifle or pistol, or air-propelled rifle or pistol from, on, across or within 150 yards of any building, dwelling, street, sidewalk, alley, roadway or public land or public place within the city limits.
(d) This section shall not apply to the operation of a shooting event that is sponsored by an organized group, provided the written approval of the chief of police as to the safety and location of the event is obtained prior to the event.
(e) Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit the firing of firearms, rifles and submachine guns and like weapons by law enforcement agencies and military forces in the city as part of authorized training or in the performance of their duties or to any other person whose willful act is otherwise justifiable or excusable at law in the protection of life or property or is otherwise specifically authorized by law including, but not limited to, permits issued by the state department of game and inland fisheries to kill certain animals as authorized by state law.
(f) This section shall not apply to the killing of deer pursuant to Code of Virginia, § 29.1-529 (1950, as amended) on land of at least five acres that is zoned for agricultural use.
(g) It shall be permissible to discharge a firearm pursuant to Code of Virginia, § 29.1-519 (1950, as amended) within the area described in subsection (a) of this section where shotguns discharging pellets may be discharged.
Thats alot of words for a "no".
You would have to get out a map to be sure, but I think the prohibitions are in the northern more urbanized part of the city and not the more rural southern areas.
If I understand correctly, looking at a map...the pink shaded area in the following image is the area affected by the ordinance. So, basically, if you live South of the Intracoastal Waterway and the South Elizabeth River,you're outside the ordinance.
- beginning at the Chesapeake/Virginia Beach city line at its intersection with Centerville Turnpike, - continuing on Centerville Turnpike in a southerly direction to its intersection with Mount Pleasant Road,
- continuing on Mount Pleasant Road in a westerly direction to its intersection with the railroad tracks,
- continuing along the railroad tracks extending northward to its intersection with the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway,
- continuing along the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway extending westward to its intersection with the Southern Branch of the Elizabeth River,
- continuing westward to its intersection with Interstate Route 64 and continuing along such road to its intersection with Interstate Route 664, continuing to its intersection with the Suffolk city line;
Click to view the image full size.
Thanks everyone. This is really great info. Part of my home search could be based on this. I've been looking at areas South of Mt Pleasant down Centerville, so I may be ok. I'll call the locality to be sure. There are a lot of 3-5 acre lots that are located along wooded sections east of the Dismal Swamp that are interesting to me.
I'm a new owner having just picked up my first handgun, but have spent lots of time with friends and family shooting on private property in Kentucky and MI. We were perfectly legal there, but I had no idea what regulations there are here. This has been very informational.
Keep in mind that even if there are no firearms discharge regulations, you may run across noise limitations that will effectively prevent non-supressed firearms discharge.
My county limits noise at the property line to be 90dB or less. On a 3-5 acre lot, you are going to have a hard time getting more than 200 feet from a property line. 150 DB @ 200' is still about 115 DB, which is certainly loud enough to be objectionable.
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