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Thread: National Forests in Virginia: Open Carry Experiances?

  1. #1
    Regular Member Miss Black Rifle Disease's Avatar
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    National Forests in Virginia: Open Carry Experiances?

    Hello all, first post for me. Thanks for a very informative forum.

    Through my own research I have found there to be a very large vortex of "no one knows for sure" when it comes to the question of open carry in a National Forest in Virginia. I have contacted my local Ranger district and spoken to a law enforcement officer. There answer is this: Only concealed carry is legal with a CCP. When I ask about the hunting season exception they seem to not want to provide an answer. I also asked him straight up as to what his action would be if he encountered me in his jurisdiction open carrying, his response: I would have to research that.

    Basically as anyone who has tried to figure this out in Virginia knows, this whole topic is ridiculously convoluted. So because the laws are unclear it seems this really comes down to what a National Forest LEO or DGIF officer would do if they came across you practicing open carry regardless of what the law actually is. Even if someone can make a case that it's legal, if the LEO perceives a violation you may very well wind up with a summons or even a weapon confiscation or potentially an arrest.

    So my question: Has anyone had an encounter with a LEO while open carrying in a National Forest in Virgina?

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    Regular Member papa bear's Avatar
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    i only know about open carry in state parks and of course national parks. you might want to try anfd put this in a general topic so some of the other states can get in on it
    Luke 22:36 ; 36Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.

    "guns are like a Parachute, if you don't have one when you need it, you will not need one again"
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    i you call a CHP a CCW then you are really stupid. period.

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    Regular Member Miss Black Rifle Disease's Avatar
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    Experiences in other states aren't relevant as National Forest Ranger District's enforce gun laws based on the state they are in and they're interpretation of such. To my knowledge there is no Federal regulations specifically regarding firearms in Dept of Agriculture National Forest lands. But please correct me if I am mistaken.
    Last edited by Miss Black Rifle Disease; 06-06-2012 at 03:17 PM.

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    Regular Member papa bear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miss Black Rifle Disease View Post
    Experiences in other states aren't relevant as National Forest Ranger District's enforce gun laws based on the state they are in and they're interpretation of such. To my knowledge there is no Federal regulations specifically regarding firearms in Dept of Agriculture National Forest lands. But please correct me if I am mistaken.
    the general rules apply in all national forest, no matter what the state. if they have to go by the state (that they are in), then all of them would

    there is a difference between national forest and national parks
    Luke 22:36 ; 36Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.

    "guns are like a Parachute, if you don't have one when you need it, you will not need one again"
    - unknown

    i you call a CHP a CCW then you are really stupid. period.

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    Regular Member Miss Black Rifle Disease's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by papa bear View Post
    the general rules apply in all national forest, no matter what the state. if they have to go by the state (that they are in), then all of them would

    there is a difference between national forest and national parks
    I had an extensive conversation with NFS Ranger district manager today and according to what he told me you are incorrect. NFS firearms rules are applied per the relevant state laws. There are no Federal laws pertaining to firearms in National Forests and that it's left up to individual Forest Supervisors to set policy on this topic.

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    Regular Member papa bear's Avatar
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    sorry i am sending this over you head. my poor sentence structure. thank you for agreeing with me
    Luke 22:36 ; 36Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.

    "guns are like a Parachute, if you don't have one when you need it, you will not need one again"
    - unknown

    i you call a CHP a CCW then you are really stupid. period.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Miss Black Rifle Disease View Post
    I had an extensive conversation with NFS Ranger district manager today and according to what he told me you are incorrect. NFS firearms rules are applied per the relevant state laws. There are no Federal laws pertaining to firearms in National Forests and that it's left up to individual Forest Supervisors to set policy on this topic.
    I OC on the AT alot I have not had any encounter with a LEO. Now as most of you now the AT is under the National Park Services Not NF therefore its legal. Be careful who you talk to about this. I too spoke with NF rangers that said you can only CC in the NF w/permit except for hunting season. I am not really sure who to believe on this matter. So when I go out I stick to the AT or stay within the Shenadoah national park to be safe.

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    Regular Member Miss Black Rifle Disease's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by papa bear View Post
    sorry i am sending this over you head. my poor sentence structure. thank you for agreeing with me
    Poor sentences don't make "over the head" points. From what I gather I do not agree with your position. State law governs Natl Forest, not NF policy. If that is what you are saying then I'm guessing English is your second language?

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    Regular Member papa bear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miss Black Rifle Disease View Post
    Poor sentences don't make "over the head" points. From what I gather I do not agree with your position. State law governs Natl Forest, not NF policy. If that is what you are saying then I'm guessing English is your second language?
    try turning that around, national forest policy is to go by state laws. there does that work better for you

    BTW would that not be the policy for all NF no matter what state they are in?
    Luke 22:36 ; 36Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.

    "guns are like a Parachute, if you don't have one when you need it, you will not need one again"
    - unknown

    i you call a CHP a CCW then you are really stupid. period.

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    Thumbs down

    Quote Originally Posted by Grapeshot View Post
    According to what mr grapeshot posted a person can on oc with a valid chp in a nf.....

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    Regular Member papa bear's Avatar
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    is that OC or CC? what about a state that does not require a CCP? and what about a state that allows OC in the parks of their state?
    Luke 22:36 ; 36Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.

    "guns are like a Parachute, if you don't have one when you need it, you will not need one again"
    - unknown

    i you call a CHP a CCW then you are really stupid. period.

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    Quote Originally Posted by papa bear View Post
    is that OC or CC? what about a state that does not require a CCP? and what about a state that allows OC in the parks of their state?
    Still the NF has its own set of rules that have to be followed....sucks I know. What I do is explore and backcountry camp various national and state parks in Virginia because OC is legal now year round. Then in the fall during hunting season I venture out into the NF.

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    OC in GW National Forest

    Quote Originally Posted by Miss Black Rifle Disease View Post
    Hello all, first post for me. Thanks for a very informative forum.

    Through my own research I have found there to be a very large vortex of "no one knows for sure" when it comes to the question of open carry in a National Forest in Virginia. I have contacted my local Ranger district and spoken to a law enforcement officer. There answer is this: Only concealed carry is legal with a CCP. When I ask about the hunting season exception they seem to not want to provide an answer. I also asked him straight up as to what his action would be if he encountered me in his jurisdiction open carrying, his response: I would have to research that.

    Basically as anyone who has tried to figure this out in Virginia knows, this whole topic is ridiculously convoluted. So because the laws are unclear it seems this really comes down to what a National Forest LEO or DGIF officer would do if they came across you practicing open carry regardless of what the law actually is. Even if someone can make a case that it's legal, if the LEO perceives a violation you may very well wind up with a summons or even a weapon confiscation or potentially an arrest.

    So my question: Has anyone had an encounter with a LEO while open carrying in a National Forest in Virgina?
    I have called the George Washington National Forest Dry River District HQ the three times I have opened carried in the forest to check to make sure I was not breaking the law. They have told me they follow the local state law if you have a ccp you can carry concealed if you do not you may carry open be aware you are near the West Virgina border and I do not know there laws about open carry. What is legal in VA is legal in the Forest.
    Last edited by Dcarey; 06-13-2012 at 03:13 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dcarey View Post
    I have called the George Washington National Forest Dry River District HQ the three times I have opened carried in the forest to check to make sure I was not breaking the law. They have told me they follow the local state law if you have a ccp you can carry concealed if you do not you may carry open be aware you are near the West Virgina border and I do not know there laws about open carry. What is legal in VA is legal in the Forest.
    If this is true, great! Would you happen to have the number you called?

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    Regular Member Miss Black Rifle Disease's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dcarey View Post
    I have called the George Washington National Forest Dry River District HQ the three times I have opened carried in the forest to check to make sure I was not breaking the law. They have told me they follow the local state law if you have a ccp you can carry concealed if you do not you may carry open be aware you are near the West Virgina border and I do not know there laws about open carry. What is legal in VA is legal in the Forest.
    I've had two different rangers from two different Ranger districts tell me otherwise. And both stated, only during hunting season may you OC. And there is this: See page 4 under Fireworks and Firearms as well as this:

    4VAC15-40-60

    Hunting with dogs or possession of weapons in certain locations during closed season.

    A. Department-owned lands west of the Blue Ridge Mountains and national forest lands statewide. It shall be unlawful to have in possession a bow, crossbow, or any firearm that is not unloaded and cased or dismantled on all national forest lands statewide and on department-owned lands and on other lands managed by the department under cooperative agreement located in counties west of the Blue Ridge Mountains except during the period when it is lawful to take bear, deer, grouse, pheasant, quail, rabbit, raccoon, squirrel, turkey, or waterfowl on these lands.
    Last edited by Miss Black Rifle Disease; 06-14-2012 at 03:47 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Miss Black Rifle Disease View Post
    I've had two different rangers from two different Ranger districts tell me otherwise. And both stated, only during hunting season may you OC. And there is this: See page 4 under Fireworks and Firearms as well as this:

    4VAC15-40-60

    Hunting with dogs or possession of weapons in certain locations during closed season.

    A. Department-owned lands west of the Blue Ridge Mountains and national forest lands statewide. It shall be unlawful to have in possession a bow, crossbow, or any firearm that is not unloaded and cased or dismantled on all national forest lands statewide and on department-owned lands and on other lands managed by the department under cooperative agreement located in counties west of the Blue Ridge Mountains except during the period when it is lawful to take bear, deer, grouse, pheasant, quail, rabbit, raccoon, squirrel, turkey, or waterfowl on these lands.
    your correct I just called and asked myself

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    Regular Member papa bear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dcarey View Post
    I have called the George Washington National Forest Dry River District HQ the three times I have opened carried in the forest to check to make sure I was not breaking the law. They have told me they follow the local state law if you have a ccp you can carry concealed if you do not you may carry open be aware you are near the West Virgina border and I do not know there laws about open carry. What is legal in VA is legal in the Forest.
    this sort of reminds me of a thread from this site or another that claimed, in WV, if you step into the woods (i assume public), then you fall under the jurisdiction of the wildlife dept. which has a total set of firearm laws

    but, i do wonder if the cite that MBRD posted, is an older cite from before the state of VA allowed open carry in state parks. since the NF says they go by state laws
    Luke 22:36 ; 36Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.

    "guns are like a Parachute, if you don't have one when you need it, you will not need one again"
    - unknown

    i you call a CHP a CCW then you are really stupid. period.

  19. #19
    Regular Member Miss Black Rifle Disease's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by papa bear View Post
    this sort of reminds me of a thread from this site or another that claimed, in WV, if you step into the woods (i assume public), then you fall under the jurisdiction of the wildlife dept. which has a total set of firearm laws

    but, i do wonder if the cite that MBRD posted, is an older cite from before the state of VA allowed open carry in state parks. since the NF says they go by state laws
    I also cited the state law that says it's a no-go.
    Last edited by Miss Black Rifle Disease; 06-14-2012 at 10:01 PM.

  20. #20
    Regular Member papa bear's Avatar
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    one more time ;

    i wonder if the cite MBRD cited was a old cite , since VA allows OP in parks now and the NF says it goes by state laws
    Luke 22:36 ; 36Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.

    "guns are like a Parachute, if you don't have one when you need it, you will not need one again"
    - unknown

    i you call a CHP a CCW then you are really stupid. period.

  21. #21
    Super Moderator Grapeshot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by papa bear View Post
    one more time ;

    i wonder if the cite MBRD cited was a old cite , since VA allows OP in parks now and the NF says it goes by state laws
    The paper trail is as follows:

    First, the primary laws governing possession of firearms and other weapons on National Forest are state laws.
    http://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_...rdb5066182.pdf

    Then, Va. statute says carry only during certain hunting season in national forest:
    http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp...g+4VAC15-40-60

    It shall be unlawful to possess or transport a loaded firearm or loaded crossbow in or on any vehicle at any time on National Forest lands or Department-owned lands. (See exception for valid concealed handgun permit holders).
    http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/hunting...cealed-handgun

    As to whether the cite MBRD cited was a old cite or not would seem to be a moot point as it would be preempted by state law per the convoluted trail above and state preemption:
    http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp...0+cod+15.2-915
    Old and treacherous will beat young and skilled every time.

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    Regular Member papa bear's Avatar
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    thanks for the answer GRAPESHOT

    so what it is saying is that the NF goes by state law, and the state law says no carry on NF land. even though the state says you can carry on park land?

    do i have that right?
    Luke 22:36 ; 36Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.

    "guns are like a Parachute, if you don't have one when you need it, you will not need one again"
    - unknown

    i you call a CHP a CCW then you are really stupid. period.

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