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Thread: Open carry in Arlington, Falls Church, and Alexandria

  1. #1
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    Open carry in Arlington, Falls Church, and Alexandria

    Hello all,
    Im new here, and have heard varying things about the legality of OC'in in Arlington, Falls Church, Alexandria, etc.... So can someone please confirm if this is legal one way or another?
    Thanks

  2. #2
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    The only reason i ask is because of this:

    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 shall apply, mutatis mutandis, to the provisions of this section.

    (1991, c. 570; 1992, c. 790; 2003, c. 976; 2004, c. 995; 2005, c. 160; 2007, c. 813.)

  3. #3
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    The reason you are having trouble finding much on the subject of OC is because generally there is no law against it.

    The VA General Assembly recovered to themselves from the localities the power to regulate possession (carry). The details are covered in 15.2-915. You'll hear that statute referred to as pre-emption. The state legislature pre-empted the local governments from passing certain kinds of firearm restrictions. The localities can regulate hunting, and I think carry near roads in connection with hunting, but otherwise, 15.2-915 shut down the localities on anti-gun laws pretty good. And, there is no state law prohibiting OC.

    Otherwise, there are the usual places that are forbidden for citizens to carry, like jails, courthouses, and so forth. There are some statutes regarding air terminals and churches.

    But, as long as you are not a prohibited possessor, and you're not carrying in a prohibited location under state or federal* law, you're good to go.

    You can also check the VA section on the map page of this site to see what you can find.



    *The federal Gun Free School Zones act makes it illegal to carry within 1000 ft of a school unless you have a CCW license issued by the state wherein the school is located. The first version of that law was shot down by the Supreme Court back in the 1990s. Congress re-wrote it by adding language tying it to congress' commerce clause power; but its never been tested. Nonetheless, I wouldn't advise walking past a K-12 school while OCing without a CHP unless you're willing to test whether the local cops dislike OCers and are willing to use the federal law as an excuse to arrest you.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seeker View Post
    The only reason i ask is because of this:

    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 shall apply, mutatis mutandis, to the provisions of this section.

    (1991, c. 570; 1992, c. 790; 2003, c. 976; 2004, c. 995; 2005, c. 160; 2007, c. 813.)
    I live in Fairfax County near Falls Church, and I OC in the area all the time. It is fully legal.

    What the law you cite above does is limit what you can open carry in those areas. Specifically, a handgun with a threaded barrel or with a magazine holding more than 20 rounds is prohibited unless you have a CHP or fall within the exceptions in 18.2-308 (such as the secured container provision). The restriction also only applies to center-fire firearms, so anything in 22LR is allowed.

    So, for example, I can open carry my compact 1911 (magazine holds 7 rounds), or my revolver (6 rounds) without a CHP, and I can carry my Walther P22 (threaded barrel, but in 22LR so not covered by the restriction) with no problems. But, my coworker cannot carry his MAC-10 pistol (30 rounds and threaded barrel) or his OA-93 (AR-15 pistol) unless he has a CHP or uses a magazine holding 20 rounds or less.
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  5. #5
    Regular Member HearseGuy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seeker View Post
    The only reason i ask is because of this:

    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 shall apply, mutatis mutandis, to the provisions of this section.

    (1991, c. 570; 1992, c. 790; 2003, c. 976; 2004, c. 995; 2005, c. 160; 2007, c. 813.)
    This one tripped me up when i first read it as well. I wasnt the first, and you wont be the last.

    In short, if you're carrying a handgun with less than 20 rounds, that doesnt have a threaded barrel, your fine. If you have a concealed permit this wont apply to you. Carry on!

    Also, know the law. Respect private property. Watch for posted areas.
    Last edited by HearseGuy; 02-21-2013 at 09:39 AM.

  6. #6
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    Thanks guys... this is basically what I figured and just wanted to be completely positive about it.

  7. #7
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    You're good to go! Hell, it seemed like most people didn't even notice me in Arlington or Alexandria before I started "strictly" carrying concealed.

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