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Thread: VA gun laws.... Help!

  1. #1
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    I've been poking around lots of sites about open and concealed carry and I am having a horribly difficult time finding answers to certain questions. I've read every law I can find but cannot find what I'm looking for.... Maybe you guys can help? I wanna know this stuff before I go out on my first OC outing...


    Is it legal for me, while I am in my vehicle to unload my weapon and lock the ammo and gun in seperate containers for such places that forbid you to carry inside?

    Can I keep the magazines loaded if they are locked in a seperate box away from the gun (which is unloaded) which is also locked in it's own box?

    When I leave such a place forbidding the carry of weapons is it then legal for me, when I reach somewhere that allows open carry, to unlock both boxes, reload the full magazine into my gun and reholster it? Is this brandishing if done in your own vehicle?

    When I get into my vehicle and I am carrying my OC weapon in it's holster, where do I place the gun? Can it be left loaded?

    If I do have my weapon and ammo in seperate locked boxes where do I place them in my truck?

    I hope you guys can provide some insight for me here, I'm confused. :?

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    Dispatcher wrote:
    I've been poking around lots of sites about open and concealed carry and I am having a horribly difficult time finding answers to certain questions. I've read every law I can find but cannot find what I'm looking for.... Maybe you guys can help? I wanna know this stuff before I go out on my first OC outing...


    Is it legal for me, while I am in my vehicle to unload my weapon and lock the ammo and gun in seperate containers for such places that forbid you to carry inside?
    Yes, you can do that.
    Can I keep the magazines loaded if they are locked in a seperate box away from the gun (which is unloaded) which is also locked in it's own box?
    Yes, you can do that.
    When I leave such a place forbidding the carry of weapons is it then legal for me, when I reach somewhere that allows open carry, to unlock both boxes, reload the full magazine into my gun and reholster it? Is this brandishing if done in your own vehicle?
    Yes, you can do that. No, it's not brandishing. For it to be brandishing you have to be trying to incite fear.
    When I get into my vehicle and I am carrying my OC weapon in it's holster, where do I place the gun? Can it be left loaded?
    You leave it in the holster. In VA, carrying a gun in a holster is NOT concealed-carry in a vehicle. Yes it can be left loaded. Kinda pointless to carry an unloaded gun in a holster if you are trying to OC.
    If I do have my weapon and ammo in seperate locked boxes where do I place them in my truck?
    You would put them in a lockable container in your truck bed (if you have such). Barring that, you would put them behind the truck seat / bench.
    I hope you guys can provide some insight for me here, I'm confused. :?
    IANAL. See my responses above. Much of this can be answered by reading various parts of VA Code. I don't have the relevant links at hand since they did network upgrades over the weekend and I'm still rebuilding my profile.

    Also, my answers above are only useful in VA.

    Good luck. If you have any other questions, ask them. The only stupid questions are the ones you don't ask.

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    Bear in mind that if there is no law specifically barring something then it is presumed to be legal.

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    Be aware that if you leave VA, the answers above might not apply. Going into Washington, DC, for example, with a handgun not registered in DC is a felony, even post Heller, no matter how you have the gun and ammo stored.

    Federal property may have its own rules. That would include federal courts and the NASA facility in your area, among others.

    Not sure about the Air and Space museum or whatever they call it, in Hampton. Not sure if its federal property, run by the Smithsonian or some other entity. In northern VA there is an annex to the Smithsonian Air and Space museum near Dulles Airport. An obscure federal law gives unusual power to the Smithsonian, allowing the Director of the Smithsonian to ban guns anywhere on the planet that the Smithsonian operates, even a temporary exhibit. Get caught with a gun at Udvar-Hazy, in any manner of storage, whether in the parking lot or the museum itself, and you get hauled into DC, charged under DC law and spend the night (or more) in a DC jail, even though you are 40+ miles outside DC. Figure that out. See: http://opencarry.mywowbb.com/view_to...ighlight=udvar and http://opencarry.mywowbb.com/view_to...mp;forum_id=54

    Military bases, and you have quite a few of those in your neck of the woods, including Norfolk Navy Base, Oceana NAS, Little Creek Amphibious Base, Langley AFB, is also likely to be problematic and have their own rules. Look what's happening to this guy in Norfolk: http://opencarry.mywowbb.com/forum54/22481.html


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    markand wrote:
    Not sure about the Air and Space museum or whatever they call it, in Hampton. Not sure if its federal property, run by the Smithsonian or some other entity. In northern VA there is an annex to the Smithsonian Air and Space museum near Dulles Airport. An obscure federal law gives unusual power to the Smithsonian. Get caught with a gun there, in any manner of storage, whether in the parking lot or the museum itself, and you get hauled into DC, charged under DC law and spend the night (or more) in a DC jail, even though you are 40+ miles outside DC. Figure that out.
    How the hell is that legal? It's not even the same jurisdiction. That would be no different than hauling me off to NY for firearms violations for lawfully carrying while in VA.

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    How the hell is that legal?

    Unfortunately there is a federal law that makes it legal. See the links I was inserting as you were replying. I don't like it either, but that's how it is.

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    Its a firearm, a sidearm, a handgun. It is NOT a weapon.

    You carry it for defensive purposes not offensive purposes.



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    doug23838 wrote:
    Its a firearm, a sidearm, a handgun. It is NOT a weapon.

    You carry it for defensive purposes not offensive purposes.

    Your avatar is an offensive weapon.

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    markand wrote:
    Be aware that if you leave VA, the answers above might not apply. Going into Washington, DC, for example, with a handgun not registered in DC is a felony, even post Heller, no matter how you have the gun and ammo stored.
    Through DC, though, on your way to somewhere else where you are legally able to own/carry a handgun, is okay provided the gun is locked away, per federal law.

    So you're doing well to do your research.
    Laws alone can not secure freedom of expression; in order that every man present his views without penalty there must be spirit of tolerance in the entire population. -Albert Einstein

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    Dispatcher wrote:
    ...
    Is it legal for me, while I am in my vehicle to unload my weapon and lock the ammo and gun in seperate containers for such places that forbid you to carry inside?
    Yes.

    Dispatcher wrote:
    Can I keep the magazines loaded if they are locked in a seperate box away from the gun (which is unloaded) which is also locked in it's own box?
    Yes.

    Dispatcher wrote:
    When I leave such a place forbidding the carry of weapons is it then legal for me, when I reach somewhere that allows open carry, to unlock both boxes, reload the full magazine into my gun and reholster it?
    Yes.

    Dispatcher wrote:
    Is this brandishing if done in your own vehicle?
    No - the essential ingredient in "brandishing" is the intention to intimidate another person.

    Dispatcher wrote:
    When I get into my vehicle and I am carrying my OC weapon in it's holster, where do I place the gun?¬*
    In a place that would be obvious if a cop walked up to the car and looked in. E.g., on the dashboard, or in the passenger seat, on top of a center console. Better yet, on the back seat - that would give you an argument that it wasn't "about your person" at the time if you were charged. There are places, typically the more urban environments, where some cops will charge you with carrying a concealed weapon, just because they couldn't see it immediately. I think they may have stopped, now, but in Fairfax County, they'd been charging people with carrying concealed when the gun was in a holster on the theory that they couldn't see the entire gun. They know perfectly well it's bogus, but they can punish you by making you come to court and defend yourself. And there are, or were, some judges who'd give them the conviction on that basis, but the ones I'm thinking of may be retired, now.

    Dispatcher wrote:
    Can it be left loaded?
    Yes.


    Dispatcher wrote:
    If I do have my weapon and ammo in seperate locked boxes where do I place them in my truck?...
    In the place that's hardest for you to get at them.

    Btw, a separate warrant is required to open a locked container inside a car, or at least a warrant that specifies a car and the locked container. A warrant to search the car and its contents does not give authority to open locked containers. And probable cause is required to get the warrant. If no gun is visible, and you didn't blab about having one, there's no basis for probable cause. It would be best, of course, if the locked container doesn't look like a box made specially for guns.
    Daniel L. Hawes - 540 347 2430 - HTTP://www.VirginiaLegalDefense.com

    By the way, nothing I say on this website as "user" should be taken as either advertising for attorney services or legal advice, merely personal opinion. Everyone having a question regarding the application of law to the facts of their situation should seek the advice of an attorney competent in the subject matter of the issues presented and licensed to practice in the relevant state.

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    Dispatcher wrote:

    <SNIP>
    Is it legal for me, while I am in my vehicle to unload my weapon and lock the ammo and gun in seperate containers for such places that forbid you to carry inside?
    <SNIP>


    I was wondering something and somebody please correct me if I am wrong but if you are going into a place that forbids open or concealed carry, then why unload the weapon and lock the gun and the ammo in separate containers inside the car??

    Wouldn't it be easier to either drop the magazine and remove the bullet from the hole or just remove the gun from the holster or just remove the holster and then place it in alocation where it can't be seen or stolen for instance in your glove box or somewhere else where it would be hard to break into??

    I know that if you are travelling tostates like Maryland then you have to place the gun and the ammo in containers separate from each other and one of them has to be out of reach but do you actually have to do that in Virginia too if you are just going into a mall or something that forbids handguns??

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    user wrote:
    Dispatcher wrote:
    ...
    Is it legal for me, while I am in my vehicle to unload my weapon and lock the ammo and gun in seperate containers for such places that forbid you to carry inside?
    Yes.
    I think we need to be specific here and to explain that placing a gun in a "container"in the car mayrequire that you have a CHP (the OP didnt mention if he had his CHP). If you use theglove comparment, a locked briefcase, etcand its in the passenger compartment, you need a CHP.

    A locked container in the trunk would be a better option.
    James Reynolds

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    Pruitt v. Commonwealth, 274 Va. 382, 650 S.E.2d 684 (2007) (slip opinion available here), held that when a person stores a handgun or other weapon in a vehicle's glove box with the intent of immediately leaving the vehicle and then leaves, closes, and locks the vehicle, the weapon is not "about the person" and thus does not fall within the concealed weapon statute.

    Pruitt was decided by a unanimous Supreme Court of Virginia and is a key case for open carriers who do not have a CHP. Also remember that, under Pruitt, you do need to immediately leave, close, and lock your vehicle after storing your gun and then immediately bring the gun back into plain sight after getting back into the vehicle.
    James M. "Jim" Mullins, Jr., Esq.
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    The citation to Pruitt by WVCDL is apt. Pruitt was injured in a car accident, and the gun, which had been on the passenger seat was thrown to the floor in the collision. He put it in the center console, rolled up the windows, and immediately got out, closing the door behind him. He made arrangements to have the car towed and asked for an ambulance to take him to the hospital. After a conviction in the trial court and a denial of his petition to appeal to the Court of Appeals, the Supreme Court determined that the gun was not "on or about his person" such that it was subject to his immediate control and access.

    My answer, assuming a person who has not been issued a CHP, to the effect that it should be secured in a separate container in the hardest place to get at, was intended to keep a person from being arrested, such that he didn't have to defend himself at all, much less spend $20,000 in legal fees to win after multiple appeals. The point is to avoid the situation in which a cop could reasonably believe that the person had concealed a handgun on or about his person.

    In Pruitt, it seems clear to me, though it was not mentioned in the opinion, that the cop on the scene had a reasonable belief that the gun had been in the center console the whole time, and that was probable cause to arrest. The cop had no way of knowing at that time that the gun had been in plain sight while the driver was operating the vehicle, and made a judgment call. Of course, the driver must have protested, "But, but..."; I reckon one might imagine that cops get that all the time and routinely disregard self-serving protestations of innocence. If you rely on Pruitt, you're likely to spend some time in jail, at least. You may win at trial, if you've got a competent lawyer who isn't a liberal gun-hater himself, but would one want to have to go through all that?
    Daniel L. Hawes - 540 347 2430 - HTTP://www.VirginiaLegalDefense.com

    By the way, nothing I say on this website as "user" should be taken as either advertising for attorney services or legal advice, merely personal opinion. Everyone having a question regarding the application of law to the facts of their situation should seek the advice of an attorney competent in the subject matter of the issues presented and licensed to practice in the relevant state.

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    user wrote:
    The citation to Pruitt by WVCDL is apt. Pruitt was injured in a car accident, and the gun, which had been on the passenger seat was thrown to the floor in the collision. He put it in the center console, rolled up the windows, and immediately got out, closing the door behind him. He made arrangements to have the car towed and asked for an ambulance to take him to the hospital. After a conviction in the trial court and a denial of his petition to appeal to the Court of Appeals, the Supreme Court determined that the gun was not "on or about his person" such that it was subject to his immediate control and access.

    My answer, assuming a person who has not been issued a CHP, to the effect that it should be secured in a separate container in the hardest place to get at, was intended to keep a person from being arrested, such that he didn't have to defend himself at all, much less spend $20,000 in legal fees to win after multiple appeals. The point is to avoid the situation in which a cop could reasonably believe that the person had concealed a handgun on or about his person.

    In Pruitt, it seems clear to me, though it was not mentioned in the opinion, that the cop on the scene had a reasonable belief that the gun had been in the center console the whole time, and that was probable cause to arrest. The cop had no way of knowing at that time that the gun had been in plain sight while the driver was operating the vehicle, and made a judgment call. Of course, the driver must have protested, "But, but..."; I reckon one might imagine that cops get that all the time and routinely disregard self-serving protestations of innocence. If you rely on Pruitt, you're likely to spend some time in jail, at least. You may win at trial, if you've got a competent lawyer who isn't a liberal gun-hater himself, but would one want to have to go through all that?
    I agree with you 100% about the risk of doing this without a CCP and being arrested. I repost this from elsewhere on this site because I believe it is important:

    There is more recent case law (2009) from the Virginia Court of Appeals which I believe is pertinent, White v. Commonwealth, see http://www.courts.state.va.us/opinio...tx/2292072.txt. In this case the defendant exited his vehicle and the officers looked in the vehicle and saw a portion of the gun, mostly hidden, then entered the vehicle, retreived the gun, at which point the defendant was arrested. From my reading, the court is indicating that the weapon hidden in the vehicle may be sufficient for probable cause allowing seizure of the weapon and an arrest, even though it may be insuffient to establish proof beyond a reasonable doubt for a conviction. I don't think I want to hide the weapon in my car until I get a CCP.

    The case includes this from the court:

    "For example, Code § 18.2-308(A) criminalizes the carrying of a firearm "about [one's] person, hidden from common observation." We find Officer Howe did have probable cause to believe appellant was violating this code section once the officer saw the weapon hidden under the armrest. As reasonable suspicion is a less stringent standard than probable cause, see Alabama v. White, 496 U.S. 325, 330 (1990) ("Reasonable suspicion is a less demanding standard than probable cause . . . ."), our finding that the officers had probable cause to believe the firearm was evidence that appellant was committing a crime necessarily subsumes and includes a finding that the officers also had reasonable suspicion to detain appellant once they saw the firearm. Thus, the police legitimately seized both the firearm and appellant."

    "In other words, even though probable cause means more than a "mere suspicion," it is not necessary for the facts to be "sufficient to convict" the accused of the offense. Gomez [v. Atkins], 296 F.3d [253,] 262 [(4th Cir. 2002)] (quoting Taylor v. Waters, 81 F.3d 429, 434 (4th Cir. 1996)). Unlike a factfinder at trial, "reasonable law officers need not `resolve every doubt about a suspect's guilt before probable cause is established.'" Id. (quoting Torchinsky v. Siwinski, 942 F.2d 257, 260 (4th Cir. 1991)). We reject, therefore, Slayton's assertion that the alleged insufficiency of the evidence for a conviction necessarily precludes a finding of probable cause.

    Because Deputy Spencer had probable cause to believe Slayton illegally possessed a concealed weapon, Spencer had authority both to arrest Slayton and to search him incident to that arrest."

    "Appellant also argues that the firearm was not "about his person," an element of the concealed weapon statute, Code § 18.2-308(A), and, therefore, that the officers did not have probable cause to believe he was violating this statute. Specifically, he contends that, because he had exited the Cadillac and the weapon remained in the car, the gun was not near him or actually in his possession by the time Officer Howe discovered it, confiscated the weapon, and arrested appellant. However, again, the case upon which appellant relies, Pruitt v. Commonwealth, 274 Va. 382, 384, 650 S.E.2d 684, 684 (2007), addresses sufficiency of the evidence to prove guilt, not to establish probable cause. In Pruitt, the Court considered whether the evidence proved guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, whereas here we are considering whether the evidence established probable cause for a reasonable officer to believe that appellant was committing a crime. See Slayton, 41 Va. App. at 107-08, 582 S.E.2d at 451. Thus, Pruitt is not controlling here."



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    darthmord wrote:
    You leave it in the holster. In VA, carrying a gun in a holster is NOT concealed-carry in a vehicle. Yes it can be left loaded. Kinda pointless to carry an unloaded gun in a holster if you are trying to OC.
    Where do you find this law. I've been trying to find the law that saysI can do this, but all I see is "in plane sight". I'm not so sure that this wouldn't get me in trouble with an anti-OC LEO. Just wondering where this info came from, because I REALLY hope I can carry like this. I'm tired of putting my gun on the seat next to me everytime I get in the car.

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    Just as Virginia law does not tell you how you can breathe, it does not tell you how you can carry a weapon. It merely tells you that you cannot conceal (hidden from plain view). I'm sure you could hang it around your neck if you wanted.

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    flying_174 wrote:
    darthmord wrote:
    You leave it in the holster. In VA, carrying a gun in a holster is NOT concealed-carry in a vehicle. Yes it can be left loaded. Kinda pointless to carry an unloaded gun in a holster if you are trying to OC.
    Where do you find this law. I've been trying to find the law that saysI can do this, but all I see is "in plane sight". I'm not so sure that this wouldn't get me in trouble with an anti-OC LEO. Just wondering where this info came from, because I REALLY hope I can carry like this. I'm tired of putting my gun on the seat next to me everytime I get in the car.

    Just a suggestion, but you may want to consider taking a class from one of the many instructors we have in Va. They will explain the laws so that you are armed with the knowledge needed.
    James Reynolds

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    doug23838 wrote:
    Its a firearm, a sidearm, a handgun.¬*¬* It is NOT a weapon.

    You carry it for defensive purposes not offensive purposes.

    ¬*
    I hate that recycled NRA PC BS--

    It's a weapon, there's no sugar coating that. A firearm's purpose is to kill a person, and that makes it a weapon. Being a weapon has absolutely nothing to due with the intent with which the weapon is wielded.

    People need to understand that killing isn't bad, if the person killed needs killing. And that's what a weapon is for-- to kill someone who needs to be killed. There's a difference between a killing and a murder.

    Sorry, just a huge pet peeve of mine. I was firmly taught from the time I first started using firearms that you call it by its model name, a firearm, or "the weapon", because a hardy respect for a weapon is required.

    Maybe we should start calling them "Strictly Defensive Criminal Incapacitation Devices".

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    KimberG19 wrote:
    doug23838 wrote:
    Its a firearm, a sidearm, a handgun. It is NOT a weapon.

    You carry it for defensive purposes not offensive purposes.

    I hate that recycled NRA PC BS--

    It's a weapon, there's no sugar coating that. A firearm's purpose is to kill a person, and that makes it a weapon. Being a weapon has absolutely nothing to due with the intent with which the weapon is wielded.

    People need to understand that killing isn't bad, if the person killed needs killing. And that's what a weapon is for-- to kill someone who needs to be killed. There's a difference between a killing and a murder.

    Sorry, just a huge pet peeve of mine. I was firmly taught from the time I first started using firearms that you call it by its model name, a firearm, or "the weapon", because a hardy respect for a weapon is required.

    Maybe we should start calling them "Strictly Defensive Criminal Incapacitation Devices".
    No Sir, a firearm's purpose is what it's owner intends. Inside the holser it is no more dangerous than my car keys are. It is merely a tool. No different that a wrist watch or screwdriver. It is subject to a great deal more responsibility than a wrist watch, but it it is just a tool. If I walk around with my firearm in my holster, it is not a weapon, it is a deterrent. Anything can be a weapon. Knives are by far the best example I can come up with.Let's sayI use a butcher knife tocut a ham. I am not wielding a weapon, though it CAN be just as deadly, dangerous as an improperly handled firearm... it is still just a tool. What makes something a "weapon" is it's expressed purpose as determined by the wielder or owner. Whensomeone is cutting a ham witha butcher knife, they areusing a tool to complete a task at hand. When that same person runs at another person with the intent of using that knife to injure the other party, it becomes a weapon. No one can simply designate a tool to be a weapon. Guns have many different uses and their designated purposes can be *many* different things. Guns are not designed for killing, they are designed to do what you want them to do and it only becomes a weapon when you *make* it a weapon.

    To address the other lines.... "People need to understand that killing isn't bad, if the person killed needs killing. And that's what a weapon is for-- to kill someone who needs to be killed. There's a difference between a killing and a murder." .......

    ....

    Frankly such a statement shocks me to the core. Killing is bad. Killing is always bad.That is why every reasonablegun owner hopes that he neveris forced to pull the trigger in self defense. If you have to pull it, you have to. However, no one*needs* to be killed, ever, that's a gross oversimplification. There are situationsin which you must defend yourself with lethal force, but to say thatsomeone needs to be killed... that's terrible. My gun is NOT for killing people.It is a deterrent and a tool for self defense.IfI am forced to take a life in self defense, then so be it....but it's not as arbitrary as"oh hey this guy needs to die"





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    Dispatcher wrote:
    ....
    ...
    Frankly such a statement shocks me to the core.¬* Killing is bad.¬* Killing is always bad.¬*¬*That is why every reasonable¬*gun owner hopes that he never¬*is forced to pull the trigger in self defense.¬* If you have to pull it, you have to.¬* However, no one¬**needs* to be killed, ever, that's a gross oversimplification.¬* There are situations¬*in which you must defend yourself with lethal force, but to say that¬*someone needs to be killed... that's terrible.¬* My gun is NOT for killing people.¬*¬*It is a deterrent and a tool for self defense.¬*¬*If¬*I am forced to take a life in self defense, then so be it....¬*but it's not as arbitrary as¬*"oh hey this guy needs to die"
    I see what you're getting at and am completely sympathetic to your point of view, Dispatch; I often use the "fire extinguisher analogy" myself - I really, truly hope I never have to use one of the three fire extinguishers I've got in my house, but if the day comes when I do have to use it, I will do so effectively, unerringly, and unhesitatingly.

    I do disagree slightly, however. I want to be aware that the reason I've got the gun is a terrible reason. I don't want to sugar coat that or rationalize it. It's not just a tool. It is there to kill someone, and I want to keep in mind what a horrible thought this is. I feel that this mindset helps restrain the arbitrary and capricious mentality one can develop towards a gun, which as you note, is a danger. To me, it is a weapon, and its only purpose is to kill, whether a bear, a wolf, a coyote, or a human. Given the imminent danger to myself or an innocent third party of an immediate serious bodily harm, I will use it for its intended purpose. Just as dispassionately as I would a fire extinguisher. But certainly not as readily.
    Daniel L. Hawes - 540 347 2430 - HTTP://www.VirginiaLegalDefense.com

    By the way, nothing I say on this website as "user" should be taken as either advertising for attorney services or legal advice, merely personal opinion. Everyone having a question regarding the application of law to the facts of their situation should seek the advice of an attorney competent in the subject matter of the issues presented and licensed to practice in the relevant state.

  22. #22
    Regular Member TexasNative's Avatar
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    I disagree, user. If I'm ever compelled to use my gun against an attacker, I do not use it to kill him, but to stop the attack. Yes, one possible, even likely, horrible result is that my attacker may die, but that's not the purpose of my gun, nor my intent if I had to use in that type of situation.

    My self-defense guns are to protect me and mine, not to kill anyone, even if that ends up being the result of that self defense.

  23. #23
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    TexasNative wrote:
    I disagree, user. If I'm ever compelled to use my gun against an attacker, I do not use it to kill him, but to stop the attack. Yes, one possible, even likely, horrible result is that my attacker may die, but that's not the purpose of my gun, nor my intent if I had to use in that type of situation.

    My self-defense guns are to protect me and mine, not to kill anyone, even if that ends up being the result of that self defense.
    When I carry my .44, my intent is not to hurt them at all but to make them wet their pants and flee.

  24. #24
    Regular Member TexasNative's Avatar
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    HardChrome wrote:
    When I carry my .44, my intent is not to hurt them at all but to make them wet their pants and flee.
    I'd never discount the deterrent factor, HC.

  25. #25
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    A gun is a weapon. The NRA needs to learn a little common sense.

    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/weapon

    weap·onplay_w2("W0069400")n.
    1.
    An instrument of attack or defense in combat, as a gun, missile, or sword.
    2. Zoology A part or organ, such as a claw or stinger, used by an animal in attack or defense.
    3.
    A means used to defend against or defeat another: Logic was her weapon.tr.v. weap·oned, weap·on·ing, weap·ons To supply with weapons or a weapon; arm.

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