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Thread: Virginia OC clarification/hypotheticals

  1. #1
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    Hello all,

    I am newly signed-up to the site (great site by the way!) and a quick search did not reveal the answer to some questions (more hypothetical than anything else) that I have about the laws relating to open carrying in VA. I would be particularly interested to hear if anyone has experience with LEO or court interpretation. I have not researched any court opinions on the specific items below.

    If these issues have been beaten to death already, I apologize. I also apologize for the length of this post...

    First - the statute:

    I believe that the VA Code section regarding open carry is the following (slightly redacted for length):

    "§ 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 ... equipped ... 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 [people who's job it is to be carrying], 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. ..."

    Second - topics of conversation:

    1. This does not speak to rimfire rifles. Does that mean that one could open carry a GSG-5 (for those unfamiliar with the GSG-5, there is a picture here - http://www.gsg5rifle.com/item/77083_GSG-5_Rifle.aspx) under the statute, even in those enumerated restricted areas (Alexandria, Chesapeake, Fairfax, etc.)?

    2. As the statute says that one may not carry in only certain areas (again - Alexandria, Chesapeake, Fairfax, etc), it appears that this means pretty much anything can be open carried in other areas (e.g., a silenced, semi-auto AK-47 with a 75 round drum mag and underfolder stock is fine). Your thoughts?

    3. "The provisions of this section shall not apply to... any person having a valid concealed handgun permit..." Sounds to me as though if you have a concealed carry permit, you can open carry that AK-47 in Fairfax too. Thoughts?

    Again, just curious to see what you guys think and whether you've had any experience with this situation. I first asked over at http://www.ar15.com and they directed me to you folks. Glad to have signed up over here!
    :celebrate



  2. #2
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    You basically hit it on the head based on my understanding of that statute. One thing to remember (especially here in VA) is that the laws tell you what you CANNOT do and spell out penalties for failing to obey.

    So absent a rule / law / statute, you can do it.

    IE: If I say red tennis shoes are forbidden on Tuesdays in my house, you cannot have red tennis shoes at my house on Tuesdays. It does NOT stop you from having them on any other day of the week nor does it stop you from having blue tennis shoes anytime.

    Keep in mind though, should you carry that silenced AK-47 in downtown Fairfax, you just may upset and/or offend a few local insensibilities. :P

  3. #3
    Regular Member ProShooter's Avatar
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    VA Lawyer wrote:


    3. "The provisions of this section shall not apply to... any person having a valid concealed handgun permit..." Sounds to me as though if you have a concealed carry permit, you can open carry that AK-47 in Fairfax too. Thoughts?

    !
    :celebrate

    What's good to note also is that it does not say "a valid VIRGINIA concealed handgun permit". Any other CHP permit that is valid in Va (like Utah, Pennsylvania, etc) is also valid under this statute.
    James Reynolds

    NRA Certified Firearms Instructor - Pistol, Shotgun, Home Firearms Safety, Refuse To Be A Victim
    Concealed Firearms Instructor for Virginia, Florida & Utah permits.
    NRA Certified Chief Range Safety Officer
    Sabre Red Pepper Spray Instructor
    Glock Certified Armorer
    Instructor Bio - http://proactiveshooters.com/about-us/

  4. #4
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    ProShooter wrote:
    VA Lawyer wrote:


    3. "The provisions of this section shall not apply to... any person having a valid concealed handgun permit..." Sounds to me as though if you have a concealed carry permit, you can open carry that AK-47 in Fairfax too. Thoughts?

    !
    :celebrate

    What's good to note also is that it does not say "a valid VIRGINIA concealed handgun permit". Any other CHP permit that is valid in Va (like Utah, Pennsylvania, etc) is also valid under this statute.
    I've got my Vermont CHP right here ------> :P

  5. #5
    Founder's Club Member - Moderator ed's Avatar
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    VA Lawyer wrote:
    Hello
    Hi and welcome. Are you an attorney? What area (location and expertise) do you practice?

    Thanks,

    Ed
    Carry On.

    Ed

    VirginiaOpenCarry.Org (Coins, Shirts and Patches)
    - - - -
    For VA Open Carry Cards send a S.A.2S.E. to: Ed's OC cards, Box 16143, Wash DC 20041-6143 (they are free but some folks enclose a couple bucks too)

  6. #6
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    Yeah, not planning on walking the streets with anything more exciting than a P226.

    I'm a little curious that a creative ACA might attempt to use the brandishing statute to prosecute one OCing an AK. It appears as though the courts have adopted Webster's definition of brandishing - "to exhibit or expose in an ostentatious, shameless, or aggressive manner." Apparently OCing a pistol is not considered "brandishing," but being that some would consider an AK to be "extra scary" they might try to claim that simply carrying one constitutes brandishing. A jury of folks scared of guns might agree.

    Ed - Thanks for the welcome. I am an attorney. Until recently, I practiced general corporate and securities law in D.C. (and lived just across the Loudon border in Ffx Co.), but a move to the Richmond area awhile back has prompted me to look for something closer to home. Not sure yet where I'll wind up.

  7. #7
    Founder's Club Member - Moderator longwatch's Avatar
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    VA Lawyer wrote:

    Second - topics of conversation:

    1. This does not speak to rimfire rifles. Does that mean that one could open carry a GSG-5 (for those unfamiliar with the GSG-5, there is a picture here - http://www.gsg5rifle.com/item/77083_GSG-5_Rifle.aspx) under the statute, even in those enumerated restricted areas (Alexandria, Chesapeake, Fairfax, etc.)?

    2. As the statute says that one may not carry in only certain areas (again - Alexandria, Chesapeake, Fairfax, etc), it appears that this means pretty much anything can be open carried in other areas (e.g., a silenced, semi-auto AK-47 with a 75 round drum mag and underfolder stock is fine). Your thoughts?

    3. "The provisions of this section shall not apply to... any person having a valid concealed handgun permit..." Sounds to me as though if you have a concealed carry permit, you can open carry that AK-47 in Fairfax too. Thoughts?

    Again, just curious to see what you guys think and whether you've had any experience with this situation. I first asked over at http://www.ar15.com and they directed me to you folks. Glad to have signed up over here!
    :celebrate

    1. Yes rimfires are exempt, however some of the localities in the statute may have hunting regs which ban loaded longarm carry.

    2. Yes anything can be carried, however some localities may have hunting regs which ban loaded longarm carry.

    3. Yes CHP holders are exempt, however some of the localities in the statute may have hunting regs which ban loaded longarm carry.

    That is my read of the law, you can find the localities that ban loaded longarm carry here:
    http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/hunting...ordinances.pdf

  8. #8
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    The code is geared towards high capacity or has assault weapon features. As ifusing a folding stock is more a danger to the public.


    But so few people actually do this I can only wonder how many recent court cases there are out there if any.

    I have never seen or heard of anyone doing it. Only recently have I even seen people open carry handguns.


  9. #9
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    Thanks for the tips guys and the link to the local ordinances. I recall seeing that awhile back as well.



  10. #10
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    longwatch wrote:
    1. Yes rimfires are exempt, however some of the localities in the statute may have hunting regs which ban loaded longarm carry.

    2. Yes anything can be carried, however some localities may have hunting regs which ban loaded longarm carry.

    3. Yes CHP holders are exempt, however some of the localities in the statute may have hunting regs which ban loaded longarm carry.

    That is my read of the law, you can find the localities that ban loaded longarm carry here:
    http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/hunting...ordinances.pdf
    They can only ban loaded long arm carry in vehicles, not on foot.

  11. #11
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    Wait, how can hunting regs dictate anyone that's not hunting?

    That's like pulling someone over for walking without a license!
    Why open carry? Because 1911 > 911.

  12. #12
    Regular Member virginiatuck's Avatar
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    AbNo wrote:
    Wait, how can hunting regs dictate anyone that's not hunting?

    That's like pulling someone over for walking without a license!
    I haven't read them all, but many of Virginia's hunting regulations explicitly apply to those engaged in lawful hunting.

    For example:

    § 15.2-1209.1. Counties may regulate carrying of loaded firearms on public highways.
    The governing body of any county is hereby empowered to adopt ordinances making it unlawful for any person to carry or have in his possession, for the purpose of hunting,[...]
    That is unlike West Virginia, where they have a law prohibiting carrying loaded firearms in a vehicle. It's in the "Hunting" section of the code, but the law itself does not explicitly apply to only those hunting. See the WV forum for a thread on the discussion of that law and possible implications it has on vehicular open-carry.



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