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Thread: Is carry legal in a place of worship for non worship?

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    Is carry legal in a place of worship for non worship things like weddings and activities? Yes? No? If legal, is it legal if the place of worship (church) has a school in it that is NOT in session? Yes? No? :-)

    I would do a search on the forum, but I don't have ready access to a computer and I'm on my mobile right now on the browser and its, somewhat time consuming.

    Thanks!

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    Regular Member ProShooter's Avatar
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    rolexbenz190e wrote:
    Is carry legal in a place of worship for non worship things like weddings and activities? Yes? No? If legal, is it legal if the place of worship (church) has a school in it that is NOT in session? Yes? No? :-)

    I would do a search on the forum, but I don't have ready access to a computer and I'm on my mobile right now on the browser and its, somewhat time consuming.

    Thanks!
    Basically you are dealing with 2 different statutes here:

    § 18.2-283. Carrying dangerous weapon to place of religious worship.

    If any person carry any gun, pistol, bowie knife, dagger or other dangerous weapon, without good and sufficient reason, to a place of worship while a meeting for religious purposes is being held at such place he shall be guilty of a Class 4 misdemeanor.

    and

    § 18.2-308.1. Possession of firearm, stun weapon, or other weapon on school property prohibited.

    A. If any person possesses any (i) stun weapon as defined in this section; (ii) knife, except a pocket knife having a folding metal blade of less than three inches; or (iii) weapon, including a weapon of like kind, designated in subsection A of § 18.2-308, other than a firearm; upon (a) the property of any public, private or religious elementary, middle or high school, including buildings and grounds; (b) that portion of any property open to the public and then exclusively used for school-sponsored functions or extracurricular activities while such functions or activities are taking place; or (c) any school bus owned or operated by any such school, he shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

    B. If any person possesses any firearm designed or intended to expel a projectile by action of an explosion of a combustible material while such person is upon (i) any public, private or religious elementary, middle or high school, including buildings and grounds; (ii) that portion of any property open to the public and then exclusively used for school-sponsored functions or extracurricular activities while such functions or activities are taking place; or (iii) any school bus owned or operated by any such school, he shall be guilty of a Class 6 felony; however, if the person possesses any firearm within a public, private or religious elementary, middle or high school building and intends to use, or attempts to use, such firearm, or displays such weapon in a threatening manner, such person shall be sentenced to a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of five years to be served consecutively with any other sentence.

    The exemptions set out in § 18.2-308 shall apply, mutatis mutandis, to the provisions of this section. The provisions of this section shall not apply to (i) persons who possess such weapon or weapons as a part of the school's curriculum or activities; (ii) a person possessing a knife customarily used for food preparation or service and using it for such purpose; (iii) persons who possess such weapon or weapons as a part of any program sponsored or facilitated by either the school or any organization authorized by the school to conduct its programs either on or off the school premises; (iv) any law-enforcement officer; (v) any person who possesses a knife or blade which he uses customarily in his trade; (vi) a person who possesses an unloaded firearm that is in a closed container, or a knife having a metal blade, in or upon a motor vehicle, or an unloaded shotgun or rifle in a firearms rack in or upon a motor vehicle; or (vii) a person who has a valid concealed handgun permit and possesses a concealed handgun while in a motor vehicle in a parking lot, traffic circle, or other means of vehicular ingress or egress to the school. For the purposes of this paragraph, "weapon" includes a knife having a metal blade of three inches or longer and "closed container" includes a locked vehicle trunk.

    As used in this section:

    "Stun weapon" means any device that emits a momentary or pulsed output, which is electrical, audible, optical or electromagnetic in nature and which is designed to temporarily incapacitate a person.

    A wedding could be argued as a "meeting for religious purposes". The caveat is whether or not you have "good and sufficient reason" which as far as I know has never really been defined by the courts. IMHO, self-defense is a darn good reason.

    If it is a school asdefined above in red, well a school is always a school. The exceptions being listed above.
    James Reynolds

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    How does that jive with a church / school combo where you are participating in non-religious activities in a section of the property not used by the school but is connected to the portion of the building that *IS* used by the school?

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    Ok, that answers my qeustion. But are pre-schools considered schools at all? The church that the wedding is at has a pre-school/daycare center in a different part of the large building inwhich has not started yet because its still summer. Is this a grey area? I didn't see "pre-school" anywhere in statue 18.2-308.1

    Any ideas anyone?

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    Regular Member virginiatuck's Avatar
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    rolexbenz190e wrote:
    Ok, that answers my qeustion. But are pre-schools considered schools at all? The church that the wedding is at has a pre-school/daycare center in a different part of the large building inwhich has not started yet because its still summer. Is this a grey area? I didn't see "pre-school" anywhere in statue 18.2-308.1

    Any ideas anyone?

    elementary, middle or high school, including buildings and grounds


    Also see Title 22.1 - EDUCATION :
    § 22.1-1. Definitions.
    As used in this title unless the context requires otherwise or it is otherwise specifically provided:
    "Board" or "State Board" means the Board of Education.
    "Division superintendent" means the division superintendent of schools of a school division.
    "Elementary" includes kindergarten.
    "Elementary and secondary" and "elementary or secondary" include elementary, middle, and high school grades.
    "Governing body" or "local governing body" means the board of supervisors of a county, council of a city, or council of a town, responsible for appropriating funds for such locality, as the context may require.
    "Middle school" means separate schools for early adolescents and the middle school grades that might be housed at elementary or high schools.
    "Parent" or "parents" means any parent, guardian, legal custodian, or other person having control or charge of a child.
    "Person of school age" means a person who will have reached his fifth birthday on or before September 30 of the school year and who has not reached twenty years of age on or before August 1 of the school year.
    "School board" means the school board that governs a school division.



    So I guess another way to figure it out is that if there are children of age 5 or older who will be or are attending "school" on those church grounds, then firearms are probably not allowed because it's a kindergarten and not a pre-school.

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    Founder's Club Member - Moderator ed's Avatar
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    ProShooter wrote:
    § 18.2-283. Carrying dangerous weapon to place of religious worship.
    ... without good and sufficient reason.. ...shall be guilty of a Class 4 misdemeanor.
    I have good reason. Protection.
    Carry On.

    Ed

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    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)

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    ed wrote:
    ProShooter wrote:
    § 18.2-283. Carrying dangerous weapon to place of religious worship.
    ... without good and sufficient reason.. ...shall be guilty of a Class 4 misdemeanor.
    I have good reason. Protection.
    +1 Ed.

    If I'm ever asked why I'm carrying in a church, I'll just ask them to Google "Church Shootings". They should understand...
    "If I know that I am headed for a fight, I want something larger with more power, preferably crew-served.
    However, like most of us, as I go through my daily life, I carry something a bit more compact, with a lot less power."
    (unknown 'gun~writer')

    Remington 1911 R1 (Back to Basics)
    SERPA retention or concealed...

    "Those who hammer their guns into plows will plow for those who do not." ~Thomas Jefferson
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    MSC 45ACP wrote:
    ed wrote:
    ProShooter wrote:
    § 18.2-283. Carrying dangerous weapon to place of religious worship.
    ... without good and sufficient reason.. ...shall be guilty of a Class 4 misdemeanor.
    I have good reason. Protection.
    +1 Ed.

    If I'm ever asked why I'm carrying in a church, I'll just ask them to Google "Church Shootings". They should understand...
    The phrase is unconstitutionally vague, what does good and sufficient reason mean specifically so I can abide by it. No way to know, it's too vague.

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    Hey, I noticed that the OP is in Arizona. Is he really interested in Va. law on these subjects? If so, here are the answers:

    Yes. Carrying at non-worship activities is not prohibited.

    Yes. A pre-school is a "school"; it can be private, parochial, or public, but carrying in any way, shape or form within 1000 feet (about two-tenths of a mile!) of the outer perimeter of the property upon which any "school" is operated is a federal felony, good for five years. There is an exception for landowners whose property is within that distance, and also for Va. CHP holders who don't get out of their cars and stay on the paved surfaces. That's a federal statute, purportedly enacted in furtherance of Congress' power to "regulate interstate commerce". (Is that nuts or what?) Anything past high school is not a "school" for purposes of that statute. Here's another tidbit: it doesn't matter whether school is in session, or even closed for the summer - there is no distinction in the statute between the school and the building in which the school is operated - and all law enforcement need to know to lock you up is that there's a building used as a school and you're within 1000 feet of the edge of the property the building is on. A very very badly worded statute.
    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:
    Hey, I noticed that the OP is in Arizona. Is he really interested in Va. law on these subjects? If so, here are the answers:

    Yes. Carrying at non-worship activities is not prohibited.

    Yes. A pre-school is a "school"; it can be private, parochial, or public, but carrying in any way, shape or form within 1000 feet (about two-tenths of a mile!) of the outer perimeter of the property upon which any "school" is operated is a federal felony, good for five years. There is an exception for landowners whose property is within that distance, and also for Va. CHP holders who don't get out of their cars and stay on the paved surfaces. That's a federal statute, purportedly enacted in furtherance of Congress' power to "regulate interstate commerce". (Is that nuts or what?) Anything past high school is not a "school" for purposes of that statute. Here's another tidbit: it doesn't matter whether school is in session, or even closed for the summer - there is no distinction in the statute between the school and the building in which the school is operated - and all law enforcement need to know to lock you up is that there's a building used as a school and you're within 1000 feet of the edge of the property the building is on. A very very badly worded statute.
    That is exactlywhat the Richmond CA told when I inquired about attending neighborhood association meeting held in a private school.

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    I'm in VA for a week for my cousin's wedding. So even though a "pre-school" isn't in the "school" classifications of the statutes, its still illegal? And I'm not allowed to carry even for non-worship activities?

    How about VA Beach military base? haha, I'm guessing NO. But I saw a debate that you could carry onto base, but not into a building on the base.

    I have my CHP from Arizona and have reciprocity in VA, so I wonder if that effects anything.

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    rolexbenz190e wrote:
    I'm in VA for a week for my cousin's wedding. So even though a "pre-school" isn't in the "school" classifications of the statutes, its still illegal? And I'm not allowed to carry even for non-worship activities?

    How about VA Beach military base? haha, I'm guessing NO. But I saw a debate that you could carry onto base, but not into a building on the base.

    I have my CHP from Arizona and have reciprocity in VA, so I wonder if that effects anything.
    Welcome to Virginia, Rolex. Please read up on our OC and CC laws. They're pretty reasonable. Simply put, in Virginia, if it isn't specifically prohibited, it is allowed.

    Every military base I've been aboard (which is a lot, since I served for 22 years) has specific rules about having firearms aboard the base. They all say about the same thing: By entering the base, you give permission to them to search your vehicle. You must notify base security forces about all firearms.

    If you're stationed there, part of your check-in includes a stop at Security about your base sticker and cover a general security briefing that includes carrying of weapons aboard base (prohibited). If you LIVE aboard base, you can have firearms in your home, but you can't OC or CC around base. You have to secure them in your trunk or otherwise have then inaccessable while transiting the base.

    I've never seen anyone's car being searched during a traffic stop on base, but I have seen MANY cars searched at the gate. Sometimes, they'll search every X'th car and sometimes, they'll just take a quick look into the visible spaces of every car.

    My advice: If you're going onbase to the Exchange or Commissary, put your gun(s) in the trunk and obey the speed limit. You probably won't have any problems.

    Semper Paratus!

    msc
    "If I know that I am headed for a fight, I want something larger with more power, preferably crew-served.
    However, like most of us, as I go through my daily life, I carry something a bit more compact, with a lot less power."
    (unknown 'gun~writer')

    Remington 1911 R1 (Back to Basics)
    SERPA retention or concealed...

    "Those who hammer their guns into plows will plow for those who do not." ~Thomas Jefferson
    (Borrowed from "The Perfect Day" by LTC Dave Grossman)

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    Regular Member virginiatuck's Avatar
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    rolexbenz190e wrote:
    I'm in VA for a week for my cousin's wedding. So even though a "pre-school" isn't in the "school" classifications of the statutes, its still illegal? And I'm not allowed to carry even for non-worship activities?
    See what "user" posted... according to Federal law, a pre-school is a school.

    I'd listen to him; he's usually right.

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    Even if a pre-school is considered under a school by the Feds wouldn't a CHP holder be able to carry upon the premises just the same if there is not a state law against it?

    If I recall the Fed law allows for carry by those licensed to carry at the state level if the state so desires, thus creating a situation where permit holders can carry in states like Utah, Michigan (open only and only with their version ofCCW) and Alabama (law only prevents carrying with intent to do harm). To my knowledge there is no state level prohibition on carrying at pre-schools (unless above wording would forbid it).

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    jmelvin wrote:
    Even if a pre-school is considered under a school by the Feds wouldn't a CHP holder be able to carry upon the premises just the same if there is not a state law against it?*

    If I recall the Fed law allows for carry by those licensed to carry at the state level if the state so desires, thus creating a situation where permit holders can carry in states like Utah, Michigan (open only and only with their version of*CCW) and Alabama (law only prevents carrying with intent to do harm).* To my knowledge there is no state level prohibition on carrying at pre-schools (unless above wording would forbid it).
    Correct. There is an exemption in the federal statute for states which require a background check prior to the issuance of a license, registration, or permit. Virginia's CHP standard qualifies. That doesn't help open carry folks, though.
    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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    Regular Member virginiatuck's Avatar
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    user wrote:
    Hey, I noticed that the OP is in Arizona. Is he really interested in Va. law on these subjects? If so, here are the answers:

    Yes. Carrying at non-worship activities is not prohibited.

    Yes. A pre-school is a "school"; it can be private, parochial, or public, but carrying in any way, shape or form within 1000 feet (about two-tenths of a mile!) of the outer perimeter of the property upon which any "school" is operated is a federal felony, good for five years. There is an exception for landowners whose property is within that distance, and also for Va. CHP holders who don't get out of their cars and stay on the paved surfaces. That's a federal statute, purportedly enacted in furtherance of Congress' power to "regulate interstate commerce". (Is that nuts or what?) Anything past high school is not a "school" for purposes of that statute. Here's another tidbit: it doesn't matter whether school is in session, or even closed for the summer - there is no distinction in the statute between the school and the building in which the school is operated - and all law enforcement need to know to lock you up is that there's a building used as a school and you're within 1000 feet of the edge of the property the building is on. A very very badly worded statute.
    Hmm, I recently read the GFSZA again and thought about this old thread. From what I can tell, a pre-school is not necessarily a "school" that is affected by the GFSZA. A pre-school would only be included if it is defined by the state as providing elementary or secondary education.

    From the definitions in 18 USC 921:
    (26) The term “school” means a school which provides elementary or secondary education, as determined under State law.

    As I stated earlier in the thread, Virginia defines the following:
    "Elementary" includes kindergarten.
    "Elementary and secondary" and "elementary or secondary" include elementary, middle, and high school grades.
    "Person of school age" means a person who will have reached his fifth birthday on or before September 30 of the school year and who has not reached twenty years of age on or before August 1 of the school year.


    So I do not believe a Virginia day-care or pre-school is covered by the GFSZA; except if the school includes a kindergarten or higher grade. I suppose there could be a private kindergarten-only somewhere, but if there aren't any signs to alert you of that fact then a conviction should be hard to obtain; shouldn't it?

    The bottom line on the GFSZA is, in my humble opinion, if you have a qualified permit as specified in § 922(q)(2)(B)(ii), of which Virginia's CHP is, the GFSZA does not apply to you at all. Then only state laws apply.

    And the Virginia law, § 18.2-308.1. possession of firearm, stun weapon, or other weapon on school property prohibited, does not stipulate a 1,000 ft. zone around the school property.

    But hey, I'm no lawyer. I just research this stuff for my own benefit and share what I find.

    US Code: Title 18 § 922. Unlawful Acts
    US Code: Title 18 § 921. Definitions
    § 18.2-308.1. Possession of firearm, stun weapon, or other weapon on school property prohibited

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