There are some things that all newbies should do:
1) know the laws - this means read them, read about them, keep up with changes. This forum is a good place to learn alot but often opinion is stated as fact. It is your responsibility to verify. Some good starters are at vcdl.org (join vcdl by the way & get their email alerts), http://opencarry.org/maps.html, http://www.nraila.org/statelawpdfs/VASL.pdf, http://vaguninfo.com/documents/VirginiaGunRights.pdf, http://gunowners.org/fs9611.htm
2) know how to handle yourself - safety-safety-safety, avoid being a goof-with-a-gun (like the drunk that shot some ducks in front of some child at a beach last year), know when NOT to talk to police: http://video.google.com/videoplay?do...514885833865#,
read through the forums to see how others have done, a good voice recorder can save your butt.
3) I recommend a CHP because it void's the federal gun free school zone legislation. If you do not have a CHP your gun has to be unloaded in a locked container (separately from ammo) if you come within 1000 feet of school "property" not just the building. Failure to do so makes you a felon. Try driving through town without passing a school or dozen. By having the CHP you can ignore the GFSZ and simply comply with the Virginia law (which bans guns on school property unless you are concealing (with CHP) and never leave your vehicle).
4) Get or print some "Virginia OC Info Cards" to hand out to curious people. Many people approach you not because they are afraid but because they are interested. Most people don't know the laws or "remember" laws from where they lived in the past. Sometimes people from other states will get all flustered because they don't know VA law. There are a couple versions of cards floating around and they will be changing July 1 with the new laws.
5) Join an OC dinner sometime to meet others and talk. Many questions can be quickly answered face to face plus it is fun talking to other gun fans. My family's eyes glaze over after about 2 minutes of gun talk. :-) An OC dinner can score you 2 hours of gun talk. (Although other subjects very often come up other than guns)
Others can chime in with whatever I forgot. On July 1, 2010 the new gun laws go into effect so at that point you can "secure" your gun in a center console, glove box, or simply OC it on a seat, holster, etc. I like that change since I never thought a gun sitting on a seat was very safe. I either keep it in my holster or if I know I am going somewhere I won't be able to take it, the center console. Also if you get a CHP you will be able to OC or CC at restaurants that serve alcohol. I like to cc a back up gun so I won't have to remove my BUG everytime I go into a restaurant after 7/1/2010!!!
Welcome and read-up! PS: I have a pre-7/2010 OC info card template if you want it, or you can PM ED and have him send you some.