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Thread: Does § 18.2-308 limit a person to exactly one handgun?

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    Accomplished Advocate user's Avatar
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    Post Does § 18.2-308 limit a person to exactly one handgun?

    I have a client who has been participating in courses under the supervision of the Va. State Police, Department of Criminal Justice Services. Someone during the course of these classes has asserted that Va. Code § 18.2-308 permits a concealed carry permit holder to be in possession of one, and only one, handgun. The reasoning is apparently from the use of the word, "a", coupled with the noun in the singular form in the code section:

    § 18.2-308. Personal protection; carrying concealed weapons; when lawful to carry.
    ...
    D. Any person 21 years of age or older may apply ... for a five-year permit
    to carry a concealed handgun.
    ...
    This is just plain wrong. There is a basic rule of construction that says that where a number or enumeration is required in order for criminal penalties to attach, it must be stated explicitly. This is related to the concept that a penal statute must be strictly construed against the Commonwealth. So where a statute says, "one and only one" or "not more than two" or some such thing, that's a clear limitation as to number. But the word, "a", is merely a part of speech, a definite article, and not a specification of number. But for people who are still unpersuaded, consider these statutes:

    § 1-218. Includes.
    "Includes" means includes, but not limited to.
    and

    § 1-227. Number.
    A word used in the singular includes the plural and a word used in the
    plural includes the singular.
    Since the latter definition "includes" the word, "includes", the singular and the plural both include any other concept of enumeration that one might imagine, a realm beyond dimensionality!

    The bottom line is that a concealed carry permit holder can have anywhere from zero to as many guns as he can carry. ("To infinity, and beyond!") He is not, repeat, not limited to exactly one handgun.


    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 TFred's Avatar
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    Thank you for your post!

    I suppose the icing on the cake would be to find some other law, unrelated at all, where a similar construction could be seen to be an obvious similar meaning of one or more.

    I can't think of anything off the top of my head, but it would be good to keep an eye out for something like that.

    TFred


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    Regular Member ProShooter's Avatar
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    I couldn't agree more. There is no limit.
    James Reynolds

    NRA Certified Firearms Instructor - Pistol, Shotgun, Home Firearms Safety, Refuse To Be A Victim
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    Moderator / Administrator Grapeshot's Avatar
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    Each and every one of my guns is "a" gun.

    Yata hey
    You will not rise to the occasion; you will fall back on your level of training.” Archilochus, 650 BC

    Old and treacherous will beat young and skilled every time. Yata hey.

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    Regular Member Dreamer's Avatar
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    By the definition of the statute, the only way this person th eOP is talking about could be right would be if an individual had multiple firearms that were IDENTICAL. Because then you would have "a" firearm that was actually "multiple" firearms at the same time. And the only way that could happen would be if they were identical--down to the serial numbers--and THAT would be illegal...

    Each firearm is "a" firearm, and a unique object, because modern firearms are all serialized.

    We recently had an article appear in an online edition of a newspaper here in NC that made the same assertion, based on the same faulty logic--and the writer got the info from a local LEO.

    Knowledge is generally a good thing. But a LITTLE knowledge can be dangerous...

    Almost every person I know who carries daily "doubles up"--INCLUDING most LEOs. In NC, it's the same as VA--you can carry as many (or as few) as you are capable of carrying.

    It is our cause to dispel the foggy thinking which avoids hard decisions in the delusion that a world of conflict will somehow mysteriously resolve itself into a world of harmony, if we just don't rock the boat or irritate the forces of aggression—and this is hogwash."
    --Barry Goldwater, 1964

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    Moderator / Administrator Grapeshot's Avatar
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    And just for a little review of the subject:

    http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=3ab_1212307253&p=1

    Ignore the reference to the NRA and substitute RKBA.

    Yata hey
    You will not rise to the occasion; you will fall back on your level of training.” Archilochus, 650 BC

    Old and treacherous will beat young and skilled every time. Yata hey.

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    Founder's Club Member - Moderator ed's Avatar
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    user wrote:
    He is not, repeat, not limited to exactly one handgun.
    One thing I absolutely LOVE about user's post is he never says IANAL



    Carry On.

    Ed

    VirginiaOpenCarry.Org (Coins, Shirts and Patches)
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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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    Regular Member TFred's Avatar
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    ed wrote:
    user wrote:
    He is not, repeat, not limited to exactly one handgun.
    One thing I absolutely LOVE about user's post is he never says IANAL

    And if he ever did post IAAL, people would probably scratch their head wondering what he meant!

    TFred

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    Moderator / Administrator Grapeshot's Avatar
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    ed wrote:
    user wrote:
    He is not, repeat, not limited to exactly one handgun.
    One thing I absolutely LOVE about user's post is he never says IANAL
    I have a great appreciation for his insight and expertise.

    Yata hey


    You will not rise to the occasion; you will fall back on your level of training.” Archilochus, 650 BC

    Old and treacherous will beat young and skilled every time. Yata hey.

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    Blame Fairfax County. According to their signs posted in the courthouse near the civil intake window it's still a concealed weapons permit (even though the people there use the proper terminology).

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    Thank you for your kind comments.

    One thing I left out, and should have stated: Title 1 of the Code, from which the definition of "number" is taken, applies to everything in the entire code. Notice the section number starts with "1-"; that means that code section is in Title 1. That's the sort of general and administrative part that applies to any question of law thatis not spelled out specifically somewhere else.


    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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    Today I was carrying 3 "a" handguns, 1 open and 2 concealed.

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    jegoodin wrote:
    Today I was carrying 3 "a" handguns, 1 open and 2 concealed.
    And I'll bet each and every one of them was "a" handgun!
    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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    ... Nice interpretation and research, User!
    Why open carry? Because 1911 > 911.

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    As always User....Well Done!

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    user wrote:
    jegoodin wrote:
    Today I was carrying 3 "a" handguns, 1 open and 2 concealed.
    And I'll bet each and every one of them was "a" handgun!
    So, if the VA Court of Appeals rules on my case, I can say "a judge ruled on my case"? Each and every judge on the panel is "a judge." :P
    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. That is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.

    If I am equal to another, how can I legitimately govern him without his express individual consent?

    There is no human being on earth I hate so much I would actually vote to inflict government upon him.

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    Exactly!
    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 simmonsjoe's Avatar
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    Dreamer wrote:
    By the definition of the statute, the only way this person th eOP is talking about could be right would be if an individual had multiple firearms that were IDENTICAL. Because then you would have "a" firearm that was actually "multiple" firearms at the same time. And the only way that could happen would be if they were identical--down to the serial numbers--and THAT would be illegal...

    Each firearm is "a" firearm, and a unique object, because modern firearms are all serialized.

    We recently had an article appear in an online edition of a newspaper here in NC that made the same assertion, based on the same faulty logic--and the writer got the info from a local LEO.

    Knowledge is generally a good thing. But a LITTLE knowledge can be dangerous...

    Almost every person I know who carries daily "doubles up"--INCLUDING most LEOs. In NC, it's the same as VA--you can carry as many (or as few) as you are capable of carrying.
    They would have to individually be firearms, AND collectively be a different firearm. So unless your concealing those robots that form a bigger robot your OK. And if you ARE concealing robots-that-make-bigger-robots, nobody is gonna argue with you anyway.:celebrate
    illegal ≠ immoral legal ≠ moral
    [SIZE=1]"I never submitted the whole system of my opinions to the creed of any party of men whatever in religion, in philosophy, in politics, or in anything else where I was capable of thinking for myself. "Such an addiction is the last degradation of a free and moral agent." - Thomas Jefferson
    G19 Gen 4; Bersa Thunder 380; Sig Sauer P238; Kel-Tec su-16c

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