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Thread: Is Open Carry as easy as it sounds?

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    Is Open Carry as easy as it sounds?

    Hello all! I first want to say thank you for having me. My wife and I just moved to Falls Church, VA about a month ago from CT. I just recently finished six years active duty with the Coast Guard as a boat driver and federal law enforcement officer and my wife is currently serving with the Coast Guard. She has just reported to her new unit in Arlington.
    I am 29 years old, I own a Bersa Thunder 380 and have already received my Virginia plates and drivers license. I went to a local gun store in Manassas inquiring about getting a concealed weapon permit. The owner was very nice and very helpful and he also informed of the open carry law here in VA.
    I have done some extensive research on the subject (i.e. reading your forums, looking on the State Police website, and anything else I found on the subject) From what I am understanding, unless you're a felon or in a specified area where carrying a weapon is restricted (church, government buildings) it seems like all I have to do is holster a sidearm, keep it visible, and be responsible about it.
    Is it really that easy?

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    Regular Member RussP's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aelis View Post
    Hello all! I first want to say thank you for having me. My wife and I just moved to Falls Church, VA about a month ago from CT. I just recently finished six years active duty with the Coast Guard as a boat driver and federal law enforcement officer and my wife is currently serving with the Coast Guard. She has just reported to her new unit in Arlington.
    I am 29 years old, I own a Bersa Thunder 380 and have already received my Virginia plates and drivers license. I went to a local gun store in Manassas inquiring about getting a concealed weapon permit. The owner was very nice and very helpful and he also informed of the open carry law here in VA.
    I have done some extensive research on the subject (i.e. reading your forums, looking on the State Police website, and anything else I found on the subject) From what I am understanding, unless you're a felon or in a specified area where carrying a weapon is restricted (church, government buildings) it seems like all I have to do is holster a sidearm, keep it visible, and be responsible about it.
    Is it really that easy?
    First, thanks to you and your wife for your service!!

    Yes, it is that simple and easy.
    Freedom has a taste to those who fight and almost die, that the protected will never know.

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    To answer your question...

    Quote Originally Posted by aelis View Post
    Hello all! I first want to say thank you for having me. My wife and I just moved to Falls Church, VA about a month ago from CT. I just recently finished six years active duty with the Coast Guard as a boat driver and federal law enforcement officer and my wife is currently serving with the Coast Guard. She has just reported to her new unit in Arlington.
    I am 29 years old, I own a Bersa Thunder 380 and have already received my Virginia plates and drivers license. I went to a local gun store in Manassas inquiring about getting a concealed weapon permit. The owner was very nice and very helpful and he also informed of the open carry law here in VA.
    I have done some extensive research on the subject (i.e. reading your forums, looking on the State Police website, and anything else I found on the subject) From what I am understanding, unless you're a felon or in a specified area where carrying a weapon is restricted (church, government buildings) it seems like all I have to do is holster a sidearm, keep it visible, and be responsible about it.
    Is it really that easy?
    Yes.

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    Regular Member ocholsteroc's Avatar
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    Yes, just beaware of school zones/federal areas/airports/Church, also carry a tape recorder.

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    Wink

    Thanks RussP for the quick response. Well that is good news. I was born and raised in New England, and while I have never had an issue with guns (personal or legal), it is not so readily accepted by the northern states, so getting used to the acceptance of guns now that we're living down south will take some getting used to . I want to open carry correctly.
    Any advice on how to deal with inquisitive people and educate them? And to deal with police? I know how the Coast Guard dealt with small guns on the water, but with the shoe on the other foot, as a civilian carrying a sidearm, I want to be educated.
    I want to avoid the "because I can" attitude.
    I want to be able to give people real answers.

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    A tape recorder? Why is that?

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    Regular Member ProShooter's Avatar
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    Welcome to Virginia!

    We'd be happy to assist you with your training needs regarding obtaining a Va. CHP and knowing the laws. Check out our website at www.ProactiveShooters.com

    Jim
    James Reynolds

    NRA Certified Firearms Instructor - Pistol, Shotgun, Home Firearms Safety, Refuse To Be A Victim
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    Thanks Jim for the CHP assist! The owner of the gun store I mentioned in my first post also mentioned that because I was prior military I did not need to take a gun course. All I needed were 3 copies of DD-214 (honorable discharge papers), 3 copies of my drivers license, proof of residency, and self addressed envelope and $50. Was he mistaken?

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    Regular Member t33j's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aelis View Post
    Thanks Jim for the CHP assist! The owner of the gun store I mentioned in my first post also mentioned that because I was prior military I did not need to take a gun course. All I needed were 3 copies of DD-214 (honorable discharge papers), 3 copies of my drivers license, proof of residency, and self addressed envelope and $50. Was he mistaken?
    FYI the law says a (singular) copy, not 3. Those folks up North seem to do their own thing; I would make a point to provide only what the law deemed necessary. SSN is also not required on the CHP application.
    Last edited by t33j; 09-02-2010 at 03:49 PM.
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    Regular Member ProShooter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aelis View Post
    Thanks Jim for the CHP assist! The owner of the gun store I mentioned in my first post also mentioned that because I was prior military I did not need to take a gun course. All I needed were 3 copies of DD-214 (honorable discharge papers), 3 copies of my drivers license, proof of residency, and self addressed envelope and $50. Was he mistaken?
    Well, sort of.

    Your DD214 does qualify you as far as the training requirement.

    The law only requires you to submit "a copy" of your proof of training (DD214), $50 for the permit (or whatever permit fee the Clerk charges, but it cannot exceed $50 by statute - some counties do charge less), the completed application, and fingerprints if required by local ordinance (not every county or city requires you to submit to prints).

    The concept is, you turn those items in to the clerk, and swear under oath that the information on the app is true and accurate. They may ask to see your DL or some other document to prove that you live where you say that you live, but you shouldn't have to give them a copy of it. Some clerks buck this, and demand a copy of your DL. Some clerks demand a SASE, but the law doesn't require you to provide one. My take is, for the $50 you gave them, they can toss a stamp on an envelope.

    Some counties have asked for more stufff, and some people give it to them, while others beleve in holding their elected officials accountable to the letter of the law. I won't advise you either way, but just know going in to it that you are only required to provide the things I listed above. What you give them is up to you.
    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
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    Instructor Bio - http://proactiveshooters.com/about-us/

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    Regular Member SouthernBoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aelis View Post
    Thanks RussP for the quick response. Well that is good news. I was born and raised in New England, and while I have never had an issue with guns (personal or legal), it is not so readily accepted by the northern states, so getting used to the acceptance of guns now that we're living down south will take some getting used to . I want to open carry correctly.
    Any advice on how to deal with inquisitive people and educate them? And to deal with police? I know how the Coast Guard dealt with small guns on the water, but with the shoe on the other foot, as a civilian carrying a sidearm, I want to be educated.
    I want to avoid the "because I can" attitude.
    I want to be able to give people real answers.
    Welcome to Virginia and to your new-found freedom. While one might think that New England would/should be most amicable towards those who want and choose to carry since that is where the Revolution was born, we all know that is not the case. Such a shame. So do leave New England ideas in New England as you settle here in the South.

    I was raised in Falls Church, actually in the city proper as it is only 2.2 square miles in size, and in those years, it was a great place to grow up. That has all changed and Falls Church, along with Arlington, have almost become extensions of Washington, D.C. Still, you are in Virginia and are therefore free to open carry at your discretion. Try hooking up at some of the get togethers (luncheons and dinners) that we have from time to time. Those are an excellent way to meet others with the same concerns and interests, and to learn a lot of things about the OC movement. Also, you might want to consider joining VCDL (Virginia Citizen's Defense League).

    Once again, welcome here and thanks to both you and your lady for your service to our nation.
    Last edited by SouthernBoy; 09-02-2010 at 04:23 PM.
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    Activist Member JamesCanby's Avatar
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    Welcome to Virginia!

    Like you, I have recently become a proud Virginian, having escaped across the river from the People's Republic of Maryland, where the legislature doesn't believe in the right of self-defense.

    And, yes, it is just that easy to open carry (OC) in Virginia. Strap it on your hip or anywhere else that fits you, so long as it is clearly visible and you're good to go.

    If you want to be more discreet, then by all means apply for the CHL and slide it into your pocket or waistband.

    This forum is full of discussions about how different citizens of the Commonwealth who are openly carrying handle questions from uninformed residents .... given time, you'll find answers that suit you and may, perhaps, accomplish the purpose of educating those less informed about Virginia's gun rights.

    Lastly, be aware that not every entity (store, restaurant, etc.) welcomes the open carrying of firearms. If they have posted that on their door or if they ask you to leave, then you must leave or face being charged with trespassing. Most of us choose not to patronize any establishment that prohibits the carrying of firearms.

    Again, welcome to the Commonwealth.

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    Such is Rare

    Quote Originally Posted by JamesCanby View Post
    Like you, I have recently become a proud Virginian, having escaped across the river from the People's Republic of Maryland, where the legislature doesn't believe in the right of self-defense.

    And, yes, it is just that easy to open carry (OC) in Virginia. Strap it on your hip or anywhere else that fits you, so long as it is clearly visible and you're good to go.

    If you want to be more discreet, then by all means apply for the CHL and slide it into your pocket or waistband.

    This forum is full of discussions about how different citizens of the Commonwealth who are openly carrying handle questions from uninformed residents .... given time, you'll find answers that suit you and may, perhaps, accomplish the purpose of educating those less informed about Virginia's gun rights.

    Lastly, be aware that not every entity (store, restaurant, etc.) welcomes the open carrying of firearms. If they have posted that on their door or if they ask you to leave, then you must leave or face being charged with trespassing. Most of us choose not to patronize any establishment that prohibits the carrying of firearms.

    Again, welcome to the Commonwealth.
    Other than Shopping Malls, which appear to have a standard sign posted next to the entrance, I have never encountered such an establishment.

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    Regular Member The Wolfhound's Avatar
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    Just to be clear, inside the waistband carry meets the requirements for OPEN CARRY. As long as no garment covers the grips, it is not concealed. The law I believe reads "subject to common observation". My .45 rides that way quite often with out any problems.

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    Regular Member t33j's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Wolfhound View Post
    Just to be clear, inside the waistband carry meets the requirements for OPEN CARRY. As long as no garment covers the grips, it is not concealed. The law I believe reads "subject to common observation". My .45 rides that way quite often with out any problems.
    pretty much spot on... "hidden from common observation" is the phrase. It (along with all the other CHP related stuff) can be found in 18.2-308 We call open IWB carry the Virginia Tuck.
    Last edited by t33j; 09-02-2010 at 05:17 PM.
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    Regular Member zoom6zoom's Avatar
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    Welcome aboard!
    While you can indeed use your 214 as proof of competency (and I would, as it will let you get your application in sooner), I would absolutely recommend taking a class from one of the fine instructors you'll find on this forum, as they will get you a working knowledge of the Virginia specific laws and such.

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    Welcome to Virginia and OCDO. Thanks for your service to our country. Remind your wife to watch her 6 as well as all the other points of the compass. You do the same.

    As everybody has already said, OC is as simple as strapping the pistol to your side and walking out the door with your head up and a smile on your lips.

    All the discussion of voice recorders is because there still exist some cops and other folks who do not like that OC is legal and want to create either their own version of the law or harass you because they think they can. Recording the event makes it harder for the powers that be to dismiss any complaint that is eventually made. (No, we won't discuss FIOA before or after the written complaint. You can do a search here for that endless discussions.)

    Other folks are trying to tell you that in spite of what the Clerk of the Circuit Court folks tell you about multipe copies of this and that form, the law says you only need one copy. They are encouraging you to hold the clerks to the letter of the law and take your CHP application, if you are submitting it, just as the law tells them to do it.

    In reality, other than learning the few places where firearms are not permitted at all, or there are restrictions on whether you need a CHP to carry (either OC or CC), carrying in Virginia is pretty much a "just do it" thing.

    Check www.vcdl.org for a lot of good info on carry laws. Seriously consider joining. Being from Connecticut you might have run into CCDL, which got it's start by copying VCDL. It's membership renewal time for VCDL, so get your membership for the full year. (Personally I get a mild chuckle from the fact that we can use rabidly anti-gun PayPal to send in our dues. But then I'm known for being easily amused.) Also consider volunteerring with the VCDL table at local gun shows. No picture-taking allowed at the shows, but there are moments and sights you will always remember.

    Check this state forum for the NOVA OC dinners and Ed's litter clean-up events. Go, meet like-minded folks and be amazed at what that on-line poster actually looks like!

    stay safe.

  18. #18
    Founder's Club Member - Moderator ed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skidmark View Post
    All the discussion of voice recorders is because there still exist some cops and other folks who do not like that OC is legal and want to create either their own version of the law or harass you because they think they can. Recording the event makes it harder for the powers that be to dismiss any complaint
    There is also a free service you can use called porc411 which allows you to call and record from your cell phone and it immediately notifys other Northern Virginia "porcs" of your situation. Info: http://nova.porcupine411.com/

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    Rare? Really?

    Quote Originally Posted by rugerdon View Post
    Other than Shopping Malls, which appear to have a standard sign posted next to the entrance, I have never encountered such an establishment.
    What about all the discussion hereon about Toys R Us, Costco, various banks, etc?

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    Regular Member Old Virginia Joe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by t33j View Post
    pretty much spot on... "hidden from common observation" is the phrase. It (along with all the other CHP related stuff) can be found in 18.2-308 We call open IWB carry the Virginia Tuck.
    Hold on. I have read these posts for months now, and was pretty clear in understanding that the "VirginiaTuck" was the "tucking" of one's sportscoat pocket or shirt tail behind the grips of a handgun, to convert from a "concealed" posture to an open-carry position, according to change in legal location and the requirements of the law instantaneously. Now, I see here, that it means In-the-waistband-carry. How was I so wrong in understanding this terminology?

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    Welcome to the Old Dominion...thank you to you and your wife for your service!

    "Is Open Carry as seasy as it sounds?"...I'd like to think that there is more to it than that....Technically, yes it is...but, the real question is, "Is taking responsibility for protecting yourself and your loved ones, that easy?" that the responsibility of undertaking obtaining skill and proficiency, by practicing with your firearm regulary, and gaining knowledge of the law, by participating in forums like this, and educating yourself is a tremendous decision and not one that is "easy," as OC is just now becoming more prevalent in society...and still unkown to many.

    You come from a law enforcement background...so you more than likely have the skill and proficiency. You need to maintain that skill while educating yourself on the laws. Many think of OCers as "wannabe cops." You need to have a completely different mindset than that of an LEO. The decision to take responsibility for you own protection, is a tremendous one. One that some simply either won't or can't make. There are a lot of people that will always rely on the government, ie the police, to protect them...when that isn't even their job, nor are they legally responsible to provide that protection, regardless of any motto plastered on their police cruisers. Their job is to investigate crimes AFTER they have happened. Two phrases that have served me well..."I'd rather have it [my gun] and not need it, than need it, and not have it," and "When seconds count, the police are minutes away."

    For me, the question, "Is taking responsibility for protecting yourself and your loved ones, that easy?" is answered with a resounding yes!

  22. #22
    Regular Member simmonsjoe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Old Virginia Joe View Post
    Hold on. I have read these posts for months now, and was pretty clear in understanding that the "VirginiaTuck" was the "tucking" of one's sportscoat pocket or shirt tail behind the grips of a handgun, to convert from a "concealed" posture to an open-carry position, according to change in legal location and the requirements of the law instantaneously. Now, I see here, that it means In-the-waistband-carry. How was I so wrong in understanding this terminology?
    Your not. The VA tuck is simply the act of tucking your shirt/coat behind your gun. Whether the handgun is IWB or OWB is irrelevant. t33j's point in his comment, is that having your handgun in a IWB holster, it is still commonly visible and therefor open carry.
    illegal ≠ immoral legal ≠ moral
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    Guess I Don't Go There...

    Quote Originally Posted by JamesCanby View Post
    What about all the discussion hereon about Toys R Us, Costco, various banks, etc?
    OK...I don't frequent those places...so maybe I am not aware.

    Toys-R-Us? Haven't been to one in years.

    Costco? I belong to Sam's Club and don't see the need to belong to another Warehouse Club. Sam's has never said a word.

    Banks? I use Bank of America. My wife does all the finances and usually does everything on line.

  24. #24
    Regular Member TFred's Avatar
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    To further clarify on the IWB question.

    Not all IWBs are "tuckable". Some are not at all. Most IWBs work with a portion of the holster/gun below the waistline, and a portion sticking out/above the waistline. With no shirt, the back and grip are plainly visible. The question is what do you do with your shirt?

    Some IWBs are designed with special loops or hooks that allow for the shirt to tuck down between the holster and the waistband, the loop or hook attaches to the holster lower, down inside the waistband.

    Other IWBs do not have this accommodation, and the loop or hook attaches to the holster at or above the waistband, which means that to conceal, the shirt must remain untucked and hang out over the holster and grip.

    The Virginia Tuck describes tucking the shirt in behind the holster and grip, making the gun visible, so as to comply with the former law that concealed carry in a restaurant that served alcohol was not allowed, even with a CHP.

    TFred

    P.S. Do a Google Image search using either [tuckable iwb] or [nontuckable iwb]. You will be able to see the difference in how the loop or hook attaches to the holster to provide or not provide for the ability to tuck the shirt in between.
    Last edited by TFred; 09-03-2010 at 03:24 PM.

  25. #25
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    Thumbs down

    Quote Originally Posted by TFred View Post
    The Virginia Tuck describes tucking the shirt in behind the holster and grip, making the gun visible, so as to comply with the former law that concealed carry in a restaurant that served alcohol was not allowed, even with a CHP.
    A law which only applies to those willing to accede to it.

    They are commonly referred to as "law abiding citizens" but I have decided they deserve the more accurate moniker of "obedient".
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