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Thread: Question about securing sidearm while in a courthouse.

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    Question about securing sidearm while in a courthouse.

    I know that it's illegal carry while in court, but does that mean past the security check point or in the building overall? The last time I had to do business there, I had to lock up my cell phone (no cameras allowed). I was wondering if it would be possible to secure my sidearm in the locker as well or should I just disarm/lock up before leaving my vehicle? I'd rather not leave it in my vehicle if possible.

    I've tried searching on here in past posts and the Loudoun county website, but nothing comes up. I very well could be not wording my search correctly (still learning the rope on here). Thank you for any help offered.

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    Regular Member ProShooter's Avatar
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    You can not bring a gun into any courthouse in the Commonwealth.



    18.2-283.1. Carrying weapon into courthouse.

    It shall be unlawful for any person to possess in or transport into any courthouse in this Commonwealth any (i) gun or other weapon designed or intended to propel a missile or projectile of any kind, (ii) frame, receiver, muffler, silencer, missile, projectile or ammunition designed for use with a dangerous weapon and (iii) any other dangerous weapon, including explosives, stun weapons as defined in 18.2-308.1, and those weapons specified in subsection A of 18.2-308. Any such weapon shall be subject to seizure by a law-enforcement officer. A violation of this section is punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor.

    The provisions of this section shall not apply to any police officer, sheriff, law-enforcement agent or official, conservation police officer, conservator of the peace, magistrate, court officer, or judge while in the conduct of such person's official duties.
    Last edited by ProShooter; 09-21-2010 at 03:34 PM.
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    Thank you for the information.

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    Regular Member ProShooter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FFchris View Post
    Thank you for the information.
    My pleasure!
    James Reynolds

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    Founder's Club Member - Moderator ed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ProShooter View Post
    You can not bring a gun into any courthouse in the Commonwealth.
    Agreed.. at the Loudoun County Courthouse, the entire building is secure except the lobby area.. I will try and find out if you can secure in the lock boxes out front..because techinically, you are not IN the courhouse.. you are in the building the courthouse is in.. before the magnomometers.
    Carry On.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ed View Post
    Agreed.. at the Loudoun County Courthouse, the entire building is secure except the lobby area.. I will try and find out if you can secure in the lock boxes out front..because techinically, you are not IN the courhouse.. you are in the building the courthouse is in.. before the magnomometers.
    That is what I'm wandering about, in regards to the lobby area before passing through security. If I can lock it up in the lockers there before passing through would, in my opinion, be better than securing it in the car. I don't want to find out the hard way while I take my SO there (so she can submit her carry application to the clerk of the court) sometime next week.

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    Founder's Club Member - Moderator ed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FFchris View Post
    That is what I'm wandering about, in regards to the lobby area before passing through security. If I can lock it up in the lockers there before passing through would, in my opinion, be better than securing it in the car. I don't want to find out the hard way while I take my SO there (so she can submit her carry application to the clerk of the court) sometime next week.
    I know that is what you are wondering about.. I sent an email today and asked. Ed
    Carry On.

    Ed

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    Some courthouses have lockers...

    Some don't. In Virginia Beach, I've served on jury duty and stored my pistol in a lockbox INSIDE the metal detectors; the Deputy escorts you to the locker, you take the key with you, then you go back out and go through the metal detectors. In Chesapeake, Norfolk, and Suffolk, you have to leave it locked in the car. Unlike Pennsylvania, there is no legal requirement for the Court to provide handgun storage.

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    Regular Member ocholsteroc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnfenter View Post
    Some don't. In Virginia Beach, I've served on jury duty and stored my pistol in a lockbox INSIDE the metal detectors; the Deputy escorts you to the locker, you take the key with you, then you go back out and go through the metal detectors. In Chesapeake, Norfolk, and Suffolk, you have to leave it locked in the car. Unlike Pennsylvania, there is no legal requirement for the Court to provide handgun storage.
    I thought in Chesapeake you can not bring it to the parking lot? I saw signs that said no this, for like 30 items(cell phones guns etc...) maybe I am wrong.

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    Thumbs down

    Quote Originally Posted by ocholsteroc View Post
    I thought in Chesapeake you can not bring it to the parking lot? I saw signs that said no this, for like 30 items(cell phones guns etc...) maybe I am wrong.
    The parking lot is not the courthouse.

    Any signs indicating that you may not carry into the city offices or on the grounds is in direct violation of statute.
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    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ocholsteroc View Post
    I thought in Chesapeake you can not bring it to the parking lot? I saw signs that said no this, for like 30 items(cell phones guns etc...) maybe I am wrong.
    Unless they hold court in the parking lot, they don't have much say about it.

    Even the cell phone, etc prohibition is questionable inside the court building. I don't know of any statute that prohibits them but the Chief Judge generally sets rules for the building.

    I asked my Father in law while he was still on the Circuit Court, what you could be charged with and he had no idea. My best guess would be trespassing and I'm not sure that would stick. Most lawyers and others that can bypass the metal detectors, just turn them off and ignore the rule.

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    Quote Originally Posted by peter nap View Post
    Unless they hold court in the parking lot, they don't have much say about it.

    Even the cell phone, etc prohibition is questionable inside the court building. I don't know of any statute that prohibits them but the Chief Judge generally sets rules for the building.

    I asked my Father in law while he was still on the Circuit Court, what you could be charged with and he had no idea. My best guess would be trespassing and I'm not sure that would stick. Most lawyers and others that can bypass the metal detectors, just turn them off and ignore the rule.
    You would be charged with Contempt of Court. The Chief Judge issues a court order outlining what items they will allow in the courthouse. The Deputy Sheriff's are charged with enforcing that order. Also, the judges always allow for additional items to be added to the list by saying "any other item that the Sheriff believes in his opinion to be a security risk". You wouldn't believe the things that people bring to court. I've seen women with "personal battery operated pleasure devices" in their purse, hand tools, dirty diapers, old chicken bones, etc. Its really pretty nasty going through someone's bag.
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    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ProShooter View Post
    You would be charged with Contempt of Court.
    At least I'd be charged with something I was guilty of

    That comment cost me $50.00 once
    Last edited by peter nap; 09-22-2010 at 01:13 PM.

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    I would love to find out under what grounds the City of Norfolk is able to classify the whole building as a courthouse when a significant portion is the lobby and associated offices for things like the Clerk of Courts and whatnot.

    I remember at one point the secure area was the entrance to the actual court room, not the lobby. Now they have the secure checkpoints right at the inside of the doors.

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    Quote Originally Posted by darthmord View Post
    I remember at one point the secure area was the entrance to the actual court room, not the lobby. Now they have the secure checkpoints right at the inside of the doors.
    Same in Virginia Beach and Chesapeake.

    Despicable.
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    Regular Member Walt_Kowalski's Avatar
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    Def. interested in finding out about Leesburg. That would be very convenient to be able to not leave m sidearm in the car when I have business there
    "The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil interference - they deserve a place of honor with all that's good"
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    Founder's Club Member - Moderator ed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ed View Post
    I know that is what you are wondering about.. I sent an email today and asked. Ed
    Quote Originally Posted by Walt_Kowalski View Post
    Def. interested in finding out about Leesburg. That would be very convenient to be able to not leave m sidearm in the car when I have business there
    Got an email today saying it is being looked into and I should get an answer in the next couple days.
    Carry On.

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    Look at http://www.virginia1774.org/CourthouseArea.html -- Court of Appeals defined the bounds of a "courthouse.

    Of course, you will not find any jurisdiction using this definition.

    stay safe.

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    Regular Member MSC 45ACP's Avatar
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    Chicken Bones??? Wow. Someone practicing Voodoo?

    I know York County Courthouse has no lockers or anywhere to put a firearm. I've spoken to deputies that provide security there and they said you can't even come through the doors with a firearm. They even got excited about the demilled .45 round I used to have on my keyring. It clearly had holes through the base and no primer in the pocket. I had to put them (along with my cell phone) in a plastic box they keep in a "coat room" next to the metal detector.
    "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."
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    Quote Originally Posted by skidmark View Post
    Look at http://www.virginia1774.org/CourthouseArea.html -- Court of Appeals defined the bounds of a "courthouse.

    Of course, you will not find any jurisdiction using this definition.

    stay safe.
    Just to make sure I have this right... the folllowing section C&P from the above link says...

    Only that part of the courthouse building necessary for the use and occupancy of the circuit court constituted the courthouse, and the court has control over the assignment of space in such area. The governing body of the county has control of the use and occupancy of all other areas of the building.


    That means only the parts of the building used by the courts count. Thus the common area (aka: lobby) of the building where the Clerk of Courts (as well as various other administrative offices) is located is not 'courtroom' or 'courthouse' under the definition of law.

    Thus it follows that enforcing a prohibition on various 'weapons' is unlawful.

    IANAL, but would this not constitute an actionable item under that law that allows for recovery of fees and such for enforcing unlawful firearms bans? Am I correct in this? If so, I may just have to bother my elected officials in downtown Norfolk.

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    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    darthmord,

    Good luck to you. Please let us know how things go.

    My biased opinion is that you are going to need to get arrested and fight the case to see if any judge will in fact agree that the bounds of the courthouse are inside the buikding as opposed to being minimally at the outside edge of the walls.

    stay safe.

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    Founder's Club Member - Moderator ed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skidmark View Post
    darthmord,

    Good luck to you. Please let us know how things go.

    My biased opinion is that you are going to need to get arrested and fight the case to see if any judge will in fact agree that the bounds of the courthouse are inside the buikding as opposed to being minimally at the outside edge of the walls.

    stay safe.
    and if ya do that, get 1 or two of us there with video cams
    Carry On.

    Ed

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    I'll be going to the Leesburg courthouse later today after stopping by the sheriff's office with my SO so she can apply for her permit. I'll ask while at the the Sheriff's Office since they provide court security. Hopefully they'll say it's ok to carry inside in order to lock it up before passing through security, otherwise I'll lock it up before heading inside. I'll let y'all know how it goes.

  24. #24
    Founder's Club Member - Moderator ed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FFchris View Post
    That is what I'm wondering about, in regards to the lobby area before passing through security. If I can lock it up in the lockers there before passing through would, in my opinion, be better than securing it in the car. I don't want to find out the hard way while I take my SO there (so she can submit her carry application to the clerk of the court) sometime next week.
    Quote Originally Posted by ed View Post
    I know that is what you are wondering about.. I sent an email today and asked. Ed
    Email from Loudoun Sheriff received today:
    "We have investigated this matter and determined the deputy was incorrect in this incident. Our staff had misinterpret an order issued by the judges prohibiting weapons in the court buildings to include the grounds also. I apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused and we are correcting our practice. For several reason, I cannot allow weapons to stored in the lock boxes at the court entrance. If there are further questions regarding this matter please contact me."
    Carry On.

    Ed

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    Got an answer

    While I was with my SO waiting for her background check to go though at LCSO, the lady at the front desk called over to the court house to ask for me about locking my sidearm in the lockers just inside the front doors. She told me that I wouldn't be allowed to carry inside. Having been told that, I reluctantly locked it in the glovebox before heading into the Leesburg courthouse. The lockers inside are very small (maybe a 4x5 in opening). I don't think my G22 and spare mag would've fit in it anyway.

    After conducting our business, I decided to ask one of the deputies on the way out. The deputy (forgot his name) said I couldn't use the lockers to secure my sidearm. According to him, I would've been in trouble for having it on me within the rod iron fence surrounding most of the grounds. On the way out, we noticed a large sign thats on the wall just to the right of the doors (if walking in, it to the wall behind you to the left) list everything that's prohibited inside. Too bad you have to turn around when you come in to see it.

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